The Golden Chippy
My head is turned by many things. The twinkle of a stream as it sparkles down a mountainside. The glow of a single, shimmering star on a cloudy night. The song of a unseen bird as it flits between the trees of a cool, shaded wood. In this particular case it was a tub of puce-pink petunias balanced precariously on top of a bollard.
There is a corner of Greenwich which is forever Golden. The Golden Cafe, The Golden Vineyard and the Golden Chippy form a little row of er, maroon shops in Greenwich High Road, opposite yet another building site which is squeezed in next to the waterworks and that new restaurant.
In fact I had intended to review Bar 57 – and I will, I promise, very soon. But sometimes a Phantom just has one of those fish-and-chip moments. This was one of them.
It really was the magnificent floral display that did it. A whole bunch of sundry pots and tubs filled up with bedding plants and arranged artistically on the ground next to a distinctly wobbly aluminium table and chairs. Can’t have cost them more than a few quid – but that wasn’t the point. I was particularly taken with the glowy-bollard with the Petunia hat. Sorry. Fish and Chips won out over fancy new paintwork and a pool-table sign.
I like The Golden Chippy. They’re friendly – slightly on the wacky side, but really – in a good way – and they have all the things you remember about childhood fish suppers. The collection of greasy newspapers to read while you’re waiting, the giant sauce bottles, the ‘classic’ selection of fish which they cook to order.
On this particular occasion, to celebrate the petunias, I wanted to sit outside and enjoy everything that Greenwich High Road in summer can provide. We sat back with our copy of The Express and read all about the terrible things that are going on in the world, most of which seemed to have something to do with Fergie.
“Let me know if you want more chips,” said the guy as he brought out the most enormous plates of cod and chips I’d ever seen. A kind, but probably futile gesture – there was no way I was going to get through that lot, let alone need more. I’d only ordered the ‘standard’ fish option – heaven only knows what the supersize version would have been.
You know, folks, I do like all these fancy beer-batter dishes you get in places like The Trafalgar and the Yacht. Really I do – I had an excellent one in The Hill just a few days ago. But sometimes, just a plain, straightforward honest-to-goodness crispy batter to no special recipe is just the ticket – and that’s what you get here. Dark golden fish, ever so slightly greasy, moist insides and good, honest-cut chips.
Actually, I did finish my chips. I was brought up to clear my plate and Phantom Mum was watching over my shoulder. I sat there at a wobbly table in the middle of Greenwich High Road, surrounded by petunias, scoffing chips smothered in red sauce. What better way to spend an evening?
So. The moral of the story. If you want a Phantom Visit, install some cheap bedding plants outside your place. I am just a moth to a flame…
(Sadly I didn’t have my camera, so I don’t have any pics of the plants. You’ll just have to go yourself.)