Monday, December 12, 2011

Having fish & chips at Brit & Chips!

Brit and Chips is a small and quirky restaurant located in Old Montreal. Apart from their quaint outer decor that makes one feel like they walked onto a 1990s set of Coronation Street, they boast serving the best fish and chips in Montreal. And what makes their fish and chips so special? Different types of fish paired with unique mixes of batters!

Yeah, yeah, exams and studying. I can't help it; once exams hit, I'm inspired to do anything and everything BUT study. I know, I'm a terrible student...

So my friend and I have this system. I would search up new restaurants and text her whatever I find, she would get cravings as soon as I mention whatever type of food the restaurant serves, she would go scout the place out with her boyfriend, and if it's good, we'll somehow go back together because she ends up craving the food. Again.

Brit and Chips had been on my to-try list for a while, but I wasn't familiar with the area, and the idea of eating a meal consisting entirely of fried foods wasn't enticing enough for me to check it out. But thanks to my friend (and my own recommendation to her. Yes, good job, self) and her seemingly endless craving for fish and chips, I was finally able to try this place out. 

Accessibility - Grade: A
They're a five minute walk away from Square-Victoria metro station, St-Jacques exit. Look for the green overhead with gold letterings.

Service - Grade: B+
For a small, pub/diner-like restaurant, the service sure is professional. The first thing that caught my eye was that the entire staff, including the guys manning the fryers, were dressed in white dress-shirts, black bowties and aprons. Our waiter was also very courteous, and asked us if we needed anything explained as soon as we sat down. Even after the restaurant became packed like SARDINES, har har, he was still very patient. The reason why I didn't give the service an A is because despite the service being courteous and professional, it was still impersonal; there wasn't that homey warmness that gives you a severe case of the warm fuzzies after.

Food - Grade: B+

Dandelion and Burdock soda
 Other than the usual soda drinks, Brit and Chips also serves Ben Shaws soda drinks, which come in some interesting flavours. My friend and her bf were too chicken to try the dandelion flavoured drink when they came last time, so being the bigger person, I sacrificed myself for the sake of science. Ohohohoho!

I didn't know what to expect from a dandelion and burdock drink, but it was actually pretty good! It tastes pretty much like cream soda, but with a licorice-like aftertaste. If you're too chicken to try this weedy drink, you still have the classic cream soda and lemonade options. :P

Haddock in maple syrup batter

My friend recommended the haddock in maple syrup batter, which is what she tried last time. Now, I'm not a huge fan of fried foods, but this was good. The fish came out piping hot, since it had been freshly cooked. The batter was fried until it was a nice, crisp golden-brown all over. It light and puffy, and the batter didn't flake when you bit into it; instead it shattered and melted in your mouth, leaving behind traces of sweet maple syrup flavour on your tongue. The haddock was juicy and tender, and broke apart easily under the fork, which showed its freshness and implied that it was cooked on the spot, and not frozen then fried.

Haddock in maple syrup batter

I wasn't too fond of the fries. They were tasteless and a bit dry. Even after seasoning it with salt and vinegar (which had a funky, indescribable taste to it), it was still kinda blah. The tartar sauce was also good, but I thought it needed it bit more tang in order to cut the heaviness of the fried fish.

I do, however, like their newspaper-like paper that they use to line the basket. No, don't worry, it's not actual newspaper, so the ink won't run and contaminate your food. It's more of wax paper-like tissue with a newspaper-like print that gives you some insight into the restaurant and into fish and chips in general. It gives you something to do if you're in that phase of your relationship where you run out of things to talk to with your partner. Awkward silence? Of course not! I'm reading the Fish 'n Chips Times!

Hake in Orange Crush batter
 My friend ordered the Hake (rhymes with lake), which both her boyfriend and I thought was pronounced 'hack-eh'. Evidently, I've been eating too much Japanese food. My friend is pretty determined to try their entire menu, and she also has an unhealthy obsession with Orange Crush, which is why she chose this particular item.

I've read some reviews on urbanspoon of people complaining about how dark the fish turned out, or how heavy, and I think they might have been referring to this or the cod. Unlike the one on the haddock, the fried batter on the hake was heavier and less fluffy. The fish also had a fishier taste, and was a bit drier and flakier than the haddock. The orange crush batter also didn't taste very orangey or crushed, and it didn't have that sweet aftertaste that the maple syrup batter had. Still, compared to the other fish and chips I've had in my lifetime (an admittedly small number), it was still pretty impressive. I just think I preferred the haddock over this particular item.

Price - $$
Prices really aren't steep here, so it is pretty student friendly. A plate of fish 'n chips is $11.95 before tax and tip. Because I ordered the dandelion soda and my friend ordered a Sprite, our bill came up to around $30 before tip.

Final Grade: B+
I'm not sure how to judge whether a plate of fish and chips is authentic or not, but by Montreal's fish and chips standards, this place does a pretty good job. The fish wasn't too heavy, nor was it falling apart, nor was it too salty or too flakey; for a city that isn't near the ocean and situated in the province with little ties to the monarchial motherland, I think we're pretty lucky to be served fish and chips of this caliber. ;)

P.S.: Dear Self,



Your Conscience

Brit & Chips
433 McGill street, Montreal
(514) 840-1001
Brit & Chips on Urbanspoon


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