Friday, 4 February 2011

The Golden Hind Restaurant

How I discovered it: This fish and chips restaurant is my ‘hood – and I first stumbled across it in my wanderings down winding Marylebone Lane. Every time I walked by, it looked warm and inviting and was crammed with happy looking people tucking into huge plates of food. It was only a matter of time before I tried it for myself.

What they say: Nothing – they don’t seem to have a website! But the Restaurant Guide says: “Despite being essentially an upmarket chippie it's worth booking a table at the Golden Hind in order to assure yourself of a seat, especially if you're part of a large group. This popular place dates back to 1914 and has been serving fish to a loyal clientele, including many a famous face, ever since.”

What I say: Some of the best fish and chips in London! The restaurant isn’t licensed, but you can bring your own booze. The prices are reasonable and the atmosphere is wonderful – original green and cream Bakelite fish fryer (not used these days; the kitchen is in the back), tile floor, marble topped tables and wooden chairs. It’s nearly 100 years old, and in that time it’s only been owned by 5 families. The current owner is a charming Greek – the waiters handsome and hard-working, and it definitely feels family-run. We always have the Greek pickles to start, followed by baby-whale sized servings of fish. I don’t like batter, so have mine steamed (perfectly!), but friends tell me the batter is terrific. The chips are properly chunky and the mushy peas are a reassuringly radioactive green. If you still have room after that, you can indulge what I think of as British-schoolboy desserts, like Spotted Dick, Treacle Sponge, and Bread and Butter pudding. Do yourself a favour – if you’re local and haven’t been yet, go! Buy a couple of bottles of champagne and go with a gang of friends. If you’re visiting London, don’t go to the usual tourist spots: have a meal at this very special place for an afternoon or evening to remember.

What could be improved: Nothing – except that it’s so popular, it’s often hard to get a table! They’ve recently bought the restaurant next door to give themselves more room, but – like work expands to fill the time allotted – the diners seem to fill the enlarged premises as much as they ever did. 

The verdict: Lorelei loves it!

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