If I asked you to think of a traditional British dish it’s quite likely that fish and chips might be one of the first things that springs to mind. You might then be surprised to know that chips are of French or Belgian origin – it’s disputed between the two countries. And the idea of eating them with fried fish was thought to have been introduced by Jewish immigrants from Portugal. But regardless of their true origins it’s safe to say the British have adopted fish and chips as one of our favourite national dishes.
Obviously this means there are loads of great chippies across the country, not least in London. So when I came across Rock and Soul Plaice in Covent Garden, one of London’s most touristy areas, I was a bit dubious as to whether their food would be the real deal or just fodder for tourists.
I’m happy to report it’s most definitely the former. Established in 1872 Rock and Soul Plaice lays claim to being London’s oldest fish and chip shop. It’s easy to see why this hidden gem has been around for such a long time – it sells London’s best fish and chips.
Chatting to Allie, the owner of Rock and Soul Plaice, I learned that every portion of fish and chips served up is different, each fryer has their own individual technique and style, and there are regional differences in batters too.
The method of making traditional fish and chips has been passed down through generations at Rock and Soul Plaice. Chips are cooked in nut oil as opposed to vegetable oil. And the fish they use is fresh, Billingsgate are one of their suppliers, I was pleased to hear they believe in responsible buying, they don’t purchase juvenile fish.
You can really taste the quality of the fish at Rock and Soul Plaice. The batter coating the big chunks of flaky white fish is crisp and not too greasy and the chips are fat and again not excessively oily. Plus, the portions here are huge. Sharps and I split a portion between us and were totally stuffed (something of a rarity). And if you’re veggie there are some vegetarian pies available or you could just opt for a portion of chips by themselves, or with a side of mushy peas. Rock and Soul Plaice is definitely flying the flag for fish and chips and as this hidden gem goes to show London’s best fish and chips shouldn’t just be for the tourists!