Next month it will be one year since I moved to Soho for work. I still miss working in Shoreditch but having worked on Wardour Street previously, the area is not unfamiliar and I looked forward to re-discovering my favourite old haunts (Maletti, Tosca, Star Cafe, The Dining Plaice) and new adventures.
I happened to stumble across one such eatery last month. Golden Union Fish and Chips, which opened in 2008. In recent times, independently owned fish and chips restaurants/takeaway are very far and few between. Certainly a big chunk of them are turning into Chinese takeaway with fish and chips on the side. My all time favourite had always been The Brothers Fish and Chips on Water Lane in Maryland, London. With my grandmother living across the road I recall many treats of being given change to run down to the shop after school to get the both of us chips. It’s a wonder that I’m still so slim. Unfortunately they closed down a few years ago. I don’t know whether they’ve set up shop elsewhere or simply retired. I suspect it’s the latter. To me, without them, Maryland isn’t the same.
In Central London, when I worked for music and games retailer HMV at their head office in Wardour, the fish and chips would come from The Dining Plaice in Berwick Street. This restaurant is still there now. Visit on a Friday at about 1pm and you will find a steady queue out of the door. If someone came back to the office with fish and chips, you were to be prepared for envious turning heads as the waft flowed from the kitchen with the odd passing brave person asking for a chip.
In 2008 a new restaurant moved into Poland Street where the old failing noodle restaurant Soba used to be. The heady smell of fish and chips and the great location doesn’t fail to impress the clientèle.
Eating in was an experience and a delight. Glancing around the restaurant I noted how pleasantly satisfied the customers were whilst chowing chips and the odd celebrity leisurely enjoying their lunch (you might spot one in my photo further down). Everything is made on the premises and the fluffy battered cod and chips was extremely filling, full of flavour and didn’t leave the lingering uncomfortable feeling of stodge that one often has after a big meal – I didn’t fall asleep at my desk in the afternoon!
When I visited Golden Union last month I met with PR firm Truffle PR who informed me that Golden Union planned to host, for the second time, Eat At The Table (or EATT) – a project to allow less privileged and homeless individuals an opportunity to visit Golden Union and tuck into delicious, warm fish and chips. Upon hearing this I told the team I was more than happy to publicise the event.
Working with the homeless charity Centrepoint (which is located just around the corner to Golden Union) and promoted by celebrities Rachel Stevens and Aldo Zilli, I’m really looking forward to seeing the difference the restaurant will make to some of the homeless community in London who would often not have the opportunity of a full meal.
Judging by the sharp drop in London temperature over the last few days, I’d say the timing for hot fish and chips is perfect.
The EATT event will take place on 1st February, 2012, from 6-8 pm
Golden Union 38 Poland Street London W1F 7LY 020 7434 1933 www.goldenunion.co.uk