The London Walks guides have cogitated and debated, and here are their recommendations…
Please feel free to get your own vinegary fingerprints all over the debate.
David weighs in with…
Come on, we gotta get Sea Shell into this catch. How good is it? Well, we've got an "everybody's favourite" up our way - Nautilus on West End Lane - but I'll always go the extra mile for Sea Shell. (It's actually the lesser mile for tourists because it's on Lisson Grove, effectively the edge of central London; precise direx not needed because you can Internet it - suffice it to say just triangulate Baker Street and Edgware Road stations and hey presto you've got it.)
And what an "it". Has a small attached restaurant - and indeed tables outside the takeaway bit - if you want the best f & c in London then and there. It's appealingly bright and spic 'n' span, let alone aura'd with hail-fellow-well met-ness steaming off your fellow fishers of fish and chips (surely because everybody in that queue - yes, queue, another sure sign - knows they're just minutes away from a feast). A taxi rank's worth of black cabs out front. Which also tells you all you need to know.
The secret's in the batter and the oil they fry it in. I dunno what magic formula they've hit on - bet they wouldn't tell even if I asked - but whatever it is, it's perfection achieved. Golden. Crisp. Unoil-drenched. An ahhhhhhhh aroma, as opposed to the grease-and-goop "brace yourself" variety - that stale, oily, "yukky fish and chips-smell" so many of them are branded with.
And they do the classic f & c sidebars - gherkins, pickled onions, homemade tartar sauce to d. for, etc.
Been going there for 40 years. Yup, the big Four Oh - how long I've been going there and how long they've been there.
Call me, Ahab. Which makes Sea Shell you know what.
49-51 Lisson Grove,
Tel: 0207 224 9000
The Seashell's website is at www.seashellrestaurant.co.uk
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