Widely regarded as our national dish, there is something incredibly comforting about succulent fish covered in crispy batter and served with chunky chips.
With gravy, mushy peas, curry sauce, or lashings of vinegar – no matter how you like to eat it, you’ll never forget a tasty chippy tea.
We’ve enjoyed our fair share of Friday night suppers at our local takeaway, so I’ve been intrigued to experience an upmarket chippy tea at the largest fish and chip shop restaurant in Blackpool – Papas.
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Situated on the corner of Church Street and the Promenade, Papas moved into the former Latin American-themed Las Iguanas restaurant – which was Burger King prior to that – last year.
It’s a prime spot on the Golden Mile for any restaurateur worth their salt – so having grown into a chain of 10 outlets since being founded in 1966, Papas is certainly proving that.
The firm is owned by brothers Dino and George Papas with their father Sid, who have their own secret recipe for batter.
They’ve even sent a portion of haddock and chips into space using a specially designed weather balloon launched from SentIntoSpace in Sheffield.
So, was our visit out of this world?
This is without a doubt the fine dining of chippy teas.
The black and white decor, floor to ceiling windows and prominent bar area give a classy look to the venue, while staff are dressed as smartly as you’d expect in a high end restaurant.
It was a scorching hot day when we visited as a family of six, and clearly the sunshine had attracted a throng of daytrippers who were keen to finish their visit with ‘Britain’s best fish and chips’ (as voted in a BBC show searching for the best takeaway in 2017).
We’d booked ahead, and were relieved we had as there was a queue out of the door to get inside. A good sign.
Friendly staff showed us to a comfortable circular booth area where we could watch with astonishment the fast pace of the workings of the kitchen that was turning out everything from seafood sharing platters to the haddock challenge which sees brave souls tackling a huge piece of fried fish and mountain of chips to win a ‘I’m the papa’ t-shirt.
We opted for starters to share and main courses.
Honey drizzled battered halloumi (£4.99) and calamari strips dusted in a light breadcrumb (£5.49) were melt-in-the-mouth appetizers.
Both were served with fresh salad garnishes. Salad in a chippy is a new one on me – but that’s just the point. This is not your average chippy.
This is the type of chippy where you can upgrade your chips to sweet potato fries; you’re not limited to choosing between cod or haddock (there’s plaice, skate wing and even ‘tofish’ tofu on the menu); and you can enjoy a beer or even a cocktail with your fish and chips.
For our main courses, the children chose fish, chicken nuggets and sausages with chips while the hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed our haddock covered with a layer of thin, crispy batter, served with mushy peas and thick, tasty gravy.
The portions were generous and eagerly devoured.
And a walk on the promenade was the perfect finale for our fine dining chippy tea experience.