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Published May 24th 2021
Fish & Chips English-style in Otley
Ask any Englishman what his top five favourite meals are and I guarantee 'fish and chips' will make an appearance 99% of the time.
Let's take a step back and see why fish and chips became so popular in the UK? It was said in the 19th century, fish and chips became a stock meal among the working classes in England as a consequence of the rapid development of trawl fishing in the North Sea. The development of railways, which connected the ports to major industrial cities during the second half of the 19th century, allowed for fresh fish to be rapidly transported to the heavily populated areas around the country (Wikipedia)... and so began the UK's love of fish and chips.
Maypole Fisheries is one such restaurant in the city of Otley, West Yorkshire, that is known as one of the best fish and chips venues in Leeds.
I have the pleasure of walking up to Maypole when I was in my husband's home town of Otley, as it is not far from his family home, to indulge in this English ritual. I had heard rave reviews about Maypole (formally known as Ballingers) from the immediate family who had advised it was the best in town. I had heard people had come far and wide to taste these award-winning fish and chips.
A swift walk up and we were at the chippy. On first impression, it was tidy, clean and had a fabulous smell wafting out the doors of fresh haddock and chips. I noticed that there was seating available inside which I was told can be booked for large parties. Maypole Fisheries also offer gift vouchers for every discerning fish connoisseur, a perfect birthday or Christmas idea if the recipient lives locally.
Exterior @ Maypole Fisheries (Photo by Praneel Lal-Beadnell)
The fish is made fresh on-site by the family who runs the business, the Hodnett's, who have owned Maypole for over 15 years. All the fish is sourced from sustainably managed fishing grounds to ensure quality produce every time for customers.
The fish is frozen at sea to maintain ultimate freshness, it then arrives at Maypole and the trained/experienced staff fillet the fish daily along with the preparation of fish cakes and scallops in the preparation room.
Maypole's famous mushy peas are soaked overnight and cooked fresh every day to make the best traditional English mushy peas to accompany your fish and chips.
The menu is available with the fish of choice being Haddock (available in kid-friendly sizes and smaller portions for the oldies). Other options on the menu include Chicken and chips (roughly £7.50) Pies, sausages, fishcakes and scampi and chicken bites. The main courses are under £12 which is great.
After placing our order for four Haddocks with chips, mushy peas, gravy and curry sauce for the husband, we waited for our order to be prepared. The wait was not long (about 15 minutes) and we decided to take the food home to enjoy.
Firstly, when unwrapping the paper, it was easily noticeable that the portions were hearty, and that my friends is value for money. I decided to unleash my inner Brit and try the mushy peas (not my cup of tea being Australian) however these went down a treat with the rest of the in-laws.
I was able to get on board with smothering my chips in malt vinegar (the liquid of the gods) with a side of mayonnaise and ketchup. Being Australian I am quite a fan of crumbed fish, but it wouldn't be an English experience if I didn't go for the beer-battered option, so I decided to and I was pleasantly surprised at how crunchy the coating yet fresh and flakey inside the fish was. Definitely a winner in my books!
Fish, chips, mushy peas, mayo and ketchup @ Maypole Fisheries (photo by Praneel Lal-Beadnell)