The top fish and chip shops in London and the South East have been named as part of the 30th anniversary of the National Fish & Chip awards, organised by Seafish – and Ramsgate has a competitor.
Following initial judging, six chippies in the region have been shortlisted for the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award – one of 15 categories in the 2018 National Fish & Chip awards – including Newington Fish Bar in Ramsgate.
The chippies will now compete to scoop the prize in the fish and chip shop ‘Oscars.’
Newington Fish Bar will compete against Papas Barn in Ditton, Kent; Seafare in Guildford, Surrey; Brockley’s Rock in Brockley, London; Henley’s of Wivenhoe in Wivenhoe, Colchester, Essex and Olley’s Fish Experience in London.
The competing shops have had their frying skills put to the test as well as being judged against vigorous criteria, including menu development and innovation, sustainable sourcing policies, staff training processes, and marketing techniques.
The Newington Fish Bar chippy/restaurant in Newington Road was opened by brothers Ken and Nigel Derrett (pictured) almost 40 years ago.
The pair were both working in separate busy restaurants and both had young families.
They decided to use their skills to set up a business in their hometown of Ramsgate and the rest is history.
Since then they have scooped numerous chippy awards – including being named the best in the country by The Independent in 2005 and, in 2009, being the first shop in Kent to receive the prestigious Five Star Fish Fryers Quality Award, by Seafish, Now run by the National Federation of Fish Fryers.
Newington Fish Bar doesn’t just feed the community – it also gets involved with projects for the RNLI and local football clubs and schools
The pair are supported by a loyal team of staff.
Nigel says the secret to their success is “Quality products and service and looking after our customers.”
And if you are not a fan of fish, don’t worry, the shop does everything from pancake rolls to burgers and the famous steakwich is back!
Ken’s top tips for making your own perfect fish and chips (but don’t forget to get your takeaway sometimes too!)
We advise seasoning the fish filets on both sides, then dipping into the batter, in order to make the fish really ‘meaty’.
To make the batter, whisk about 225 grams of flour, with 285 ml of beer and 3 teaspoons of baking powder together.
Do this until nice and shiny, then dip each fillet into the batter. Frying the fish fillets (about 225 grams in total), is best done with sunflower oil in a deep-fat fryer.
For making the chips nice and non-greasy, like they do in the majority of shops in Ramsgate, including us at the Newington Fish Bar:
We advise skinning the potatoes and letting them soak in water to remove the starch. After about 30 mins, throw them in the deep-fat fryer until golden. Preferably in the same oil that the fish fillets were cooked in.
If you are up for some mushy peas on the side too, put about 4 handfuls of peas and some chopped mint in a pan, with 1 knob of butter.
After stirring for 10 minutes, add a squeeze of lemon juice and some sea salt and black pepper. Followed by putting everything in a food processor! And voila, you have your own, homemade, delicious fish and chips and mushy peas!
Apart from the recipe itself, there are some other things to keep in mind in order to really know how to make perfect fish and chips
First and foremost, the fish must always, always be fresh to ensure it cooks beautifully.
Another important thing to know is that thick batter is the best batter. However the batter must be left overnight and not used right away. This will result in a crispy golden finish.
Lastly, make sure you always use fresh oil. Already-used oil is not only bad for your health, but it will also ruin your food. And no one wants that!
Did you know…..
Ken reveals a piece of fish and chip history
At a time when working-class’ everyday diets were bleak and not much varied, fish and chips were a tasty, inexpensive break from the norm. So, the fish and chips business was growing. Starting with a single shop in the 1860s, by 1910 there were roughly 25,000. In 1927, 35,000 fish and chips shops were registered in Britain, showing yet again, just how popular the dish had become.
Nowadays, there are about 10,500 fish and chip shops across Britain. And in case you were wondering, that’s eight for every McDonald’s outlet in Britain, making British fish and chips the nation’s ultimate favourite takeaway meal.
Over the coming weeks the shortlisted shops will be whittled down to a ‘Top 20’, then ‘Top 10’, before the final stage of judging in London in January 2018.
The winner will be announced at The National Fish & Chip Awards’ 30th anniversary ceremony in London on 25 January 2018.
Newington Fish Bar
55 Newington Road
Call: 01843 591549