The Little Chippy, Sanctuary Lakes Shopping Centre, Point Cook. Phone: 7379 7065
Is there a word for what happens when restaurants tart up old-school food?
Hipsterised, yuppified, gentrified – like that, but meant specifically for food?
I enjoy eating in pleasant surroundings, but the CTS ethos holds that our dining experiences are about the food and the people who make it, with daylight between them and the likes of decor, ambience and on-trend.
But there is one of our fave kinds of food where the opposite is true.
We love new-school fish and chips.
We like the crisp, shiny places; we like the effort that is made with salads and the like; we love that often there is a variety of fish and other seafood available, matched by different methods of having it cooked.
And we absolutely love that such places tend to operate as restaurants proper – and that means tables, chairs, and crockery and cutlery of the non-plastic variety.
We have no interest in revisiting the “good old days” of fish and chips.
But for some people, that does hold appeal.
And a sub-set of such people involves those for whom old-school fish and chips ideally have a particularly British bent.
The Little Chippy could’ve been created for them.
It’s old-school from the ground up.
Mind you, half the menu (see below) is dedicated to burgers and the like.
But the other half of the food list tells the story.
No potato cakes or dimmies here.
But there is curry sauce and mushy peas and battered sausages.
The place is done out in minimalist takeaway style, with in-house eating restricted to pozzies available at the window bench and its tall stools.
Oddly, the servery and prep area is obstructed from customer view.
I’m not sure what that’s about – we all love watching our food prepared; it almost seems like part of the admission price.
But I’m definitely up for giving it a go!
And if that’s the case, I am may as well go whole hog.
So I order the North Atlantic cod with chips ($16), with a tub of Little Chippy’s coleslaw ($3) on the side.
It’s been a long time since I settled in for a fish-and-chip feed wrapped in paper!
I like the chips – there’s plenty of them and they’re defiantly old-fashioned and a long ways from shoestring fries and beer-battered chips.
Well, it’s a mixed bag.
I can tell just by looking at it that there are going to be problems.
I’m right – sure enough, as soon as I try to pick it up, it falls apart into several different pieces, with some of them losing their batter in the process.
I’m unsure if this is a characteristic of this particular fish species, or if it’s something to do with the fact that as an import, it’s presumably been frozen.
Whatever its cause, it’s not something I want to see in my fried fish and detracts from my enjoyment.
The fish, however, is very nice indeed – mild of flavour, well cooked and with just the right amount of al dente meatiness.
The surprise of my meal is the coleslaw.
What looks like a regulation version of the gloopy and over-dressed takeaway joint salads found the length and breadth of the land turns out to be superb – fresh, crunchy, a little on the lovely salty side and a bargain at $3.
I can understand the attraction Brit-style F&C has for some people.
But we’ll be sticking to new-school.