For those of us who love fish and chips there’s probably more chance of ordering from your local than venturing too far for your next fix.
But from what I have learned during lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic in general, is sometimes, uncovering what else is around you locally can prove wonders for your palate.
Take last weekend for example. I was craving fish and chips but wanted to try somewhere else within my local area. I had heard rave reviews about Sea Salt and Sole, and after finding out they were in Fry Magazine’s Top 50 chippers in the UK, I thought it was about time to try them out.
I had high expectations and wanted to be impressed. With two shops, one based in Bridge of Don and one in Dyce near the train station, I decided to revisit my old stomping ground in Bridge of Don as it was ever so slightly closer.
We headed online, as most of us do nowadays, to book a slot for collection and browse the menu offering. The usual’s were all present; fish and chips, battered sausage, pies and scampi, with a few other dishes thrown in, too. Some of the items had been removed due to the premises running a limited takeaway menu, but there was still plenty of choice.
I decided to spruce up my usual battered haddock and opted for the panko crumb. My other half picked out the katsu chicken fillets. We were peckish so we made them suppers, and also added a portion of scampi into the mix, too, which I believe is local fisherman Jimmy Buchan’s scampi.
Ordering was simple. You chose what you wanted, selected a collection time and paid online.
We gave ourselves plenty of time between ordering and collecting to drive over, which was only a 15-minute drive. There was a table out the front of the chipper set up for customers to collect their meals from. My boyfriend went over to collect the order and the service was very slick and quick. He was back in the car in no time and we were scooting down the drive.
The smell coming from the branded paper bag was phenomenal, and inside the branded boxes were staring at me.
We plated up immediately when we got in and my other half grabbed the essential sauce (tomato ketchup in our household) and some extra sea salt and vinegar – just in case we needed it.
The boxes everything came in had kept the food warm so we didn’t need to microwave anything. The Katsu chicken fillets looked huge and were smothered in the katsu sauce. I couldn’t believe how many there actually were and they were so chunky. He scooped each one out of the container lining them up and then emptied his chips onto the other side. All I could see was his grin and a mountain of food.
My panko crumb fish and chips was equally as hefty a portion. I’d ordered a side of mushy peas too and was starting to worry me had bitten off more than we could chew – especially with the portion of scampi on top of everything else.
Nonetheless we got stuck in. My fish was perfectly cooked and light and fluffy inside. The haddock tore away and the panko crumb was thick without being too dense. It added a slight crunch to each forkful and the portion size of the fish was considerably big in comparison to other local chippers I have tried. It took up half of my plate, teetering over the edges. I’d squeezed the wedge of lemon it came served with over for a citrus finish.
The chips were cooked to perfection and had been fried twice. There were small crunchy ones and the big long ones were soft and fluffy inside with a good skin of fried potato on the outside. They were proper chipper chips and there was a generous amount to go alongside both the hearty fish and chicken fillets.
The peas were every so slightly salty which was a shame, however it was a big portion and was more than enough for the two of us.
My boyfriend’s chicken fillets were outstanding and the showstopper of the meal. I have never wanted to ditch a haddock supper for anything else until now, and that is saying a lot as the haddock I had was one of the best suppers I’ve tied.
The six succulent fillets were just gorgeous with the chicken cooked excellently. But it was the sauce which stole the show. Spicy, it was punchier than other katsu sauces I have tasted and was thick and lathered all over. Fresh, sliced red chillies featured, as did chopped spring onion on top, adding to the Asian flavours usually noted with katsu. Sesame seeds topped it all off and provided a subtle chewy crunch, too.
The scampi side also came with a wedge of lemon and there was nine pieces of scampi to fight over. They were juicy and battered making giving them a light crunch while ensuring the inside was soft. I dipped them and my fish into the homemade tartare sauce I’d ordered for a real authentic chipper experience. As far as I am aware the scampi is Jimmy Buchan’s Amity Fish Company‘s premium scampi.
My dining partner had tried the garlic mayo and was rather impressed with it using his chips to lap it all up.
On Sea Salt and Sole’s website it outlined that majority of the fish and produce was caught, landed or sourced locally, which I really enjoyed. I also noted the quality of the food which not only shows just how good the produce is the shop is using, but the craftsmanship behind ensuring it is cooked well.
Sea Salt and Sole has more than certainly delivered. I was incredibly impressed with this chipper’s offering as it is so easy to produce greasy, flavourless food when it comes to depending on fryers.
The flavours were not lacking in any form and the quality of the produce was apparent, especially for the fish, scampi and chicken.
I’m shocked it has taken me so long to order from this venue and I am very much looking forward to trying out one of their specialty pies – especially one with pulled pork in it. There’s a whole range of different dishes and there’s children’s portions and smaller portions available for elderly customers, too, if the don’t feel like they can stomach a full meal.
If you haven’t already tried one of the UK’s top 50 fish and chip shops then I urge you to now. If your meal is anything like mine you won’t regret it, that I can rest assure you.
Address: Bridge of Don – Unit 5 Jesmond Dive, Bridge of Don, Aberdeen AB22 8UR or Dyce – Station Road, Dyce, Aberdeen AB21 7BA.
Orders can be place directly via the website at www.seasaltandsole.co.uk. Both venues are open Wednesday to Sunday from 4pm to 8pm for collection. Social distancing is in place at the venues and masks must be worn when collecting orders.