For the next two weeks, the world’s attention will turn to London and the 2012 Summer Olympics. You may not be able to jet across the pond to catch the games, but you can certainly get into the spirit in South Jersey by enjoying some of the traditional food of England.
Fish and chips, the classic English carry-out cuisine, is made up of cod, haddock or similar flaky white fish fillets dipped in batter, deep-fried and paired with thick-cut French fries.
Sprinkled with salt and topped with a splash of malt vinegar, the meal is traditionally eaten right out of the newspaper it comes wrapped in. The classic coupling is thought to have originated spontaneously in the streets of industrial London in the 1850s, when separate food vendors sold fried potatoes known as pommes frites and fish that arrived fresh daily by train from coastal towns.
Several South Jersey eateries offer signature fish and chips entrees featuring locally-sourced ingredients, secret batter blends and a variety of potatoes.
Americans typically like to dip their fish and chips in creamy tartar sauce and ketchup, but the conventional malt vinegar is available for those who crave the extra zing it delivers.
If your mouth is now watering for this delectable dish, keep in mind, you don’t have to travel very far to get it.
The British Chip Shop in Haddonfield is a BYOB that offers authentic British fare. Owner Ed Strojan says his fish and chips start with market-fresh, flaky white fish, battered to order; and the chips are double-fried. “Thick-cut potatoes are blanched first in oil heated to a low temperature to cook the inside and then cooked more quickly at a higher temperature,” Strojan said. “This results in a tender inside covered by a crispy skin.” Tartar sauce is made in house and patrons have the option to substitute greens for chips.
Cherry Hill and Bordentown:
Dubh Linn Square, located in Cherry Hill and Bordentown prepares their fish and chips batter with a blend of pale ale and dark beer, which results in a very light and crispy coating. The golden-crusted fish portions are served up with chunky steak fries and tartar sauce. A pint of Guinness Extra Stout is a fitting accompaniment at this Irish pub and sports bar.
A Battered Tartan opened just last year in Moorestown and has already made a splash in the South Jersey restaurant scene. “For the fish and chips we buy our fish fresh, directly from local fish mongers” chef and owner Bruce Koris said. “We blend our own batter and source our produce locally. We cook with all fresh ingredients and pride ourselves on serving true and proper British fish and chips.”
Off-the-beaten-path restaurants often turn out to be gems. While lost on the grid of two-lane country roads that cross the Pinelands, some lucky drivers may happen upon Indian Mills Pizza.
The restaurant, which is family owned, prepares its fish and chips in the customary British way.
Marcello’s, one of several charming restaurants that line Bordentown’s quaint Farnsworth Avenue, offers their tasty fish and chips as a special. It’s usually available on request, even if it’s not on the daily menu.
Is there a restaurant not on our list that you think offers some good fish and chips? Tells us about it in the comments below.
Jersey Bites is a collaborative website of food writers in New Jersey. They write about restaurants, recipes, food news, food products, events, hunger relief programs, and anything else that tickles their taste buds.