A chippy tea with all the fixings is one of the best dinners to come home to.
Whether you like yours with salt and vinegar, tartar sauce, or lashings of mushy peas, gravy or curry sauce, you can’t beat a proper fish and chips Oldham’s Tommyfield Market claims to be the home of Britain’s first fried chip, where the popular potato product was allegedly first created in 1860.
So it’s fitting that three of Greater Manchester’s favorite chippies were named among the top 50 in the country. Clearly the only reaction to that is to go and test them, right?
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The first stop of the week was Chips @ No.8 in Clifton Road, Prestwich. Tucked away off the main road it’s slightly more tricky to find than the other two, but a pay and display car park across the road is very helpful for anyone looking to grab their dinner.
I arrived at quarter past five on Saturday evening, just 15 minutes after they opened for the night, and there was already a queue of people out the door waiting to order. It’s clearly a very popular place and was the busiest of the week.
After placing my order for a mini fish and chips, two battered sausages, a portion of chips, a pot of gravy and a deep fried creme egg (how could you resist?) I handed over £ 11.50 and took a raffle ticket used to indicate my order number.
There were ten people ahead of me waiting for their dinner so I found a spot in the corner and tried not to get too jealous watching a group of teenagers tucking in to a delicious smelling meal. After around 15 minutes my food was ready so I took it back to the car and headed home for the taste test.
Straight away I was very happy with the presentation of the food. Chips @ No.8 offers eco-friendly packaging, with all parts either recyclable or compostable.
As I’m not a fish fan, it was down to my partner to try the fish this week, and he was very impressed with the presentation of the meal, loving the wedge of lemon served alongside the mini fish and chips – which was the perfect portion size for my partner who had also elected to have a battered sausage with his tea.
All the food was very tasty and extremely well priced, with the chips nice and crispy. None of it was overly greasy, a surprising feat for a battered sausage, and the dishes had traveled very well, avoiding the messy potato clump that some chips from a chippy can turn into after they’ve been packaged.
The fish was well-cooked, flaking apart with a light and crispy batter that kept my partner happy despite not being able to get the fishcake he wanted. Surprisingly, the deep fried Creme Egg stole the show for me, adding the perfect sweet option with a taste that reminded me of chocolate-dipped churros.
Next on our list was The Fish at Goose Green on Clapgate Lane in Wigan. This time I ordered online through Just Eat as the shop had fishcakes and I thought it would be easier to order in advance.
At £ 12.85, the meal was still quite reasonable and pretty comparable to the first meal of the week, with a small portion of fish, chips, and mushy peas with a fishcake for my partner, and a sausage and chips with gravy for myself.
I arrived a few minutes early, easily found a parking space outside the shop, and waited a few short minutes for my order to be ready. As it was around 7pm on a weekday, being the only one waiting wasn’t too unusual but it did make it difficult to compare how popular the two shops were.
When I got my food home, I was slightly disappointed with myself to find my journey back had impacted the incredible food, with the batter on the fish going slightly soggy from the steam. The packaging wasn’t as attractive as Chips @ No.8 but each item was well-packed individually.
The small fish and chips were presented with the fish on a bed of mushy peas which was very impressive, but hadn’t helped with the poor traveling issue as the peas helped the bottom of the fish batter go soggy. However, the fish was very flaky and tasty and the food was very tasty – with thick chip shop gravy.
Unfortunately, I found a slightly undercooked chip in my portion which put a bit of a dampener on my meal, but was overall very impressed with the quality and taste of the food. My partner said his fish di lui would have been perfect for ordering to eat whilst out and about in the area so there was no time for the mushy peas to hamper the crispiness of the batter.
The final stop of the week was The Little Chippy in Elliott Street, Tyldesley and once again I ordered online to save waiting for the fishcake. At £ 14 for the “Lite Bite meal” – a half fish with chips and mushy peas, fishcake, and a battered sausage. chips, and gravy, this was the most expensive meal of the week but still a very reasonable price.
I ordered our meal and found a spot to park along the busy road before popping into the shop – the most traditional chippy I’d visited that week. The staff were all very friendly, with the best atmosphere of the three shops, and I left with my food all packaged up for me.
Once home we discovered the food was all well-packaged and had traveled very well, with extremely crispy chips absolutely perfect for dipping in sauce. I opted to order my sausage, chips and gravy separately rather than in the meal so the gravy wouldn’t ruin the crisp of the chips on the way home and it was definitely the correct decision for someone who loves the crunch.
My partner said this was the best fish of the week, even though the batter was less crispy than Chips @ No.8, with the flavor and flakiness really knocking it out of the park for him. The batter around the sausage was incredible and the gravy was very tasty, making an extremely pleasant meal.
Although the sausage was a little greasier than the first one of the week, it was still surprisingly grease-free for a stick of meat deep-fried in batter and left me wanting to save a bite for the end of my meal to savor the taste .
My partner was a little disappointed when he found a bone in his fish – the first of the week – but unfortunately there will always be a risk of small bones making their way onto your plate when it comes to fish so he didn’t let it ruin his meal.
Ultimately, we both decided that Chips @ No.8 was our favorite meal of the week due to the crispiness of the items and overall taste. The deep fried Creme Egg also definitely helped the rankings.
The Little Chippy and The Fish at Goose Green were both close runners-up, giving us a wonderfully tasty meal that was perhaps unfairly marred by two small issues that may be one-time problems.
All three shops would definitely be worth another visit if we were in the area – and I would even be willing to make return trips to Prestwich for the wonderful fish and chips on offer at Chips @ No.8, although the trip to Wigan and back might be a little too far, even for chips that good.