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Simpsons Fish & Chips

Still Regarded As The National Dish crack

Winston Churchill called them “the good companions”. John Lennon smothered his in tomato ketchup. Michael Jackson liked them with mushy peas. They sustained morale through two world wars and are still regarded as our national dish.

What are we talking about? Fish and chips of course! Who can resist the combination of moist white fish in crisp golden batter, served with a generous portion of hot, fluffy chips?

Like Morecambe and Wise or Wallace and Gromit, fish and chips are a classic double act - and yet they may have started life as solo performers. And their roots are not as British as you might think. The story of the humble chip goes back to the 17th Century to either Belgium or France, depending who you believe.

Oddly enough, the chip may have been invented as a substitute for fish, rather than an accompaniment. At times when fish was not available, resourceful housewives began cutting potatoes into fish shapes and frying them as an alternative. Around the same time, fried fish was introduced into Britain by Jewish refugees from Portugal and Spain.

But who first had the bright idea to marry fish with chips remains the subject of fierce controversy and the truth will probably never be known for definite. It is safe to say it was somewhere in England but arguments still rage over whether it was in the North of England or somewhere here down South.

To keep prices down, portions were often wrapped in old newspaper - a practice that many of us still remember – and it survived as late as the 1980s when it was ruled unsafe for food to come into contact with newspaper ink without grease-proof paper in between.

One such traditional fish and chip shop - but without the newspaper - is Simpson’s Fish and Chips in Priors Road, Cheltenham, which also has branches in Chepstow and Bradley Stoke, near Bristol. At Simpsons they hope to provide a friendly and reliable local chippy that guarantees great food every time you return. They can cater for any occasion, from kids’ parties to business meetings and can deliver for a minimum order. You can even eat in and save doing the washing up!

You can also pick up a loyalty card on your next visit.

Every time you spend £5 or more you get a stamp and after 9 stamps you get free fish and chips of any size!

The Cheltenham shop, which has been awarded the only 5 Star Seafish Friers Quality Award in Gloucestershire has just undergone a bit of a facelift – it’s been painted white outside and is getting new paving and the ramp re-laid.

And if you prefer tartar sauce to tomato ketchup with your fish and chips here’s a recipe for making your own from Simpsons:

200g good quality mayonnaise
2 tbsp chopped curly leaf parsley
2 tbsp chopped capers
2 grated or finely chopped gherkins
2 tbsp each juice from gherkin and caper jars
A good squeeze of fresh lemon

Mix up and enjoy! Will keep for 3 days sealed in the fridge.

Simpsons is at:

73-75 Priors Road

Tel: 01242 521964