Chips. Chips? Yeah, chips. Everyone loves chips. And if you don’t, then no bother. More chips for us. The UK is good for chips. Our chips are always down, in a pool of ketchup, a blob of mayo, a steaming cup of curry sauce, or right at the bottom of the bag, all vinegar-sodden but crunchy. Chips are a unifier. They’re as vital a part of late nights, as they are la-dee-da meals, or lazy oven dinners. So it’s no wonder that London has all manner of chips - fat, thin, crispy, crisp-shaped - and these are the best.
Dionysus Kebab House
Dionysus’ chips make every other interpretation of ‘hand cut’ look and taste like they’ve been made by a pug using a slotted spoon. These babies, these are angular. They’re Tron chips. Sharp and crispy on the ends, but straight, fluffy and, remarkably, full of potato-tasting potato down the middle. In a world of glaring tattie imperfections, the freshly made creations from this legendary Greek kebab shop are very close. A special mention goes to their unapologetically tingly aioli as well.
Kaleidoscopic in looks and in flavour, Nandine’s beharat chips are definitely FAVS. You know, Fries As Vehicles. They’re golden, they’re crisp-ish, but it’s all about the stuff on top. The stuff in question - beharat spices, pink yoghurt, tamarind glaze, mint, and pomegranate seeds - hits all the marks: smoky, warm in spice, and sweet. Like most FAVS, these are best shovelled.
If you think that ordering chips in a restaurant that specialises in Chonqking noodles feels a little uncouth, then that’s fine. Totally fine. You’d be wrong of course, but it just means more lang-ya tu dou for the rest of us. Put it this way, outside of Mr. Potato Head solving the climate crisis, you won’t find a more impressive spud in London than these crinkle cut fried potatoes. Part crunchy, part soggy, but always charged with Sichuan pepper chilli oil, these are not chips off the old block.
There are a few ways a person or a place can really endear themselves to us. The first is by pouring an excellent and well-rested pint of Guinness, and the second is pairing said excellent and well-rested pint with a bowl of golden chips. The Guinea Grill nails both of these things. Their chips are triple-cooked in beef dripping - a description within the restaurant world that has fooled some diners into thinking they were about to eat a Tesla - but these are the real deal. A pub chip and chippy hybrid, they’re the perfect vehicle for salt, vinegar, and any colour sauce.
Fish Central - Possibly the freshest fish in London. Now that’s a tagline. Honest, frank and, like a letter from Coleen Rooney’s lawyers, absolutely watertight. We have a lot of time for this kind of straight talking approach, and we also have a lot of time for this old school restaurant’s chips. They’re fat, floury, and filling - whether drenched with vinegar in a bag for the road, or next to some matzo meal fried fish on a plate made to look Sylvanian-sized.
There are two things you should be doing around Maltby Street. One is having, at the very least, a glass of wine at 40 Maltby Street. Another is eating steak and chips from The Beefsteaks. These veterans of the London food market scene know their stuff, and the combination of perfectly pink hanger steak on a bed of not-too-thin-but-not-too-thick freshly made chips is always a winner. Especially with a load of béarnaise or chimichurri.
You can’t just be a restaurant with a ~mood~. Having a ~mood~ is indefinable and unattainable, unless you’ve, like, just got it. Quo Vadis has, and always will have, it. What ‘it’ is, we can’t tell you, but we can tell you that we have never left here less than merry thanks to a martini or a negroni or three, and a meal that has never not involved chips. Thin ones, fat ones, with two pots of ketchup and mayo, then a nap on the bus home.
Lucky Dog Chinese Restaurant
Salt and pepper chips are a gastronomic gift from the Chinese-Scouse community that increase your enjoyment of life exponentially. They’re chips, deep-fried, then stir-fried and soaked with chilli oil. It’s as glorious as it sounds. These ones, from Lucky Dog, feature dried Sichuan chillies, white onion, pepper, and shredded carrot. They’re best enjoyed on a Brick Lane doorstep, but just as good inhaled whilst walking, on the bus, or at home.
Every story needs conflict. And in the story of this guide to the best chips in London, the conflict comes in the form of Cora Pearl. Or specifically, in the shape of a confit potato chip. And, more specifically, whether debating the intricacies of a deep-fried carbohydrate actually matters in the grand scheme of things. Clearly not. While this restaurant’s chips look like an intricate reconstruction job - a foodstuff’s Frankenstein’s monster - the result is undeniable: complete and crunchy satisfaction.
The first time we went to Micky’s we arrived from the pub across the road (an incidentally lovely boozer) ten minutes too late. The fryers were gleaming, the little saveloy windows were empty, and there wasn’t a Pukka Pie in sight. But on top of the counter was a plump leftovers package. Compliments of the chippy. Haddock, fried chicken, and chips: some fat, some crispy, some soggy. All perfect. The fresh batch we came back for the next day was even better. The moral? You can’t put a price on a local chip shop as good as Micky’s.
While the fries are nothing earth shattering, it’s what’s on top of the mound that matters at Meatliquor. A mass of sweet and soft grilled onions, a load of zhuzhed up burger (or Dead Hippie) sauce. This is what they’d call a right bit of filth on Albert Square.
Not everything is made equally and the same goes for fish and chip shops. You’ll notice this as soon as you look at Fladda’s menu. Handmade steak and ale pie? Artisanal battered sausage? Homemade tartare sauce and, is that, anchovy mayo?! These are thoughtful rather than precious touches, and though the gnarled, crunch-heavy frying of their fish is more often better than their chips, that isn’t to say the latter is anything less than thoroughly enjoyable.
Blacklock is a founding member of the cult of the triple cooked chip. But unlike some, there is no fakery to its frying. These beef dripping chips are golden brown, their texture, their look, like sun. The ratio of bite to fluffiness, perfect. And most importantly, but never a given, is their seasoning. It’s a generous handful of salt plus a pinch more for luck, which is always the correct amount.