The Fish Pond: Fish and chips in a paper cone, London-style
The Fish Pond
185 Portobello Road, Portobello Market
Notting Hill, London, England
For those of you heading to London, England to see the Royal Wedding in person, you must check out Portobello Market. London is chock full of neat public markets selling everything from antiques to deep fried street food and tasty homemade pastries. Portobello Market is featured in the Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant movie, Notting Hill, and every Saturday endless stalls line the famous Portobello Road selling antiques and food .
Food from all over the world can be found here: anything from German Schnitzels to Belgian waffles to French dessert crepes. The market is most festive on Saturdays since the stalls are open outside all the way up and down Portobello Road. But most of the shops and restaurants on Portobello Road are open during the weekdays too.
We visited on a Saturday, and spent hours poking around the stalls, looking at souvenirs such as coffee cups and t-shirts featuring the London Tube Underground logo and the warning ‘Mind the Gap,’ and little miniatures of red London public phone booths or little red cylindrical mail boxes. We were about to leave the market when we walked past three people holding steaming cones of fish and chips and we had to stop and ask where they bought such heavenly smelling munchies. One of the men pointed out The Fish Pond just half a block away from where we were standing, in a thick Cockney accent he told us that we had to try it, it was the ‘true UK experience.’ I am dead serious. He actually said that. Not that we needed much convincing.
So off we went to The Fish Pond. We ordered a fried cod with chips, and it was served to us in an impressively folded thick paper cone that both soaked up the oil from the fish and chips and was sturdy enough to hold up the food. The fish was heavy too, it was a long, crispy, crunchy piece of fish that was still moist on the inside but fried to perfection on the outside.
This was the very first time I have ever eaten fish and chips in England, and I loved it. The fish in London definitely tastes different than in Vancouver. First off, the meat is firmer, and even though it is a white fish, there is a brinier, sea salt ocean taste to the meat as opposed to the more delicate flavours of fish from British Columbia, Canada. Also adding to the rustic presentation and taste is the fact that they actually use course sea salt on their fish and chips at The Fish Pond adding a strong saltiness to the fried fish and thick cut fries, er, I mean chips.
I also absolutely love the fact that they leave the fish skin on the fish. I think it adds flavour to the white fish, and also seals in the moisture of the meat as the fish is cooking in the deep fryer.
The chips also, not surprisingly tasted different from Canadian fries, in a good way. They were starchier, their thick cut also absorbed the oil and salt better instead of withering into a crumpled, tangle of potato and salt.
This is a great, cheap snack to buy and walk around the market with. It’s unfortunate that they charge for tartar sauce, but the fish and chips are both very flavourful without it.