Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Golden Hind review - Marylebone Lane's Fish and Chips institution


Address: 73 Marylebone Lane,
London W1U 2PN
Tel: 020 7486 3644
Nearest Tube station:
Bond Street, Baker Street, Regents Park

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £10 pp
Service charge: N.A
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: **
This proves to be elusive as Wife and I have unsuccessfully tried to coincide our schedule with its lunch and dinner hours a couple of times before and even ended up dining elsewhere before (read Tomoe). So we were in Marylebone last week and decided to pop in Golden Hind for a quick late lunch just before it closes at 3pm for its afternoon break.

Fish n’ Chips would be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the English favourite (and some say national) dish. This dish that comprises of a deep fried battered fish fillet and some fat chips have come a long way from its humble origins. These days, it can be found in your local chippy where it’s served ‘opened’ or ‘closed’ for under a fiver, a pub where its downed with a pint of your favourite brew, chippy stands standing next to tourist attractions making a quick buck by offering visitors ‘a taste of London’ at a premium no doubt, and even fancy restaurants where a thick (and relatively tiny) battered piece goes for a whopping fifteen quid upwards.

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Golden Hind is a different thing altogether. Set up in 1914 (not the most auspicious of years), it’s one of those specialist fish and chips shop that survived and became an institution in itself. Its simple décor, wooden furniture and almost grease free air (and floor too) made for the most unlikely chippy.

Expecting a less flattering pricing, I was pleasantly surprised by its rather reasonable prices. Cod, haddock and plaice fillets are unambiguously divided into small or big portions. The smaller portions costing around a fiver each do not come with accompanying chips or peas. Those have to be ordered separately.

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Service was pleasant and prompt and the customers were mostly (if not all) locals rather than tourists who know exactly what they want on the menu. There was customer who got a bit difficult towards the end of our meal: “Can I have a plate?”, “Can I have a fork?”, “Can I have more sauces?” – each request made only after the waitress complied with the earlier one, without so much as a word of thanks. Credit to be given to the waitress, she responded to each promptly with a wide smile on her face. Perhaps it’s such little gestures that got people coming back again and again.

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My small cod turned out to be larger than I thought. With its exterior ever so slightly crispy, the fillet tasted somewhat boiled. As a result of which, its juices was remained and that set itself apart from the fare that we are accustomed to in our local chippies.

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Its chips (£1.70) came unsalted and was a bit limp with its interior slightly mushy. Its mushy peas (£1) however, was subtly minted and with good consistency.

I couldn’t help comparing Golden Hind with Sole Plaice just off Covent Garden. Sole Plaice is literally packed with tourists totting Lonely Planet. While I’m sure Golden Hind is probably featured in some travel guides, its relatively secluded location means that tourist dollars wouldn’t be its main income source. But if Sole Plaice is tourist pleasing, what Golden Hind offers is decent, honest food at a reasonable price.

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3 comments:

Su-Lin said...

The chips are a bit sad... :( But at least the fish looks good!

Mr Noodles said...

Having spent the first 21 years of my life in the north of England, I have to say fish and chips in London just don't cut it for me. Mind you, it's just about the one food that is better in the north! Oh and there's no place for mint in mushy peas.

C K said...

@Su-Lin,
They do, don't they? They tasted 'home cooked' if you know what I mean.

@Mr Noodles,
I don't know whether that's mint but it sure tasted like that to me!