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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Posh chips & a culinary eclipse at The Mayfair Chippy!

I defy any self-respecting Brit to say anything remotely negative about a humble portion of chip shop chips in all their sweaty goodness, enveloped by paper, smothered with sea salt and saturated in the cheapest of malt vinegars; eaten with either yer grubby fingers or a crap wooden spork! Yes, that's right folks, there's a special place in my heart for a good chippy.

Raised and nurtured by a mother who viewed the local chippy as the ultimate in culinary treats, it was always clear in our household that chips should only be eaten out of the paper whence it was sold to you, and that your chippy should be chosen carefully - the frying fat must not be old or cold, the correct potatoes must be used, batter scraps are an essential additive and the vinegar must only be malt! Having grown up in a coastal area too, I am altogether rather predisposed to appreciate the greasy goodness of a village chippy. I'm nervous then, about visiting a posh chippy in Mayfair that comes complete with proper cutlery, cheffy thrice cooking tactics, and heaven forbid, actual crockery. Whatever am I doing?!

Conveniently located in-between Oxford Street and Grosvenor Square, North Audley Street gets a thumbs up from me, albeit mostly because its sister street, South Audley is attached to Mount Street, which is coincidently one of my most favourite in London (I know, I know, it's a tenuous link that requires you to ignore the ghastly eyesore of the US Embassy in the middle of it all eh!). Lest I digress though, the restaurant itself is unassuming from the street, but chic, simple and refined in a way that Mayfair does typically do very well. Inside is super cute too, with d├ęcor that plays ample homage to the theme - I'm a particular fan of the tiled tables and chequerboard flooring choices.

Allow me to start with the epic! There is something divinely decadent about ordering fish 'n' chips with a bottle of bubbles, and I applaud the marriage of perfect opposites. The tables all boast the obligatory bottle of Sarson's, with salt and pepper shakers at the ready. The menu is exactly what you want and need it to be and I don't suppose anyone would go without here, not even the vegetarians! The house piccalilli served with Pea & Ham hock Fritters (£6.00) were supremely tantalising; the smoked cod's roe served with the Baked Sourdough Bread (£2.50) was everything and more than I hoped it would be; and adding Scraps (free) to the menu is nothing short of triumphant (batter scraps remind me of childhood in all the best ways!). Last but not least, The Mayfair Classic (£14.50) was gargantuan in size, with ample condiments, meaty and mouthwateringly fresh fish and a quirky presentation...bravo!

Maize Farm Steak & Kidney Pudding, 
with roast onions & watercress (£13.50)
I'm positive that the vast majority of you would be delighted to hear too, that the chips here were almost certainly twice or thrice cooked; they were chunky, fresh and well made. As far as I'm concerned though, this is just so tragically dull! I'm afraid to say that there is unfortunately nothing out there that can possibly even begin to replace a soggy vinegar-riddled chip that's been stuck to paper and sweated in your car for 15 minutes before you've been able to shove your greasy mitts inside the clammy portion of fatty potato-based calories! Similarly, the Maize Farm Steak & Kidney Pudding with roast onion & watercress (£13.50) was rich in sauce and jammed full of succulent meat, but a soggy Pukka pie it was not. I'm beginning to realise that this venture may have been wasted on me, despite my ordinarily refined palate. I should be ashamed of myself, I know! Oh, and by the way, the batter on the Scampi Tails (£9.75) and the Crispy Cornish Squid (£6.50 / £10.50) was a little too much too, I'm afraid, sorry.

Overall then, a wonderful establishment with a cracking menu, attentive staff, pleasant wine list and jolly good food. I think it just all boils down to the fact that for me, a chippy should be a little more grotty or greasy, and altogether a little more homegrown! There's a time and a place for fine dining, but chips are not it in my book...
Maize Farm Steak & Kidney Pudding, 
with roast onions & watercress (£13.50)

Square Meal The Great British Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crispy Cornish Squid, with roast garlic & parsley mayonnaise (£6.50 / £10.50)


The menu!
Fish Art!
Bakes Sourdough Bread, with smoked cod's roe & butter (£2.50)
Scampi Tails & Chips (£9.75 / £12.75)
Back room, ideal for private dining
The damage for 4 people
Table tiling appreciation!

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