McDermotts Fish and Chips, Addington, Surrey CR0 9AS - restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 19:01 06 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:06 21 July 2014
There's nothing quite like tucking into fish and chips every now and again, and believe it or not, here in Surrey we have one of the best places in the UK to do just that. John Hughes finds out more
Reviewd in Surrey Life magazine November 2008
REVIEWED: McDermott's Fish and Chips, 5/7 Forestdale Centre, Featherbed Lane, Addington CR0 9AS Tel: 020 8651 1440
What we ate
Fish and chips £9.50
Mushy peas £0.80
Apple pie and ice cream £3.00
Glass of house red £2.75
Filter coffee £1.20
Food and drink 9
It may be common knowledge that Surrey has three Michelin-starred restaurants to its credit, but it's probably a lesser known fact that we can also boast one of the best fish and chips shops in the country.
However, McDermott's Fish and Chips, in Addington, is currently the London and South East Region Fish and Chip Shop of the Year (for the fourth time!) and recently made The Times' list of 'The UK's Top Ten best fish and chip shops'.
Having eaten there recently, I now know why. McDermott's is a class act. Their restaurant, and the takeaway next door, are stylish and professional with a strong emphasis on customer service, and their fish and chips are simply the best.
Owner Tony McDermott, who's been serving fish and chips in Addington for 23 years, told me: "It's a simple business, but few places present fish and chips in a stylish way using only quality ingredients, and that's what we aspire to do."
They serve fresh fish from sustainable sources, caught mainly in the Barents Sea, and chips made from Maris Piper potatoes (120 bags every week!). Only groundnut oil is used for frying, which gives their batter a distinct nutty flavour; and it's changed daily, an expensive process, but worth it to maintain the standards.
So, time to peruse the menu and decide what to eat. I settled on cod and chips with a side order of mushy peas and a cup of tea, served with French bread and butter and a complimentary dish of pickled onions and gherkins; all preceded by a mackerel pate on a biscuit (also on the house). The alternatives were haddock, plaice or scampi, in a standard or kingsize portion, but Tony's son Sean, who is also a major player in the success of the business, recommended the cod. "Everyone loves cod and it's by far our most popular dish," he said. "We sell non-fish items too - pies, saveloys etc - but there aren't many takers. Most people want fish and chips."
I have to say, mine more than lived up to expectations. The batter was light and crispy and the flesh of the cod tender and moist. The chips were classic chip shop chips - crunchy, chunky and well cooked, and not a hint of greasiness. As for the mushy peas, they never were a favourite of mine, but as mushy peas go, these were tasty, green and, well, nicely mushed!
Beating the credit crunch
At this point, I spotted that McDermott's also has a wine list - brief, but a wine list nevertheless - and I decided it wasn't too late for a glass of house red. I could have ordered a bottle of Chablis, no less...
Out of duty, rather than need, I sniffed the dessert menu and chose apple pie and ice cream, rounded off with a filter coffee. But McDermott's is all about fish and chips, and that's where its strength lies.
Be warned, McDermott's has a no booking policy and it's very popular. I arrived early - around 5.30pm - and it was empty, but Sean told me that by mid-evening it would be packed.
"Come the weekend, they're queuing out of the door," he told me. "We serve 300 people on a Friday in the restaurant alone. We're in here at 7am cutting up to 900 pieces of fish, and we have 18 members of staff on duty in the evening. So much for the credit crunch - we've just recorded two or three of our best days ever!"
And with fish and chips this good, it's hardly a surprise...
3 other great places to try in Croydon
Tony McDermott knows a thing or two about dining out, and not just fish and chips. Here, he recommends a few other interesting places to eat in his part of Surrey
18 Selsdon Road, South Croydon CR2 6PA. Tel: 020 8633 1818
French bistro fare at Malcolm John's new venture
33 South End, South Croydon CR0 1BE. Tel: 020 8667 0070
Caribbean cuisine fused with modern European influences
49 b&c South End, Croydon CR0 1BF. Tel: 020 8680 2010
Modern British cuisine from head chef and co-owner Joby Wells