I love me a local soft opening. Who would say no to a fantastic chance of cheap food and discovery of what might be the new local? And I was ever so excited that a chippie was opening so close to my gym. Oh the oxymornic gym sessions to follow…nothing quite nourishes that post-spin class euphoria as some righteously delicious deep fried goodness.
Chipping Forecast started as a street stall in the ever so popular Berwick Street market (which I don’t like because I happened to like Berwick Street as a Soho anomaly) and promises to deliver the fish to your table within 48 hours of hooking it. The homey dining room is decorated with some beautiful pictures of the fishermen who caught the fish (hopefully this will be a less of a meta tale than that of Mr. Mishkin’s epic) and paired with some fantastically friendly staff, exudes a wonderfully unLondon-like personality. There were some lovely little touches, like the free wifi and comp still/sparkling water- these are good people who love their neighbourhood (the girl at the bar literally lives a couple minutes away).
What about that delicious fried food they promise? Well, the “scampies” (cheeky monkfish fingers- did you know they used to make illegal scampies out of monkfish when monkfish was cheap?) were covered in batter as light as air- they almost flew off my plate- the beer batter definitely gave the fish a chance to shine. And I’ve never EVER seen such large mussels swimming in creamy garlic sauce in my life. One was almost the size of 2 thumbs put together (oh ok, I have tiny thumbs… but still). The brilliantly beef(y) dripping triple cooked chips were a perfect match to the lightness of the fish (and I normally dislike thick cut). This is definitely fried fish that won’t make you feel like you wasted a ton of calories on!
I was a little sad that they didn’t have cream for their fluffy sticky toffee pudding (well it was soft opening, and they served it with ice cream instead). Like most places, they seem to miss the point that a sticky toffee pudding isn’t a dieter’s dessert and never will be: please don’t be shy, don’t hold back on that delicious toffee sauce (just keep going till it’s drenched)! It was tasty enough but a tad dry due to the shy toffee sauce (Grant would point out that this is the quintessential problem of English cakes and desserts); alas I should have gone for the apple pie or brownie- both are better a choice with ice cream (and I’ve actually never had a sticky toffee pud in a restaurant that I thought was more satisfying than good ol’ Cartmel’s– sorry, restaurants everywhere *blush*). The house white was also a bit depressing, even spritzifying didn’t perk it up much. The restaurant serves (and batters with) the ever reliable Brewdog beers though, they’d be a better bet.
The restaurant owners said they will be adding new dishes to the menu as they bed in- I have high hopes that this will become something akin to Prawn on the Lawn in the west, even better, since they serve heaps of hot food already! I felt at home at this place and it’s a worthy addition to the neighbourhood.
Price: £25 for a greedy bear + drinks.
The Chipping Forecast
29 All Saints Road, Notting Hill