Last night my husband went out on his work Christmas do, leaving me completely unsupervised for an entire evening. With the world being my oyster, I clearly took the opportunity for a wild night of debauchery: I had a bath, put my pyjamas on, and watched three episodes of Downton Abbey (only one left to watch - does the deliciously arch and amusingly debased Lady Mary marry cousin Matthew? Will the girl who used to be in Corrie finally get to kiss the man with the dodgy leg?)
So anyway, I clearly required some form of sustenance to get me through my night of excess, and found the wherewithal in the freezer to rustle up some fish and chips. And very nice it was too. Yet I couldn't help sadly reflecting that if I were not so lazy, and not clad in Paddington Bear pyjamas, I could have had proper fish and chips from a chip shop. Here are the places I wish I could have called upon, my current favourite chippies in Manchester:
5. Harry Ramsdens. They do takeout, so I am allowed to include it here (and anyway, it's my blog - take your mutterings elsewhere). When I first moved to Manchester, back in the late 1920s, this is the place my parents used to take me whenever they were visiting their errant daughter in her new hometown. The one that we used to go to, in Salford, has gone now, but my memories live on: having a pint of beer with my dad in the bar before lunch; the long-since-binned ex-boyfriend who completed the Harry Ramsdens challenge (seemingly to consume a piece of fish the size of a sideboard without throwing it back up, or actually suffering a stomach rupture) and was photographed afterwards, holding up his certificate and looking slightly queasy.
4. Didsbury Fish Bar. This has been on School Lane for as long as anyone can remember, a particularly cruel location for me, as I have to walk past it whenever I go into or out of Didsbury. And it always smells great. Luckily, if you consume fish and chips whilst walking briskly home, you may get indigestion but you actually won't imbibe a single calorie - FACT. (I think.)
3. Frankie's Fish Bar. A relative newcomer, this glamorous little eatery in West Didsbury is actually the favourite of both my husband and my cat, who have been known to share a fish supper from there when I have abandoned them for the night (but again, MY blog, so back-off cat-face). They do both take-out and eat-in, but as one of the two customers is a cat, my husband has never been allowed the eat-in option for obvious reasons.
2. The Battered Cod. A shock second place for this long-time favourite, with local branches in Fallowfield and Withington. These are cunning locations, as anyone who has been a student in Manchester will have spent three years of their life alternating between fish & chips from the Battered Cod and a chicken kebab from Abdul's (a varied diet is SO important), and will never quite be able to wean themselves off it - me being a case in point.
1. Fosters Fish and Chips. With branches in Alderley Edge and Didsbury, Fosters have brazenly snatched the top spot based largely on the following evidence:
- the fish and chips are great and come in portion sizes that would fell a hungry bear
- their website uses heading such as "Our Plaices" and "For the Halibut"; no further justification needed for this point surely
- and perhaps most importantly, Kath has confirmed - I have it in black and white on Twitter - that she will give me a discount if I turn up in my pyjamas. No mention as of yet whether there are free mushy peas available for those sporting furry slippers and wildly unkempt hair, but here's hoping....