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Food review: The Parkgate Takeaway

Angie Sammons drives out to the edge of the Wirral as the perfect chippy quest goes on

Written by . Published on December 2nd 2010.

Food review: The Parkgate Takeaway

SOMETIMES we bring you news of a near perfect curry we have found, a brilliant pizza, the ultimate fine dining experience – oh well, we can try.

But one thing eludes us: the perfect fish and chips.

Why? Well, there are several things stacked against this.

By the time you open this inviting parcel at home, or even in the car, it has been steamed to a soggy paste. Feel sick yet? You will once you've eaten it

For a start, you need to eat fish and chips the second they leave the frier.

20101116Story-Dscf7356Click to make beautifulLook, forget any worries about third degree burns, it's no pain no gain if you are going to be serious about this quest. Fish and chips wait for no man.

Most chippies serve your freshly battered haddock wrapped up in paper, so no matter how golden and crispy it looked when you were being asked “SALT AND VINEGAR?!!”, (both of which are usually skimped on or blindly applied), by the time you open this inviting parcel at home, or even in the car, it has been steamed to a soggy paste. Feel sick yet? You will once you've eaten it.

So you ask for them served “open”. But who wants to eat a chippy tea in the middle of Stuart Road, L4 (Byrnes, est 1930s, open Mon-Fri if you are up that way), or share it with the pigeons in Ranelagh St (Lobster Pot). And Otterspool/Sefton Park are STILL too far away from Chris's (Aigburth Vale) to keep the magic alive.

No. No matter how good the food was when it was cooked, the right conditions for eating it in are 80 percent of the experience.

You need a pleasant place to sit, preferably with a view to mull as you masticate, and, for all the reasons above, that place needs to be right outside the chippy.

Cue The Parkgate Takeaway, or rather the wall outside the Parkgate Takeaway, overlooking the marshes and onto North Wales. Was it built for this very purpose? It could have been.

On a Saturday afternoon after a long walk along the Wirral Way (ok, we initially drove there, I didn't make the kids march all the way from Birkenhead), the Neston air was as crisp as the golden, delicate lacy coating which enveloped the gleaming fresh cod we had purchased from this wonderfully old-fashioned shop.

With its Victorian paintings on the walls, faded 'best chip-shop' citations and spotless tables in the rear, the Takeaway was warm and inviting. But not for us.

Sitting on that wall, with the many twitchers, which was the better view?

Looking out across to Snowdonia? At a rare reed warbler through the sort of lens paparazzi use? Or was it down at us, the greed warblers? At our own, mountainous, £4-a-head-chip feast, made from proper floury tats?

The many people who walked past us clearly preferred the latter, peering at the batter.

Many chippies cut their fish lengthways, so it appears you are getting a big piece. In fact they often weigh just four ounces. No such trickery here. This is the sort of food to keep you going into the next day and when it came to the crunch, no trace could be left of those expertly cooked maris pipers.

Was it the perfect fish and chips? Well given all the conditions above, it was approaching it. Oh, and here's another thing: They let you go berserk with the salt and vinegar yourself.

And, as far as ultimate non-fine-dining experiences go, it was, well, very fine indeed.

Just don't tell those city pigeons. It's only 10 miles as the crow flies and they might be feeling peckish. And who among us would want to spoil the view of that reed warbler?

Breakdown:8/10 food
4/5 service
5/5 ambience
Address:The Parkgate Takeaway
The Parade
CH64 6SB
0151 336 8811 

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. 

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

Mike TVNovember 16th 2010.

Thanks Angie. I know what I'm doing this weekend.

bushybushkinsNovember 16th 2010.

How about finshing off with an ice cream from Parkgate Ice Cream, a few shops down, has the best ice cream too! or sometimes if you are realy lucky the wedding cake shop puts real cake off cuts out to take for free!mmm....

EditorialNovember 16th 2010.

Sounds like the perfect excuse for someone to go back.

WappingNovember 16th 2010.

Nicholls' "Turkish Delight" rose flavoured ice cream, but yes!

DonnaNovember 16th 2010.

We've been going there for years - it's worth the trip over from Liverpool

Andy MeliaNovember 16th 2010.

Yes, yes, all very well. But if you don't to make a trek to the edge of The Wirral but just want great quality fish and chips to take away, it has to be Crispy Cod in Formby.

AnonymousNovember 16th 2010.

The Crispy Cod in Formby is terrible, unless you like kebabs.

AnonymousNovember 16th 2010.

That is possibly the best picture of fish and chips I have ever seen.

Dr Arthur DentNovember 17th 2010.

What was so rare about that Reed Warbler that made it twitchable? Was it Great, Blyth's, Basra, Clamourous, Streaked, Black-browed, Clamorous, Oriental, Nauru, Nightingale, Australian, etc? I'm getting twitchy now: what have I missed? Is it still there? I need to *KNOW*

ctjNovember 18th 2010.

Byrne's is on Stuart Road in Walton, not Anfield. If it's hard enough finding decent fish & chips as it is, best not send people on a wild goose chase to find it, hey?

EditorialNovember 18th 2010.

You are right in one respect CTJ, Byrnes is just off County Road and was when we made our own special trip over a month ago.

However, we would hesitate to send people there on a "wild goose chase" or any other sort, as it did not, in any way, meet the criteria set out above, if you read it.

Which is why the author did state "If you are up that way"

Greasby girlNovember 18th 2010.

You don't get that view in Walton or Anfield, I think is wot was being said. Your picture is driving us mad too! Love going to this little place for a treat. The coffee next door is bloody awful however. Pack a flask instead.

Diane SweetmanNovember 18th 2010.

I lived over the road from Bynes n Stuart Rd for a few years, and squandered my family allowance happily there:)

that'smrbollockstoyouNovember 19th 2010.

Yes Ange one of the great chippies and a worthy insight. Even better to leave the car behind and get the bus which I think still regularly runs from Castle Street in the city centre to Parkgate and have a few bevvies in the The Ship or the Lion on its main drag- and THEN go for a Monster Munch. Keeping the seagulls away from your fish, chips and mushy peas can be a bit of bastard, though, if you sit on the wall outside. So last time I was there, I sat inside and watched Football Focus on the tele in the back room while chomping on a giant piece of freshly fried haddock. What more could you ask for?

DarthFormbyDecember 1st 2010.

I'm with MrBollocks re Parkgate, bus and beer. This is a decent enough chippy, though Deeside rather than Merseyside.

The quality is not as good as Bynres (Walton) though. Byrnes is easily better quality, and a nice view has never filled me up. My favourite curry house in Manchester is called 'This and That'. It is down a back entry called Soap Street, but you find the occasional Mick Hucknall or Coronation Street star in there. You can't eat a view. Criteria?..70 years of frying is criteria enough for me. If you walk up Stuart Rd towards Breeze Hill there is a small park on the left (2mins). Start on the way and finish on a bench. Thats what I do, but I have nothing to fear in Walton, you big softy ponce.

AnonymousApril 26th 2012.

Best Fish and Chips we have ever had. The Fish is incredible. Love it go there regularly and never had a poor meal. Highly recommended

Darrell Doo-MeeApril 27th 2012.

Excellent fish n chips, the batter is like tempura, so light, and hardly any oil left in the paper afterwards. Combine with a pint after, you've got it cracked. Agree on the gulls though, a right PITA, but only if people are daft enough to feed one, then the whole flock descends.

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