The Fish & Chip Shop on Upper Street, Islington, has been renamed as Vintage Salt – and vintage is the optimum word as the quality remains high
As a youngster, Fridays were always fish and chips night, sometimes home-cooked, sometimes from the local chippy. It signalled the start of the weekend and the whole family got involved, so as a result I find something rather comforting about eating fried fish. Everything about Vintage Salt – the newly named reincarnation of what was Des McDonald’s The Fish & Chip Shop – screams comfort too, so I was in good hands.
The design remains very diner-esque – although I have not done so yet, I love the fact you can sit around the bar and have your dinner. We were seated in one of the leather-clad booths towards the back of Vintage Salt, which has real sink-into-ability (a made up word, but the only one that does it justice). Vintage Salt certainly makes full use of what’s not a particularly spacious spot, and there’s something rather quirky about the creaky, winding staircase to head up to the toilets.
Despite the name change, the same team are involved behind the scenes, but the menu has had a tasty update. After wolfing down some crusty ancient loaf (word of warning – it’s filling), I opted for another reminder of my childhood in the shape of the Scotched hen’s egg and piccalilli (although this was a step above my hard boiled version), whereas my guest went for the harissa spiced mackerel, the hot taste beautifully countered by the gooseberry pickle.
The main for me had to be another of those old favourites, the humble scampi, along with salted chips and mushy peas. The dish didn’t shirk on the scampi, and dipping the hunks of crustacean into the mushy green delight was a real pleasure. Opposite me, the shrimp burger caused issues with the amount that was slotted into the bun, but the mess was more than worth it,
Somehow I forced myself to gorge on some sticky toffee pudding (yes, another childhood favourite), whilst the rather more sensible ice-cream and sorbets proved to be a fitting finale for my guest. I loved this plaice – sorry – when it first opened and it’s good to see a name change hasn’t affected the quality. Vintage Salt – thanks for the memories.
Words: Mark Kebble
189 Upper Street N1 1RQ; 020 3227 0979; vintagesalt.co.uk