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Review: Vintage Fish

The backbone of traditional British cuisine, a comforting Friday night takeaway, jars of pickled eggs and pickled onions adorning the counter – isn’t that all a fish-and-chips restaurant has to offer? A visit to Vintage Fish opened up my eyes to the possibility that such a restaurant could offer an altogether more elegant experience.

Having opened in May on Leopold Road in Wimbledon Park, Vintage Fish is currently undergoing something of a renovation, due for completion in late September. It’s to be modelled on its flagship store in Blackheath channelling a classic 1950s style.

Owner Shane Ozdemir tells me he spotted a gap in the market in Wimbledon Park, which prompted him to open here. “We know the local community enjoy good quality food so, given what we’re planning for Vintage Fish, this was an ideal spot,” he says.

Shane tells me the vintage element is about the style and décor but that it’s also about stepping back into a simpler era when everything was made from scratch and the freshest ingredients were used. This concept has filtered down to its menu. All fish is sourced daily from Billingsgate Fish Market, everything is cooked to order and everything will be homemade, from their own tartar sauce to their interpretation of mushy peas and curry sauce. The restaurant plans to add signature dishes to its menu, such as plaice fillet in panko breadcrumbs and serving lemon and coriander on the fish as a healthy alternative to salt and vinegar. Nothing will be out of a packet, tin or frozen, and there won’t be a burger in sight.

Even the current menu features starters you may not see at every fish and chip restaurant – there were panko-coated prawns, hand-cut calamari and whitebait to choose from. Can’t decide on one? They offer a sharing platter. Being something of a traditionalist, I chose cod and chips – keen to experience for myself the freshness of daily-bought fish.

The fish tasted as fresh as it would if it was served in a restaurant by the coast. Tender and served piping hot, it was coated in a light batter that was crunchy yet delicate, making it a lovely addition to the fish rather than a hard casing, and a good dousing of lemon juice added to its delicious simplicity. You can also ask for gluten-free batter. The thick-cut, fluffy chips properly tasted of potatoes – British-grown Maris Pipers are used for their fuller flavour and the taste was certainly the proof.

A plate of fish and chips is certainly one of the most hearty meals you can have but served among vintage-style décor, using fresh ingredients and a twist on traditional flavours, it takes fish and chips into a new dimension. And if you want the convenience of traditional fish and chip takeaway? From August you’ll be able to order online via the Vintage Fish app, allowing you to pick up your order when it’s ready.

Vintage Fish, 11 Leopold Rd, Wimbledon Park, SW19 7BB

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