Everyone should have a Kerbisher & Malt within walking distance of their home. Unfortunately, at least for now, London will have to be satisfied with just two branches of this modern no-fuss fish-and-chips joint: the original, just north of Hammersmith, and the recently opened second branch in near Ealing Broadway tube.
Chips are double-fried, made in shop, and rather good. The fish, on the other hand, is simply the best: cooked to perfection and no further, in a thin and crispy batter, with firm yet slightly translucent flesh. All ‘fresh and sustainably sourced’, with a choice of cod, haddock, plaice, pollock and coley. Conventional do-good-ish wisdom would point to the pollock and coley as the most “right-on” selections, out of which I’d definitely recommend the pollock (£6.80). The coley (£5.80) seems less delicate and noticeably drier.
Calamari is breaded rather than battered, and generously portioned. Sauces and extras are made fresh, which means the tartare sauce is richer and less sharp than store-bought, and the mushy peas are less salty and mushy than the school-canteen variety (which I happen to quite like). If you’re feeling healthy, you can get your fish grilled instead of battered and fried.
For dessert, try the little tubs of Jude’s ice-creams — the special ‘seasonal’ flavours this month included salted caramel (less salty than expected, which is just what you want if you’re having more than a scoop) and honeycomb.
The eating area is small, tiled and casually chic, with one large shared table and a handful of smaller ones. You can call up to reserve, which is a nice touch. In winter, it can get a little cold with the constant stream of take-away customers, so wear warm just in case.
Worth a trip across London? Possibly not, unless you’re a major fish-and-chips fan — this is a fantastic local restaurant, not destination dining. Worth going every week if you live nearby and like eating great food for under a tenner? As if you have to ask.
Kerbisher & Malt
164 Shepherds Bush Road
London W6 7PB
+44 20 3556 0228