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Best of three: City centre chippy tea

Because bad stuff can be good stuff. In theory

Published on October 10th 2012.

Best of three: City centre chippy tea

SCENARIO 1: You have been cavorting around the bars and clubs of Liverpool. It is 3am. Your handbag vodka supply is exhausted, you have failed to cop off and only one thing can rescue the night: a half kilo of fast food, each bite pulsating its way down your gullet like some gastric conga line.

SCENARIO 2: You plan to go cavorting around the bars and clubs of Liverpool. It is 6pm. Your mum has just warned you about bad men and how never to get bevvied on an empty stomach.

You'll be needing a half kilo of fast food, then, each bite helping your vital organs make it through the night. As you leave the house, your mum shouts: “Wait! You've gone without your vodka!”

OR NONE OF THIS: You just fancy a traditional chippy tea – that's fish, chips and mushy peas ­- for around a fiver. 

Incidentally, if it's a steamy, soggy, greasy dinner you are after, go ahead and let them wrap it up. In this test, we made sure there was a seating area in each chippy because we wanted to sample the fish and chips in optimum conditions. Straight out of the frier. 

What could possibly go wrong?

The L1 Fish and Chip Shop, 31-33 Lord Street, Liverpool 2  0151 236 7886

Amid the myriad takeaways in Liverpool, more owners are investing in bright, shiny chippies which are in close proximity to the night-life, mostly staying open till the wee small hours. This one is a prime example, L1, which is actually in L2. 

Liverpool Fish And Chips 10-10-2012 10-02-51 800X600

The deal: Big fish: £3.50. Small fish: £2.30. Chips: £1.30. Mushy peas, £1.

Fish cooked to order? No.

Liverpool Fish And Chips11
The meal:
A hefty lump of haddock entombed in a thick swaddling of batter came thumped down on top of a huge portion of pallid chips in a polystyrene cadaver. Like a roof that had just fallen in, its weight extinguished their last waning breath and no amount of salt or watery vinegar could revive them. A cup of thick mushy peas was the vivid hue of Astroturf and had about as much flavour. 

The feel: This all started out with plenty of promise and good looks, but as it cooled, that familiar, all encompassing grease factor kicked in. Not unlike that bloke you picked up in Revolution who will still be in your house tomorrow morning. Story of your life really.

Conclusion: When it stops being good, stop putting it in your mouth.


Liverpool Fish And Chips07 

The Lobster Pot, 20-22 Whitechapel, Liverpool L1 6DZ. 0151 707 9723.

The “flagship” Lobster Pot, opposite Central Station, has attracted a favourable rep down the years, but today we are turning our attention to the far sparkier looking Whitechapel branch which is just the place for Mathew Street revellers to calm it down. There's an attractive upstairs dining area before 6pm, where you can retire with your purchase from the chippy counter.

The deal: Big fish: £3.60. Small fish: £2.70. Big chips: £1.50. Small chips: £1.30. Mushy peas, £1.

Fish cooked to order? No.

The meal: Again, this looked the part. A shoal of ready-dressed haddock, each wearing a crispy, jagged, golden cloak of batter, lined up to greet us in the heated cabinet, sending out enticing fumes. The chips were flaccid and uninspiring, and could have been the low point of the meal. But they were beaten into second place by the mushy peas, which comprised a cup of green liquid only slightly thicker than water.

The feel: The fish batter was thick, the sort that has a crusty, doughy substrata. And yet, the plastic fork went into it with the ease of a drill bit in a Texan prairie. And then we struck oil. Lots of oil, so much oil that we threw our Stetson hats in the air.

Conclusion: Come here, pretty seagulls, we have something for you.


Liverpool Fish And Chips10


Winner: Downtown Fish and Chip Shop, 12-14 Berry Street, Liverpool L1 4JF. 

You would expect a chippy calling itself "Downtown" would have something to do with Frank McKenna.

But no. The Downtown, which is actually UPTOWN, recently re-branded from the Top Chef cafe because, say its Egyptian owners, there aren't many chip shops up this end of town. 

The deal: Big fish: £3.20. Small fish: £2.80. Big chips: £1.50, regular chips: 1.20. Mushy peas, 70p. 

Liverpool Fish And Chips03'For display purposes'Fish cooked to order? Yes. You'll see just one out for display. Ask for a fresh one, they say, and your wish will be granted.

The meal: We've done this both ways now: A takeaway to our office around the corner a few weeks ago (main image, top) and an eat-in last week at the pretty café area. In truth, we were starting to feel pretty desperate of ever finding something good to say in this entire exercise, but luckily this place came up with the goods – largely.

Could we have a small fish, regular chips and peas? “But that's £4.70,” we were told. “You would be better having the Fish Dinner, it's bigger and 20p cheaper.” We stuck to our guns. Either way, you'll have change out of £5.

Liverpool Fish And Chips01
The feel:
The haddock was a fine, fresh specimen, served up a bone dry, crisp and light batter, something that had eluded the others. Slightly more effort with the chips would have elevated the score, but there was nothing unpleasant about their flavour or texture.

The mushy peas at least had peas in them and even gave the impression that they had once come from something resembling a pod.

Crucially, we left pleasantly full - and not full of regrets; proving that, for chippies, with a bit of will you don't have to lose your way.

Conclusion: Uptown top ranking.


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29 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2012.

its a shame theres not a better chippy in liverpool city centre. what about the chinese place on hardman street? how does it compare to getting fish and chips in a cheap pub like wetherspoons (but i guess you cant take it away with you)?

Jd MoranOctober 10th 2012.

Shame, I really liked the Top Chef as it was.

SaladDazeOctober 10th 2012.

Scenario 3: go to the chippy in Dovecot first. But wear a tea towel round your neck to keep your shirt clean.

Darth FormbyOctober 10th 2012.

Never went in Top Chef. It always looked empty.

People who move to Liverpool always seem to expect there to be good chippies because it's a famous port. Go to Stuart Road in Walton and try Byrnes. It's the best Liverpool has to offer, in my experience.

City fish and chips has been on Hardman street for a very long time, but that's because the guy owns the building. He used to fix tellies in the shop next door and You had to shout him through. There used to be a very good (Chinese) chippy next to Reid's on Mount Pleasant but it closed.

AnonymousOctober 10th 2012.

It's a myth about Byrne's. Tried it twice now. Not great at all, sadly.

Paul WardOctober 10th 2012.

George and Angela, College Rd Crosby - bit far to go, I know, but we need more drunk women to liven us up a bit. Give the Neighbourhood Night Watch net curtain twitchers somethig to do.

Robert KingOctober 10th 2012.

"It's a myth about Byrne's. Tried it twice now. Not great at all, sadly."

My entire childhood has just crashed.

AnonymousOctober 11th 2012.

Tell us where's better Robert. I want to go there!

Julie HillOctober 11th 2012.

Steve's by Aigburth Vale! best in city

Darth FormbyOctober 11th 2012.

Steve's is very good for fish and chips after dogging, at Otterspool. Don't ask for Afelia though. I got skinny bits of tough beef and some half crushed coriander seed in a watery mushroom gravy.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Liverpool WagDecember 6th 2014.

Don't ask for afelia what?

AnonymousDecember 6th 2014.

That really was worth waiting two years for, thanks

Darth FormbyOctober 11th 2012.

Does anybody know where to buy a saveloy apart from the Blue Star Walton Hall Ave/Stopgate Lane?

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Garth CrosbyOctober 11th 2012.

That London!

It's not a northern thing at all!

Darth FormbyOctober 11th 2012.

True. But still a good thing! I missed them when I moved back to Liverpool. Patties too, from Jamaica, not Hull..Though come to think of it, I miss Hull Patties too.

Darth FormbyOctober 11th 2012.

True. Still a good thing though! I missed them when I moved back to Liverpool. Patties too, Jamaican Patties, not the ones from Hull. Then again, I miss Hull Patties too!

AnonymousOctober 11th 2012.

George and Angela's is a pretty safe bet before dogging at Crosby Coastguard, although take some wet wipes as it can get a bit too lubed up

JacOctober 11th 2012.

Cant believe The Brink didnt get a mention for THE most amazing and HUGE fish and chips in the city!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
EditorialOctober 12th 2012.

It's not a chippy is it?

Mike HomfrayOctober 11th 2012.

Think George and angela's has declined too in recent months.

My fave is Mike's in Stuart Road, Crosby. Always excellent, lovely chips

Michelle BradleyJanuary 9th 2013.

A bit out of the way for you lot, but The Swan chippy in Southport is the best!

AnonymousJanuary 15th 2013.

The poor quality of city centre chippies is all that stands between me and obesity. If I worked near The Good Catch by Freshfield station I'd be dying (and skint). Special mention to Chris' on Rose Lane and the aforementioned Byrne's.

Crusty gussetJanuary 15th 2013.

Oh come on, Byrne's is so over-rated. It looks the part and should be a "hidden gem" but you just end up feeling horribly sick for the next 12 hours with all the grease and the thick stodgy batter

Chip EaterMarch 15th 2013.

Go to the Monte Carlo in Orrell Park. ( Mikes )
The Fish batter sticks to the grease-proof paper and the chips are so soggy it's just one big lump of potato.
Where can I get crispy fish and Brown cooked chips, (not yellow ones)?

AnonymousMarch 15th 2013.

Parkgate mate, middle of the prom. Then in the Red Lion for a Hobgoblin to wash away the salt

Crispy light tempura-like batter and dry crispy chips.
Outstandingly consistent and superb

AnonymousMarch 15th 2013.

That's the one! Good spot, and a good write up

Nom Nom

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