Kerridge Fish and Chips
Fresh off another fish and chips trawler in October, this joint came to me as a suggestion.
Though when it's sitting in one of London's landmark buildings, my word choice becomes questionable.
The name Tom Kerridge (banded about in the micro foodie clubs I pass thru) is a chef you remember. Though, I am yet to join those clubs, I am aware his artistry not only garners palates to his four eateries, one of which sparks two Michelin stars but also to his nine books. He, is a chef whose achieved culinary gold.
As with Michael O'Hare of The Man Behind The Curtain, he too, got a spotlight on The Great British Menu. A chef, famous.
And with the cost of living crisis rewriting everyone's finances, his fish and chips may very well be the club entry into his celebrated food the sister keeps harping on about. I'd planned to get her one of his books. Turns out she has a few.
Still, here I am in Harrods Dining Hall with no prior reservation. There are six restaurants to take a seat at. Kama by Vineet (doesn't ring any foodie bells), Pasta Evangelista (had a try at home), Caviar House & Prunier (I remember them from the airport), no waitlist for those.
Kerridge Fish and Chips, though, gets me red-roped. Not for long, I'm happy to write.
Menu in hand, I'm perusing it. The contents are straightforward; not requires the brain to contort with annoyance. Although, a section titled 'Bits and Bobs' raised an eyebrow. I'm still perusing the menu when Mr Waiter intervenes for drinks, and since I've mentally underlined the Market day Fish, I'm straight in. Market day fish is whiting, he says. Now I thought I knew my fish, but it hit home there's plenty of them in the sea.
Still, I am intrigued. Had I arrived yesterday, or were to return next week, what would Market Day Fish be? How much of this is down to sourcing or our Michelin Star Chef's choosing?
Either way, I'm willing it good because I'm not about to change.
In the wait, I scour the joint. A couple of tables and the counter area, both give seating to just over twenty diners at a time. The seats allocated at the counter, I realise, are still warm from the previous diners. I can't imagine these leather seats going cold, seeing its bums off, bums on.
Harrods Food Hall isn't aglow and hear in Kerridge's corner of it, seems even less so. The chefs (none of whom are Mr Kerridge himself) in the open house kitchen are in a sort of fish and chips action. The sort that would see you wait forever outside your local chippie on a Friday night.
There's a clunking of mass cutlery and crockery in the far distance but nothing stimulates the senses or dominates the atmosphere. There's no additional story to tell from Kerridge's Fish and Chips' secluded location in a corner of the dining hall.
Plates of fish and chips for the neighbours at the bar arrive. In fifteen minutes so does mine (I timed it).
The neighbours plates are loaded chip shop style. I'm tempted to ask for the rest of my plate, but decided I did have a lot of it. Because to see the plate is the Michelín way.
But I'm here for fish and chips. My battered and deep fried encrusted dish sits with three pots of sauce and chips. Straight out of... no fangle dangle. Michelin must have left halfway through plating.
Still cooking hot off the pan, I end up cooking the roof of my mouth with the chips. They are too hot to pass proper judgment.
Instead, I fork into my lean and slender filet of whiting. It strikes me as the fish you'd choose to represent the white fish species on the haute couture catwalk. Neither does it have the typical fish and chips smell.
Unlike cod, I'm challenged to hook chunks of this filet into my mouth; rather, it crumbles away from the fork. The batter, Kerridge's own. I wonder at what molecular techniques employed. Ahh but that's another chef. Sadly, no further information is added. All the same, its batter. A bit of salt, milk, flour, except this batter is gluten free.
It's light, got a nice crunch on and goes down well.
So well, I omit to give it a shower of lemon juice.
Today, however, I forsake the Malton curry sauce for mushy peas, except here its called peas pudding. Mushy peas are yet to grace these lips but something about the taste triggers nostalgia, though it links back to nothing. Or could it be the light pudding texture that caused the trigger.
I go back to the chips. I fear they held out on the chips gold.
Some way through, though, I'm struggling. The neighbours more so than me. I at least finish mine.
Is Kerridge's Fish and Chips seeking to rewrite this treasured dish or bring it and his name to a broader public? I sense it is the latter two of three.
I expected fish and chips gold, the result, simply fish and chips.