Fish and Chip Masterclass at Canteen

I have walked past Canteen many a time, and not really taken much notice. They specialise, in home-made, traditional English fayre, and as well as feeling like I may as well just cook that kind of food myself, because it’s a small chain, I’ve always been suspicious as to just how home-made it would really be. But when Jenny from the appropriately named food PR, Sauce, invited me to taste Canteen’s wares, I pushed my admittedly unfounded suspicions aside and went along for a fish and chip masterclass, hosted by the restaurant’s chef patron, Cass Titcombe.

First of all, Cass’ talk about Canteen’s food proved me completely wrong with regards to things not being as home-made as they suggest. Everything from the breadcrumbs that controversially coat their fish, to the tartare sauce it is served with are made from scratch and on site, the deliciously fresh tarragon flecked through their tartare sauce being true testament to that. This of course, applies not just to the fish and chips, but to all of their menu.

Fluffy Maris Pipers are used for their triple-cooked chips, which are cooked at just the right temperature to achieve a crisp chips that doesn’t swim in grease. Having grown up quite a bit north of Watford, I’d be sad to eat fish and chips without mushy peas, and theirs, which are made properly from dried marrowfat peas, salt, pepper and a little bicarbonate of soda (to maintain a bright green colour) were pretty good. I did find myself adding quite a bit more salt and pepper to them, but there’s as much chance that’s the fault of my addiction to scotch bonnet sauce as it is of their under-seasoning.

Cass explained that controversial breadcrumbs are used to ensure a cost-effective, consistently crispy and non-greasy fish in a busy kitchen, which sounded ever so slightly to me like it was more for their benefit than mine, but hey, they’re running a business after all, and if it means they can provide a reliably good meal at a reasonable price, you can’t really knock ’em, and the breaded coating was certainly crunchy and delicious.

Perusing through the main menu I spotted classics such as mac and cheese and comfortingly simple chicken and chips (offered on a first come, first serve basis, as they roast a loada birds fresh, in-house every day), all for around, often under £10, and I would be happy to return if I was out and about and after some unassuming, home-cooked food. It shouldn’t be a big ask to be able to get ‘proper’ English food for cheap in London, but you’re far more likely to find a Birds Eye pie served with frozen chips s in central London than you are one of Canteen’s home-made ones with chips that simply contain potatoes.

Sent packing with bellies full of fish and chips, and a copy of Canteen’s lovely new cookbook, Great British Food, myself and my fellow diners left happy bloggers, and not just because of the free booze and food!

Thanks to Green Onions for the picture, and for eating as many mushy peas as I did, thus countering all guilt!

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4 Responses to “Fish and Chip Masterclass at Canteen”

  1. Chris Says:

    “…breadcrumbs are used to ensure a cost-effective… and non-greasy fish”

    Hang on, are they under some financial restraint that every single other chippy in the country isn’t? Or are they just using breadcrumbs because it saves actually having to learn how to cook fish? What a ripoff.

    • laurafleur Says:

      I did say they were controversial! I dunno, he was pretty convincing – maybe I don’t tell it well. He seemed to be suggesting much more time was needed to get a batter right in a busy kitchen which didn’t work out for them at that cost.

      I must say though, I’ve had more shitty batter than good from both chippies and restaurants alike, so if it means the fish is good more often than not, I can take the breadcrumbs.

  2. Sang Says:

    Sometimes, it is very difficult to find a good fish and chips restaurant in the UK. If I find them, I will love them…But I have not found any good quality one in my life….

  3. Helen Says:

    hmmm breadcrumbed fish & chips just reminds me of birds eye offerings or something. i’ve read lots of good stuff about canteen though, maybe i’ll check out their cookbook!

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