‘Review’ might be a stretch. For a start I can’t remember the name of the place and no amount of searching on Google seems to change that. Perhaps it was a mirage. Maybe the entire day was a figment of my imagination, a dream of such vividness that I’ve since convinced myself of its veracity. The fact that I was in Halifax in the first place is probably a clue. I don’t live in Halifax. I don’t really live all that close to Halifax.
Anyway, let’s pretend it all happened, because I’m pretty sure it did. My grandparents lived the early part of their married life in Halifax and Grandpa had decided it might be jolly for us to go and see the house he grew up in. Well, the place where the house that he grew up in used to be. It now looks like this:
After a jaunt around the car park and a close encounter with a pink, fluorescent, and patently used prophylactic, we headed up into town and to this utopia of vinegar, batter, fish and spud. Few will dispute the fact that fish and chips in the north are better than their southern counterparts in the way that butter is better than margarine, but even having grown up in Yorkshire I had never eaten anything that touched these. On the batter spectrum perfection like that is a rare thing – if temperature and timing aren’t judged to the atom then you’ll end up with a batter that is either too soggy or overly crisp, browned and brittle. The batter mustn’t shatter when you make your lusty advances on its crust. The cod inside (yes, yes slapped wrists naughty boy) was meaty perfection – firm yet soft and flakier than a Flake chocolate bar in a Dutch coffee shop.
But it was the chips that made this particular trip to the chippie so memorable. They were actually crispy. You don’t really look for crispiness in chip shop chips, probably because everyone is so used to them sweating in their wrapping paper. But these were crisp and I felt like I’d been missing out on something all this time. Chippie chips can be crisp whilst still retaining that vinegary (malt vinegar only please) identity that makes them different from any other kind of chip.
And eaten in a park in Halifax with gale force winds and Grannie lunging for curry sauce and a can of utterly filthy but oddly appropriate Dandelion and Burdock…it was an epic lunch. I’d be back next week, if only I could remember its name.