Thursday, July 14, 2011

Masterful Fish and Chips (Masters Super Fish)

Fried Cod and Chips

As a newbie traveler, I am seeing for the first time just how much work and preparation goes into planning out a trip. Especially since I am traveling solo, preparation and planning are key to ensure that I maximize my time spent in a city while minimizing the amount of time spent waiting on lines or wandering about hopelessly lost. I found Traveladvisor particularly useful, as it guided me in my decision-making process of which sites to head to first (get to the Tower of London when it opens and see the Crown Jewels as soon as you enter to beat the lines) and what time to arrive at certain sites (get to Buckingham Palace more than an hour before the 11:30 start time of the Changing of the Guard if you want to get a good view at the palace gates). Similarly, Chowhound is my go-to resource for learning about which restaurants and dining establishments are worth trying out. Travelers commonly ask for restaurant suggestions and recommendations with the caveat that they want to go to "where the locals eat." In researching which London restaurants serve the best fish and chips, one name that kept coming up as a place frequented by cabbies and locals alike was Masters Super Fish. With a name like that, I knew that I just had to check it out, and in the end, I was really glad that I did. 

After spending my first morning in London exploring the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, I arrived at Masters at about 12:15 to a sparsely filled dining room with a couple of tables occupied by what appeared to be locals. With my order of the lunch special fish and chips placed, it was only a minute later that I was served a complementary trio of boiled shrimp. These things were tiny, but hey, they were free, so I guess I can't complain. About ten minutes later, my plate of fried cod and chips was served, along with a helping of pickled onions and a pickle. 

Complementary Boiled Shrimp

oh yessss

Now, again, as my last post on fish and chips stated, I am by no means a fish and chips expert, but I found the fish and chips at Masters to be pretty fantastic. The fish was obviously freshly fried, and the golden brown, craggy crust was pleasingly crisp and not greasy in the slightest. I think I may prefer the thinner crust found at Luke's over the thicker-crusted fish at Masters, but that's just nitpicking, as the fish was really quite impressive with a moist and flaky interior. The batter was tasty and not soggy in the slightest, and the chips, fat and crisp, were far superior to Luke's, which were a bit pale and flaccid (that's what she said!). When doused with some malt vinegar and eaten with the pickled onion to provide some acidity, the fried cod at Masters was a work of art, indeed.

Masters is the kind of place where you will get honest-to-goodness delicious food that is far enough off the beaten path that it isn't swamped by tourists. It is the type of place that has a steady flow of customers who live in the area, and it's exactly the kind of place that I am looking for when I want to eat as the locals eat: a nondescript, neighborhood restaurant offering good food that I can't get back at home in the US. If I lived anywhere near Masters, I would make a return trip. Alas, my short weekend jaunt in London did not allow me to return, and with several other restaurants on my to-do list, I did my best to savor every last bite of the terrific fish and chips. Masterful, indeed.

Masters Fish and Chips
191 Waterloo Road
London SE1 8UX
United Kingdom

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