The British Chip Shop
Haddonfield, NJ, 08033
My girls love fish and chips, and to be honest, they have not yet learned to be fish and chips snobs. They would be just as happy at Arthur Treachers as they were sitting a stone’s throw from Buckingham Palace, enjoying lunch on a drizzly August afternoon. But as soon as Eilis saw the sign driving through Haddonfield that a Fish and Chip shop was coming, we knew we’d be there sooner rather than later.
Sooner was lunch just yesterday afternoon. We celebrated my first day back to school since the stone ages by taking a ride to check the place out, and we were totally impressed by most everything. The decor is reminiscent of what you’ll find in the UK, with dark, rich wood; a portrait of the Queen; and football jerseys lining the walls. It was cozy and comfortable, and there were quite a few diners enjoying lunch or tea.
We settled into our seats, and the gang ordered various sodas from the UK, while I ordered an iced tea. You won’t find Coke or Pepsi products here – only real UK sodas, a scary prospect if you’ve ever enjoyed some of the International sodas at EPCOT’s Club Cool. Fortunately, everyone was pleased with their fizzy drink selections. Because you are getting the imported product, you won’t get refills of your drinks, but between Jim, Eilis and Granuaile, we ended up with half a can of soda left over of the three varieties they ordered.
Jim and Eilis both ordered fish and chips – Eilis ordered a queen sized portion, while Jim opted for the larger King size. Granuaile had fish and chips as well, except on the children’s size, they call them fish nibbleys. The fish was perfection – light and crisp on the outside, moist and steaming hot on the inside. The chips, while a bit closer to the American sized french fries than a real British chip, were okay – nothing terribly special.
The condiments on the table included HP sauce and malt vinegar, neither of which Eilis and Granuaile will use. We ended up asking for ketchup for Granuaile and tartar sauce for Eilis. The tartar sauce was deemed some of the best Eilis had ever tasted, but the portion was quite small – especially for the Jersey diner eating public.
I ordered the cottage pie, which they informed us was a 15 minute prep. Everything here is cooked to order, so we accepted the wait for the pie, knowing it would be piping hot when served. It was delicious, with a slight crust on the mashed potato top, and the expected piping hot inside. I couldn’t finish the portion, especially after I dove into the spring mix green salad that accompanied my cottage pie. I’m not sure what it was dressed with, but it was excellent.
We were all pretty full, but Jim wanted the whole UK experience, so we ordered the fried Mars bar to share, and I ordered a scone, which I hoped I didn’t have to share. The Mars bar was a batter dipped candy bar, fried to crisp perfection on the outside, while the inside was a creamy chocolate and caramel. Way too rich for me, but I can see why this could easily be someone’s request for their last meal. The scone was a little disappointing – not as fresh tasting as I had hoped, with barely enough clotted cream and jam to put on one half, let alone two. I would have used it all on one half, but Granuaile shared, so I had to split the tiny portion over two halves.
The one thing you will notice if you dine here is the one thing everyone dining in Haddonfield knows – it’s a dry town. No fine Enlgish stouts here, I’m afraid. If you are looking for a TRUE pub experience, you’ll have to bring your own brew.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal. The only true disappointments were in the tiny portions of tartar sauce, jam, and clotted cream. We really would have liked more of each. Not a five star performance, but a solid four at least.