The story of how Chip+Fish on the Balcony at Westfield London came to be is a rather amusing one. Starting life as Croque Gascon, a casual, fast food outpost of 1 Michelin Star Farringdon establishment Club Gascon, and its sister bistro Comptoir Gascon, it served classic French dishes such as rillette and cassoulet, alongside a very respectable duck burger topped with foie gras. In a venue not exactly replete with quality dining options, Croque Gascon provided a presentable meal, living up to its tagline of "French.Fast.Good". Sadly, it did not attract much favour from the Westfield patrons, eventually necessitating a change of tact a couple of years ago and a reinvention as Chip+Fish, a traditional fish & chip shop. By all accounts, it is now doing a roaring trade but one can't help but wonder if Monsieur Pascal Aussignac, the man behind the Gascon brand is a bit indignant at having to resort to serving the most basic of products - battered fish, to turn a profit. I certainly got a "When I signed up to work for a Michelin-starred chef, I wasn't exactly expecting to be deep-frying fish all day" vibe from the French lady who served me. Anyway, I digress.
I had a Line caught east atlantic cod fillet in batter, which came with mushy peas, either salad or chips (chips for me, of course), and one sauce - any additional sauces charged at 20p. Charging extra for sauces always annoys me, but never mind. The chips were just okay - no better, no worse; the mushy peas were quite decent; and the cod - well that was pretty good actually, with a light, airy batter that was let down only by the fact that it was applied too thickly in certain parts. It wasn't the best battered fish I've had in town - that's still Kerbisher & Malt, and Geales, but it was light years ahead of some of the old-fashioned, unfathomably high-rated, chippies such as Golden Hind, Rock & Sole Plaice and Seashell at Lisson Grove.
One final point to make - when you request tartare as your one included sauce, you get a packet of Heinz's finest. I mean, seriously?! C'mon, show some pride - make your own tartare sauce for crying out loud!
In a nutshell...
So, despite its, dare I say, reluctant origins, this was actually a rather reasonable fish & chip meal - comfortably mid-table in London. But I'm docking it a point for dishing out packet tartare sauce - no self-respecting fish & chip outlet should do that!
Westfield London Shopping Centre, Ariel Way, Shepherd’s Bush, London, W12 7GB
Average Price: £10