HFX Fish ‘n’ Chip Quest: Fries & Co.
This is the last stop on the first round of my fish ‘n’ chips quest.That’s now 6 places I’ve covered! So far, every place has been a fish ‘n’ chips speciality shop, and has been accessible to peninsular pedestrians. Fries & Co. has been located in Halifax’s west end since 1974, but has changed ownership within the last couple of years. I’d been hearing mixed things about this grease institution, but of course I had to check it out for myself.
One of the new owners hails from the UK, and has evidently tweaked the menu in favour of a more British style. Instead of ordering by the piece, the fish ‘n’ chips are listed as small, medium and large. Chip shop curry sauce and mushy peas are available add-ons. Some less-than-British items on the menu are eggrolls and Newfie fries. You can even get your choice of white or malt vinegar pickled eggs! There is quite a bit of variety but, as you know – I am here for the fish.
My bro ordered a small fish ‘n’ chips ($6.50) with a small side of coleslaw ($1). I have to say something about the coleslaw: the coleslaw was ridiculous. It was more of a coleslaw soup… a coleslaw abomination. You really have to see it to believe it. Wow. Just… wow.
I had the House Special: 1pc fish & clams with fries ($12.90), and a side of mushy peas ($2) for good measure.
So, first I’ll talk about what was good: Our server was friendly and helpful. The tartar sauce was spot-on, and came in an all-you-can-squeeze bottle. The fries were respectable, and I love mushy peas. No complaints there.
Now for the not-so-good: the batter was deceptively good lookin’. That is a nice, sizeable piece of fish with a crispy batter, no? Unfortunately, the batter kept falling off the fish, and left a pool of grease on my plate. I could also swear it had a funky taste (my bro didn’t notice), and the texture of the fish struck me as being previously frozen. I thought I was pretty smart, I did. So I inquired of the server, who, of course, insisted that everything is fresh. All I know is that the fish lacked the lusciousness I have come to expect of very fresh haddock. Evan’s Fresh Seafood, have you ruined me?
As for the bad: my clams were soft and floppy. I didn’t even finish them.
I hate to give a lukewarm review of a place, I really do. As it stands, I would totally eat the fish ‘n’ chips here if I lived in the neighbourhood. It’s a good deal for a decent load of food. I would also love to drunkenly stumble in for some curry fries and mushy peas! – maaaaybe even a pickled egg! But the Halifax fish ‘n’chips crown will certainly sit elsewhere.