In Which a British Icon is Given Sweet and Peppery Twists…

Fish – check. Chips – check. Dip – wait, is that peanut butter?!

Fact: fish and chips is a British classic.

Fact: fish and chips is most commonly seasoned with salt and malt vinegar.

With these two facts in mind, most people are actually happy with the way things are.  Seriously, unless it’s prepared by an incredibly slapdash cook, you can never really go wrong with fish and chips.  The moreish fish is crunchy and golden outside, white and moist within if done well.  The chips ought to be of similar texture: golden and crisp outside, fluffy within.  Salt is wonderful on them, malt vinegar adds a welcome tang that brings the mild flavor of the fish into high relief.  Nothing can be simpler.

But, of course, you’ll always have someone upping the ante in the hope of improving something that’s more or less perfect.  Peanut Butter Company is one such place.

The battered fish here is cream dory as opposed to either cod or haddock, so the flavor is much milder and is rather buttery.  The coated fish is fried till a bit darker than golden (more bronzed, I would think), so its crust tastes somewhat nuttier though is as good.  It’s also a tad crunchier, so it might not go over too well with those who prefer the surface of their fish to shatter on contact with their teeth.

The chips in this particular dish are thickish discs of good, unpeeled potato (not taking the skin off keeps the vitamins in) dusted in the sort of peppery flour characteristic of Shakey’s nigh-on-legendary mojos, so each bite is salty and spicy all at the same time – and they’re definitely moreish.

It’s the dip that really sets PBCo’s chippie plate apart from all the rest.  It’s basically a mixture of house-made peanut butter – the shop’s primary stock in trade – with egg mayonnaise and finely grated cucumber.  It’s sweet, creamy, surprisingly delicious as a matter of fact, and works as a refreshing counterpoint to the richness of the fish and spuds.

Speaking as a bit of a fish-and-chips purist, this won’t really be making its way into my list of favorites though it is pretty smashing.  I would, nevertheless, recommend it wholeheartedly as a rather unusual and delicious lunch for one.