Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chester's Kitchen - A Taste of Real British Food

A few weeks ago I visited Chester's Kitchen after I read about the tempting offerings of "A taste of real British fare" located in The Hague. Situated at Prins Hendrikstraat 54, it offers a range of real British food in the day and best of all, in the early evening on a Friday and Saturday, the place magically turns into a fish and chip shop.

Whilst the shop itself looked a little sparse (I gather they are building up), it offers lots of goodies just like you would find in your local chippy back in England: cod, haddock and barramundi (all battered in a light beer batter), proper sized chips, battered sausages, pies and pasties and all the traditional accompaniments such as mushy peas and curry sauce. Everything is fried in beef dripping (traditionally used in British fish and chip shops but as it is makes food unsuitable for vegetarians many shops back home switched to vegetable fat - however, the taste is different). Anyway, the bottom line is that it tastes good at Chester's Kitchen! Really good!

The origins of fish and chip shops in Britain stems back to either 1860 or 1863 when the first shop opened in London, or the North of England (both locations claiming to be the first chippy in England).

It proved to be cheap fare for the working population of the country, was particularly popular during the First World War, and one of the few foods not rationed during the Second World War.

Fish and chips is traditionally eaten on Fridays because of the Roman Catholic abstinence from meat on Fridays - hence Friday became known as fish day. I can remember that whenever I stayed with my grandparents as a child we always ate fish and chips on a friday - invariably from the local chippy. In fact, going even further back, my granddad even owned a fish and chip shop!

In years gone by, fish and chips were always wrapped in newspaper, invoking fond childhood memories of strolling along Blackpool promenade with fish and chips in hand, battling the elements whilst "oohing and ahhing" at the Christmas lights. These days newspaper is no longer allowed (rumours of ink poisoning being what they are) and your feast from the chippy is wrapped in plain white paper.

Contrary to what you may think, there is less fat in a British fish and chip meal than in other popular take away meals. This is due to the meaty size of the chips, which means they retain less fat - proper British chips dwarf an anorexic looking french fry and tastes so much better.

Add your traditional splash (or bottle as some like it) of malt vinegar and a generous salt portion and you have British food at its best. If you have never had the pleasure - treat yourself at Chester's Kitchen or a fish and chip shop near you. Eet smakelijk!!!

Visit for more info on opening times and menu.

Photo (c) Carl Ratcliffe

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