There is a hole in the wall fish and chip speciality place called The Fish & Chip Shop on Killingsworth, on the way back to the Max from Saraveza or just on the other side of the Max by the block when coming back from Hop & Vine. Heh, convenient location. They serve British style fish and chips, which means deep-fried battered fish (traditionally cod but sometimes haddock) with “chipped potatoes” which = fries or potato chips. Yes, it’s a totally deep-fried platter, but historically it is fast food after all.
Though, don’t expect fast service here. When I came in I didn’t see a server, so I seated myself to browse their paper takeout menu. Another guest did the same thing, and 10 minutes later another customer came in and impatiently wondered whether anyone was working there (uh, clearly, there are 5 tables occupied) because she hadn’t been greeted yet to give her carryout order. However, wanting the crisp batter texture I knew I was eating in, and after 5 minutes or so the server emerged. Since the menu is pretty limited, as soon as she came over she anticipated I was ready to order, and less then 10 minutes later the plate was in front of me. So, slow to take the order, but efficiently speedy in delivery of the food, and she left me alone to eat in peace. Just like the start, the end was a bit Portlandy slow in getting the check, but at that point I was full of warm fish and potato and satisfied, and living in Portland has taught me a lot more patience.
I decided to go with haddock as my fish, though they also offer cod, red snapper, dover sole, and halibut. You can choose 2 or 3 pieces of fish to come on your plate. As per tradition, they have salt/pepper and malt vinegar on the table, but you can request a lemon wedge and tartar sauce also as an accompaniment. Since I was trying to settle some alcohol in my stomach, I also ordered the Bubble and Squeak.
What Fish and Chip Shop offers is simple but fresh in a clean minimalist atmosphere. The batter was light and fresh in taste, flaky crunchy and despite being a deep fried plate nothing tasted greasy. I wish the fries had been a little crisper, but they were hot and steamy and they definitely give plenty of them. You may want to think about adding a topper of brown gravy or curry sauceas if you are like me and are not much a fan for soaking them in the malt vinegar. Though really, they are going to charge $2 more for that as a side?
“Bubble and Squeak” is a side dish of creamy garlic and herb mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage and then grilled so it has a bit of crispy pancake like crust on the outside where it was slightly burned/seared. The dish gets its name from the sound it makes supposedly while it is cooking. I don’t know why this is not a more popular way of preparing mashed potatoes.
Would I say this is the best fish and chips in Portland? I’m not sure, fish & chips is a once in a long while indulgence, and I haven’t tried this dish at the other places that yelp ranked higher. It seems authentic though, like something you would be able to get exactly from wandering into any place in Britain that is adequate but not necessarily “The” fish and chip place all the British locals say is the best in town. Though executed well in the fryer, and as good as that light batter is, the fries didn’t stand up. Still, it hits the right spot just enough. I didn’t have any room, but they also offer Spotted Dick Pudding with Bird’s English custard. And various English soda. The onion rings another table ordered came in a heaping hot pile that also looked incredible and much better then the chips. I at least came out with one lesson learned: on an upcoming Thanksgiving I definitely see me making bubble and squeak in replacing the regular garlic mashed.