Smiths. The very name itself resonates with Britishness. One almost imagines that it should actually be pronounced Estuary-style - ‘Smiffs’ - so utterly English is the name. Even the restaurant’s postal address, Balmoral Plaza, recalls all sorts of quintessentially British imagery like the Queen, the Royal Family and… I dunno… corgis, I suppose.
So it was a welcome outing to head over to the sister branch on Bukit Timah Road one weekday evening.
None of the problems of stepping off the street only to discover that you’ve accidentally pushed right to the front of the queue, then having to find a postage stamp-sized portion of filth-spattered floor tile to stand on while you wait for your food and try to avoid bodily, or indeed eye, contact with all the other people crammed in there like, well… like sardines… Anyway, I’ve never seen a takeaway in the UK prepared to refrigerate beer glasses for the customers either, but Smiths will do it for you.
From beating, on to battering. My fish was a winner: a thick, juicy fillet in a crisp, shattering batter coating (which was an attractive golden colour: not ear wax orange or a bloodless creamy shade), but lacking an overwhelmingly powerful flavour (but then I did choose John Dory, so that is largely my fault). My companion preferred the mild flavour of mine to her own cod, which did taste a lot fishier than I had expected for something that normally has very mildly-flavoured flesh. But not to worry, she still enjoyed it.
The mushy peas were mushy peas: hard to excel at those or indeed mess them up, I guess, and an important addition to find room in your belly for if you’re otherwise loading up solely (geddit?) on carbs and protein (as an aside, why do mushy peas not really taste like peas? Is it the salt and sugar and the bicarb used in the preparation process?).
If you agree or disagree with what I said, why not leave a comment? It would be great to hear from you!
http://www.smithsfishandchips.com/ - Smiths website.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeus_faber - all about the John Dory and the origins of its name. An interesting fish, in my view.