I seemed to have tapped into the zeitergeist: yesterday, there was another feature in, I think, The Sunday Times colour supplement, on the perfect chip. Which made me think- what's happened to our supposed national dish, fish and chips?
In the last few weeks, I seem to have fallen into a dangerously nostalgic, slightly reactionary mood: I was spluttering into my breakfast cuppa on Saturday morning when I read the ghastly news that Bates, the eccentric hatters of Jermyn Street, was under threat of closure. The Crown Estate has its eye on a juicy bit of property along the Haymarket end of the street, and are, apparently, keen to re-develop. I love Bates, and often drop by to touch my forlock to Binks, the stuffed cat and original cigar smoking St James's swell- I like the way he wears his topper at a jaunty angle, and the cut of his dash. Similarly, I've never felt the same since I heard the news that 'Finisterre' was to be replaced by 'FitzRoy' in the BBC Shipping Forecast. It's just not fair.
Over the next few weeks I'm going on a mission to try and find out where I can order authentic fish and chips in the old tradition. Lots of formica, grumpy proprietors, malt vinegar, fishing nets and linoleum will be the order of the day. I like the look of the North Sea Fish Restaurant in Bloomsbury, and The Golden Hind in Marylebone Lane.