Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool, review: It’s Illuminations season so we tried some fish and chips before our trip down the Lights

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It’s that time of year – the woollen jumpers are back at the front of the wardrobe after spending their summer break lurking in a crumpled, abandoned mess.

We’ve got cosy bed socks, mugfuls of warming soup, and even the thought of switching on the central heating (still resisting, however) on our minds.

It can only mean one thing – it’s Illuminations season.

For as soon as the bright Lights of Blackpool are switched on in all their glory, the temperatures begin to dip as autumn starts.

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Harry Ramsden's, BlackpoolHarry Ramsden's, Blackpool
Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool

It’s a wonderful time to enjoy the six miles of traditional festoons, tableaux and interactive features along the Promenade.

And with the World Fireworks Championships already underway this month, there’s even more to delight in.

With this in mind, we decided to try the one delicacy which is also synonymous with Blackpool – fish and chips.

If you’re watching the fireworks from the Comedy Carpet before a tram ride through the Illuminations, then there are lots of town centre options for this traditional hearty supper.

To batter or not to batter? -  that is the questionTo batter or not to batter? -  that is the question
To batter or not to batter? - that is the question

We haven’t eaten at the Harry Ramsden's restaurant on the prom since it opened in 2016.

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It was great back then so we thought we’d see if it’s still up to scratch.

Sitting in the shadows of Blackpool Tower – in fact, exactly where the famous Tower Lounge used to be – the decor inside is marine-themed with rope lighting and turquoise colours to evoke the mystique of our coastal waters.

The restaurant is designed with a large number of booths, and, by chance, the waitress took us to the exact booth we’d sat in years ago.

Children's fish bites mealChildren's fish bites meal
Children's fish bites meal

The main difference we spotted straight away is the influence of the digital era.

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While you can go up to the bar to place your order with a member of staff, there are now QR codes at the top of each menu which allow you to order your food from your phone.

It’s the way of modern life now – and some might say they prefer it – but I like the personal touch of ordering at the table.

Anyway, onto the food, which (with drinks) came to £71 for a family of five.

Adult jumbo sausages mealAdult jumbo sausages meal
Adult jumbo sausages meal

There’s plenty of choice (from chicken burgers to Greek salad) if not everyone in your party is a fish and chip lover.

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There are also starters like halloumi bites and frickles – panko coated, fried pickles in case you’re wondering.

We went traditional and chose off the ‘chippy’ menu.

Our son picked the adult jumbo sausages (two) with chips and gravy (£10.69).

His older sister chose the same but with her favourite curry sauce instead of the thick, velvety smooth gravy.

Our youngest – now four-year-old – chose the kid’s fishbites meal with chips, baked beans and apple juice (£7.99) while the hubby went large and opted for the battered cod, chips and mushy peas (£16.99).

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Large cod, chips and mushy peas at Harry Ramsden's, BlackpoolLarge cod, chips and mushy peas at Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool
Large cod, chips and mushy peas at Harry Ramsden's, Blackpool

Brilliantly crispy batter (no grease here), the chips were fluffy inside with a light, crispy coating and thick, tasty peas – perfection.

I chose the small cod and same sides (£14.99) – but with a twist.

While I enjoy the golden batter fresh out of the fryer, when I noticed the chefs offer to ditch the batter and poach the fish instead, I gave it a go.

The result was a succulent, firm yet moist piece of fish that was just as tasty as the hubby’s version.

Hats off to the chefs who proved they’re worth their salt (and vinegar).