Simply Fish & Chips - a proper British chippy in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi finally has its first bona fide fish and chip shop and it has been greeted with joy by the city’s British expats pining for a taste of home.
Simply Fish & Chips is near the Abu Dhabi Corniche and in a nod to its location, serves a Corniche pasty. Christopher Pike / The National
Simply Fish & Chips is near the Abu Dhabi Corniche and in a nod to its location, serves a Corniche pasty. Christopher Pike / The National

Fish and chips are as quintessentially British as not caring about getting sunburned on holiday, watching football in the rain and playing Hollywood villains.

Some restaurants here do a tasty battered hammour and fries, and there’s a certain fast-food chain found in shopping malls that dishes up a version that may be palatable to other expatriates.

But any discerning Brit knows these options don’t compare with a real “chippy”. So news that Abu Dhabi finally has its first bona fide fish and chip shop has been greeted with joy by the city’s British expats pining for a taste of home.

Simply Fish & Chips is a five-minute walk from the Corniche’s East Plaza, making it ideal for seafront takeaways. It serves comfort-food delights including mushy peas, steak and kidney pies and battered fresh cod and haddock that’s delivered twice a week fresh from the North Sea.

Simply Fish & Chips’s Mancunian manager Hassan Sherazi came to Abu Dhabi six years ago to work as an architect. After he and his wife, Sam, and brother-in-law, Amir Shah, noticed Brits moaning about how much they missed their national dish on online forums, they spotted a gap in the Abu Dhabi market.

“Back in the UK, the chippy was like a second home to me,” says Hassan. “The first thing I’d do when I got off the plane in the UK was go to a chippy. Every Friday night, I’d sit with the wife and kids and watch a movie with fish and chips. When you come back here, you tend to really miss those things – something that’s traditional and homely.”

On a trip home to Manchester last summer, the Sherazis learnt to do a proper fry from members of the United Kingdom’s National Federation of Fish Friers.

“When you go to a chip shop, you don’t realise all the ins and outs of what it takes just to fry a chip,” says Hassan. “Not a French fry, but a chip. You’ve got to get the texture right and the starch quality is different. We’ve really worked hard on our chips, we were doing dry runs on them for three weeks before we opened.”

Adec teacher Claire Luscombe, from Blackpool, a British seaside resort famous for its chippies, found Abu Dhabi’s new offering stacks up nicely to her hometown’s speciality.

“It’s perfect. Just like home,” she says. “And their cheese and onion pie was very nice, too. It looked homemade.”

How it tastes:

The fish and chips weren’t wrapped in paper as you’d get back in Britain, but those classic, mini wooden forks were provided on request.

Cod had sold out, as is often the case with chippies – it’s the most popular option. Haddock was the alternative.

The batter was perfectly crispy, with a delicious, buttery taste, and the fat, golden chips had that distinctive chippy smell about them.

The menu listed the nutritional value of fish and chips as 595 calories and 9.4 grams of salt.

Highlights include doner kebab (Brits have a soft spot for this traditionally Turkish dish), “Corniche” pasty (alluding to the restaurant’s location) and chip muffin – also known as a chip butty or a chip barm, depending on where you’re from. It’s essentially chips in bread. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

• Simply Fish & Chips is located in Block C, Corniche Towers, beside Zaatar W Zeit in Abu Dhabi; 02 665 2100. Open from 12.30pm to 11pm weekdays; and until midnight on weekends. A large piece of fish, chips and all the fixings costs Dh65

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: July 21, 2017 06:44 PM

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