"Good ol’ fish and chips without the need for gimmicks"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
Traditional fish and chips were for a long time been resigned to late night kebab shops and chicken burger outlets. Then places like Camden’s Pier 1 attempted to make them fashionable (and expensive) and Poppies in Shoreditch made them retro, staffing its eatery with girls dressed in vintage clothing.
Kerbisher & Malt opened in May last year, on the affluent end of Shepherds Bush Road. The menu is simple enough: five types of fish (cod, plaice, haddock, coley and Pollock), fried in batter, grilled or fried in matzo breadcrumbs; fish butties and burgers, and well-portioned, tempting sides like creamy mushy peas, calamari rings and fried whitebait. Food is available to go, or alternatively there are a few tables and benches for eating in, currently populated by a family, two men in suits, and a group of impossibly handsome young locals. If you do opt for dining in there is a small but well-formed selection of wine and beer, with Corbieres, Riesling, Muscadet and even a Spanish sherry on offer.
When the food arrives it looks and smells delicious. A hunk of plaice is covered in wispy golden batter, one that crunches as you eat it, and the fish flakes away beautifully when prodded. The chunky chips are crispy on the outside, floury and soft on the inside, at their best when smothered in malt vinegar and salt. The dressings are homemade, including a citrusy, gloopy lemon mayo and tartare sauce with capers; a pickled gherkin is as plump as a melon and vinegary enough to make your tongue tingle.
Fortunately it’s cheap too. Cod is the most expensive fish at 6.90, while coley is a mere £5.80, add another £1.80 for a generous portion of chips.
Kerbisher & Malt’s selling point is good ol’ fish and chips without the need for gimmicks. It’s little wonder there seems to be a permanent queue at the counter.
Leila reviewed Kerbisher & Malt on Tue 17 Jan 2012