People say that food you associate with your childhood stay in the memory forever. One of these memories for me is Friday night fish n chips from our local chippy when I was a kid. Obviously, way back then fish was a relatively new invention and the flavours blew my little mind, and I’m sure I have never had fish n chips since that has been able to measure up. Would the new Cod’s Scallops restaurant on Mansfield Road change that?
The restaurant is split in half – one side takeaway and the other a sit-in restaurant. We were amazed at how popular it was – there was a constant queue at the takeaway bar and every seat in the restaurant was full – and this was on a Wednesday night! Chippy Friday has evolved to an all-week-long experience it seems.
Rather than order takeaway, we decided to make a meal of it and ordered oysters and scallops to start. I opted for the naked oyster, while Emily was intrigued by the battered. Mine was possibly the largest oyster I have ever seen and with a dash of tabasco it slid down the hatch with ease. It had a strong, salty flavour and a lovely, slimy consistency. Emily’s battered oyster wasn’t as large but was tasty. Being honest, you couldn’t taste much other than batter as it was quite heavy, so, although enjoyable, we would probably leave this one next time.
The scallops were also excellent – not as large as we’d had before but definitely as tasty. Our server bought us a third scallop to compensate for their diddines, which was certainly appreciated. They were grilled with the roe still attached which I think is good (it’s more scallopy goodness, after all). It also came with a pot of spicy mayonnaise which worked really well at complementing the flavour. They were perfectly cooked and treated simply, so the scallop could speak for itself.
The main course menu offers many different types of fish, from traditional cod to lobster or monkfish. You can choose if you would like it traditionally battered and deep fried in beef dripping or grilled (the much healthier choice!) and each comes served with your choice of chips or a potato salad. Good to see they are catering for a variety of diets and appetites – Emily was really glad she could still eat healthily. I, representing the neanderthal man, ordered battered haddock with chips, while Emily, being of a more sophisticated nature ordered grilled hake with potato salad. You can also get other chippy tea fare such as pies, sausages, fish cakes etc.
My meal arrived on a plate too small to accommodate the massive piece of fish and came with a generous amount of chips. On first bite, I declared the fish to be amazing, with a crisp batter that was in no way oily or soggy. The fish within was firm, flaked well and tasted as fresh as a fresh fish – beautiful. The chips also lived up to their billing. Over the years, I have gone off chips from the chippy as they are often bland, anaemic, greasy little numbers that are only saved by drowning them in salt ‘n vinegar. These however tasted remarkably fresh, light inside while crispy on the outside – just how they should be. Overall, I can confirm that this may be the best chippy tea I’ve had since I was a nipper. High praise indeed, this is pinch and chimp at its finest.
Emily’s main course, although very different to mine, was also delicious.
Hake is a lovely fish and the massive fillet came beautifully cooked in a light herb butter. It flaked well and was perfectly seasoned with no bones. The dish was designed as a ceramic takeaway carton – a nice, humorous touch which made us smile. The potato salad was as it should be and went nicely with the fish, however the samphire we ordered as a side was a little lacklustre and floppy. Emily would definitely order her fish grilled again (although she did get some batter and chips envy – she pinched some when I was in the loo, I’m sure of it).
The sauces also deserve a special mention as they were all homemade and absolutely great – there’s no comparison with a shop bought tartare sauce in our opinion.
Overall, I’d say the food was fab. You definitely got plenty of it (I couldn’t finish mine!) but it isn’t particularly cheap. We spent £40 on food and a bottle of wine, which is a bit much for a chippy tea. If I lived locally however, I’d definitely visit there for takeaway (despite the price) on a regular basis. To brashly call out the subtlety of their punny name, it is the dog’s bollocks. So do yourself a favour – put the chicken kievs back in the freezer and treat yourself to a proper chippy tea – it’s brill (other fish are available).
Overall score: 9/10
Atmosphere and surroundings: 7/10
Emily and Stuart