Rock & Sole Plaice is a bona-fide London institution. Since 1871, they’ve been serving up fish & chips to the hungry punters of Covent Garden, who may have changed dramatically in demographic, but have lost none of the appetite for the nation’s favourite meal.
As well as the constant flow of tourists, theatrical types, and Londoners in the know, it’s got its fair share of famous fans too, from the nation’s grandad, Michael Portillo, to the nation’s daddy, Idris Elba, both of whom left glowing reviews after visiting.
It’s coming up to 35 years under the current ownership and ahead of their celebrations, we were invited along by QX covergirl Al Pillay, aka Lanah P, who ranks this chippy as her favourite in the UK. She’s from Grimbsy you see, so she definitely knows what she’s talking about.
It definitely is a step above your standard vinegar-drenched scampi and pukka pie fare. Inside, it’s a cosy old-school décor with tiled walls and chalkboards, but on the menu, there are all sorts of speciality fish that you rarely find anywhere else. My boyfriend had skate, which was meaty and thick (skate, not bf). In turn, I ordered lemon sole, which was the opposite, all light and fluffy. The chips in turn were absolutely huge, more like potato bricks, and will be a treat for anyone who much prefers fat British chippy chips in comparison to those skinny, sad-looking, continental fries. *starts singing Rule Britannia*
Fish & chips come with a bit of reputation of being overly oily and stodgy, but it couldn’t be further from the truth here. They only use a light, crispy batter rather than heavier breading, so you avoid the greasy outer layer you find in chicken shops, which, granted, is great sometimes, but not all the time. After our fish here, we didn’t leave feeling completely weighed down, which is pretty high praise considering how much of the menu we got through. As well as their staple, the menu also has a range of other deep-fried treats, such as camembert, calamari, and king prawns the size of a baby’s arm.
If you’re ever in Central London and craving generous portions of homely food, then you can’t go far wrong with Rock & Sole Plaice. And to commemorate 35 years of ownership at London’s premier chippy, they’re dropping their prices back to 1980’s level on 17th & 18th May, so bags of chips will be flying out the fryer for only 10p a bag!
You can find Rock and Sole Plaice at 45-49 Endell Street, WC2H 9AJ. www.rockandsoleplaice.com