Perhaps it was just that all the key components were right: very crispy battered fish, ‘fat’ hot homemade chips and torrential heavy rain…but we had a very successful (not so much for the waistline but for nostalgia) and relatively good value dinner on the wet and blustery Friday night that heralded the start of this weekend just passed.
Fish and chips plus rain almost always makes me think of England (in particular a trip to the seaside – the one time you can guarantee it will pour and you end up sheltering under a leaky pierside eating fish and chips of varying degrees of deliciousness).
I grew up in Scotland though. We have beaches and boy, do we have rain, but fish and chip shops were never a feature of my childhood and are, to me, uniquely English and strictly reserved for (rainy British) holidays.
So we braved the tropical downpour on Friday and headed to near by Bukit Timah to eat what Smiths purport to be ‘Authentic British Fish & Chips’. I’m not such a die-hard fan that I’d have wandered in here off the street, but we’d been recommended this place by a few different people recently and felt we should try it.
As soon as you walk in, you feel like you are in England. Decor is classic up-market caff: glossy white brick tiles, black framed prints and giant tins of all-things-Heinz stacked on groaning shelves interspersed with strings of British bunting (I’m not sure whether the bunting is a permanent touch or just for the Olympics).
Substitute The New Paper, in the shot below, for a copy of The Sun and this could have been taken in the East End rather than Bukit Timah:
The fish (I had cod, but there was a bunch of things to choose from including plaice which I think would probably have been nicer and not so heavy) was cooked to order in a deliciously light and crisp batter. Mushy peas on the side? Caaan. What about a good old British picked egg, my man? Also possible although via Tanjong Katong (see picture above, which makes me smile).
The only thing missing was the traditional newspaper wrapping (which wouldn’t translate particularly well out here, now I think about it). But I’m not even sure that they serve it like that in England anymore, it’s been so long since I ate them, and until I do again, Smiths is more than a substitute.
Fish and flag image courtesy of msn food