Willman’s Fish & Chips
5644 Kane St, Halifax, NS
(Rating Scale: WTF, Meh, Good, Some Good, Right Some Good!)
I originally reviewed Willman’s in 2013. It was only my second fish ‘n chips review and I was admittedly inexperienced. Now that I have more reviews under my belt (and a bigger belt!) I’m revisiting a few places with my honed palate and sizable waistline.
For being a fish ‘n chips institution (Est. 1946) with rave Yelp and Trip Advisor reviews, Willman’s was disappointing to say the least.
We ordered a 2pc fish ‘n chips ($11) with 1pc of traditional batter and 1pc of “unique light batter”. LuShark took her first bite and immediately remarked “Oh – it’s like the fish in Alberta!”
That’s not a compliment, folks.
The fish was rather dry, which usually indicates the use of a twice-frozen product. I would be forgiving of a pizza shop, but when a restaurant specializes in fish ‘n chips I expect the fish to be front and central. The fish at Willman’s was the worst part of the meal.
The batters were decent (not too crunchy or mushy), so I think this would be a stand-up product if better fish was used. The light batter had a nice flavour but it betrayed the quality of the fish more than the heavier batter, which did a better job at hiding it. We didn’t finish our fish and instead focused on the fries.
The hand-cut fries were quite decent, but the gravy was flavourless and we didn’t care for the tartar sauce, which we found to be thin and sweet.
A small cup of coleslaw was $1 extra. Why the extra charge, when coleslaw is so often thrown indiscriminately onto plates in diners and truck stops? The customer feels a gouging sensation when charged extra for coleslaw. So was it worth it? The cabbage was fresh and crunchy, but it was dressed in a boring sweet mayonnaise sauce and served in a tiny cup. I would gladly pay the extra $1.50 for the coleslaw at John’s Lunch, but this stuff – nah.
But at the end of the day, it’s really all about the fish. Our experience is, perhaps, best summed up by LuShark:
“It’s not terrible,” she said, “It’s just what you’d find in Alberta”.