London's Best Chips : Faulkner's, Dalston

By Ruth Last edited 99 months ago
London's Best Chips : Faulkner's, Dalston

2004_faulkners.jpg Dalston's nomination for the title of London's best chippie brings a distinctly Mediterranean flavour to this almost legendary institution on Kingsland Road - and it's all the better for it.

Think of this meal in terms of the plot of Shirley Valentine (tenuous, admittedly, to use a tale set in Greece for the review of a Turkish-run fish restaurant, but bear with us...) - on first appearance, the chips seem to have adopted the distinctly British pallor of our eponymous heroine; being pale and slightly blemished in appearance, and rather soft in character (there's no fancy-pants double-frying trickery here). If you can get past this though there's something really quite special about them - they're a consistent and comforting choice though and not much to look at. The batter, on the other hand, is a beautiful golden colour, and the fish is firm to the touch with a tastily slick, slightly oily characteristic (much like Tom Conti's Costas). In combination they play beautifully off each other, in a way which will set your heart aflutter. It's not uncommon for fights to break out over the last of these chips which at first seemed so unremarkable - they haven't reached cult status for nothing.

As one of the most southerly outposts of this famously Turkish district, eating in at the taverna-esque restaurant is something of an 80s experience in itself - half-timbered, with displays of tropical fish looking on as you devour their less aesthetically engineered cousins, and offering up a somewhat chintzy cocktail menu which seems to have undergone a timewarp too, where "classics" such as Long Island Iced Tea, Woo Woos and Side Cars are served up at a mere £4 a pop. Elsewhere on the menu, calamari (£4.90) and oysters (£6.90) jostle for attention alongside the more traditionally East End jellied eel (£4.90). There's handmade, fresh tartare sauce on offer (£1.30), whilst if you're thinking more of your bikini body, the fish is available grilled or with a matzo meal coating as an alternative to the batter. You can even order it on or off the bone. Given this first (and possibly last) glimpse of summer though, why not get it to takeaway instead and sit outside The Haggerston a few doors down? There's some great evening sun to be caught on the east side of Kingsland Road these days.

All in all, this characteristically stodgy British stalwart has been transformed by a little Mediterranean dalliance which may be just what you need to respark your love affair, since it's emerged the other side a much tastier dish. It just goes to show that you shouldn't take this paltry English staple for granted (no disrespect to Pauline Collins intended).

Thanks to @ladyluckrulesok for the recommendation - let us know on Twitter if you think she's wrong!

Last Updated 23 April 2010