LONDON EATERIES – Sutton and Sons, Islington – Fish and Chips, but better
Everyone has that nostalgic memory of Friday night fish and chips. The unmistakable chippy smell as you walked in there, no other smell like it. The chip lollies whilst you wait of three chips on a wooden fork. The massive sausages with dry ends, and the vinegary, greasy plump chips, smattered in rich salty crystals out of a smelly old few pages of the Daily Star.. Crispy, greasy batter encasing the fish giving way to the steamy white plump cod inside.. ahhh the nostalgia rings true like an M&S Christmas advert.. EVERYONE loves fish and chips.
When I moved to London from “Up North” I was seriously, no SERIOUSLY unimpressed by the Chippys on offer here in the capital – and the lack of old school chippies in the central zones of London. Most of the chips I could get my hands on came from Chicken Shops or Kebab houses and were of the dry-powdery or limp- mushy variety. As time has gone by though this humble food has fallen back into favour, and at the forefront of this notable resurgence has been Sutton and Sons.
It’s fair to say this is a family outfit that have dedicated their working lives to providing quality fish to the consumer. A 20 year established business to be exact, with this being their third restaurant. The Islington branch aims to build on a solid reputation gained from their original chippy in Stoke Newington, and next door fishmongers – where founder Danny Sutton’s built a business providing ethically sourced and sustainable fish.
The fit out is traditional chippy – but posh. The traditional shiny chip counter with everything under hot lamps is there but there are also play-on-word fish related art on the walls, a blackboard with catch of the day and specials listed…and wine. Offerings are traditional chippy meets gentrified Islington so you have the usual cod, haddock battered sausage, alongside grilled catch of the day, tuna burger, lobster sub, grilled oysters and grilled moules mariniere.
We ordered the Whitebait which arrived quickly and were crunchy and plump with a home made tartare sauce on the side. The latter was deliciously tangy and rich. We also ordered the mussels as we wanted to test out the mix of new and old. The mussels for me PERFECT – ahh I can taste them now… plump and juicy in a tasty mariniere broth, and there were loads of them which is never, ever a bad thing in my book!
For the main event I went for the sea bass, and my friend had the battered cod and chips. Well what can I say apart from this really was a schooling in how fish should be done. The sea bass was whole and enormous! It was so very fresh with a crispy skin (my favourite bit). It was served with butter on the side and lemon in the middle and yet again was so fresh! Recommended!
The cod was also gigantic! Deep fried,and crispy to perfection, with gorgeous pillow like chippy chips. The cod was flaky without being dry, and the batter almost tempura like – the best I’ve had in a very long time. I could only say it is outdone by my nostalgic fantasies to be honest! Brilliant! We couldn’t fit in desserts but would have gone for the battered snickers – Id go back again for that alone!
All in all a job well done and this recent branch does the reputation proud. The service was superb and knowledgeable throughout and there is extra space downstairs for more people and parties. We were the only ones sat in and dining but the queue at the counter was out the door. Sutton and Sons can honestly be said, rather cheesily but totally realistically, to be bringing the seaside to the city, and defiantly has the makings of an new Islington institution.
Sutton and S0ns, 356 Essex Road, London N1 3P, Tel: 020 7359 1210
Heart London 5 * Rating:
Emma, Heart London Magazine