The spring thaw and dreary weather in March evokes delicious memories I have from the days I used to spend chasing my punk rock dreams in London while stuffing my face at fish and chip shops in the name of anarchy. Ok, I wasn’t punk, nor did I live in London, but I do love fish and chips and will go out of my way to find some…
Fish and chip shops (or “chippers” as they’re know in English slang) aren’t as common on this side of the pond, but there are a few spots who represent well the timeless British dish.
One of the places that set the standard of Montreal’s pub grub scene is McKibbin’s Irish Pub. Through my hazy university years, this place was the fine purveyor of endless pints and awesome beer battered haddock fillets, fresh hand-cut Yukon Gold chips and amazing homemade tartar sauce. Now with various locations, students all over the city will know the wonders of study breaks filled with baskets of golden fried deliciousness and making class naps more rewarding.
Pub Burgundy Lion is an old fashioned British pub that exudes Montreal flare and refinement and is located in the trendy Griffintown district of the city. A place that opens up on weekends at 7am to accommodate the English Premiere League faithful is my kind of place. Their fish and chips feature a different fish every month with its own unique batter – the month of March saw a unique zander-with-habanero-peach batter.
With the success of their creative fish and chip platters, the team behind Burgundy Lion started their own offshoot “chippy”: Brit and Chips. Brit and chips (various locations) stepped up the fish and chip game by offering five different kinds of fish, each with their own unique batter: haddock (sweet maple syrup batter), cod (house batter), salmon (Guiness batter) and hake (orange crush batter. They also offer an ingenious vegetarian option that replaces fish with haloumi that’s fried with a spicy chipotle batter. Served in nostalgic tin dishes lined with kitschy faux newspaper, this nod to the past is definitely the secret ingredient to a fine fried fish and chip meal.
Comptoir 21, a distinct Montreal joint, is a humble fish and chip shop that started in the Mile-End neighbourhood of the city and has recently added a second shop to the name. Initially named after the counter-style seating of the original restaurant and the number of seats, this place has become synonymous with awesome fish and chips instead of the layout of the restaurant. Comptoir 21 fries their classic white fish in a light and fluffy batter that hugs the fish without weighing it down. Comptoir 21’s unique Montreal spin on fish and chips includes the choice of six homemade sauces to accompany your dish and giving the option of adding cheese curds and gravy on top of your chips to make a poutine.
Photos by Jason Lee (Comptoir 21, Brit and Chips)
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