There’s a theory suggesting that if you sit and wait long enough, everything will come to you.
If this principle has much currency, there have probably been a few gurus on mountaintops waiting for a very long time for a nice fresh fish supper to come along. What they really ought to do is set up a seminary in Chale Green, Nettlestone, Godshill, Niton or St Helens. Then at least they could be sure of the Jolly Fryer mobile fish and chip wagon coming around every week.
Fish and chip aficionado Matt has observed the mobile chippy in various locations across the Island, but never quite managed to catch up with it – usually being near a more traditional, static establishment. But one Saturday evening he made the effort and took junior reviewers Bill and Jack and their pal Toby out to Nettlestone to give the Jolly Fryer a spin.
The Jolly Fryer is a very well-organised establishment which is far more than just a glorified burger van. Proper fryers, cooking real fish and chips, dealt out in wrapped paper and not nasty polystyrene boxes. One thing Matt and the lads very soon found out is that the name is not just for show: a very cheerful welcome was given, and the staff in the truck gave out a constant stream of chat to the customers, even greeting some by name. This is a well-established local institution, and a popular one.
All the usual chip-shop staples are on offer, and at prices very similar to fixed chippys. Matt ordered a large cod and large chips for only £6.10, which is comparable to the same order from Alexanders a few weeks earlier, which cost £5.90. The lads had a cheeseburger and two battered jumbo sausages, all with chips. As there was a sizeable queue, it took a some time, which was entertainingly spent by Matt sneaking pics of the wagon by pretending to take pictures of the lads posing – a subterfuge they were more than anxious to perpetuate for as long as possible. However by the time the freshly-cooked parcel was delivered, all four were ready to rush it home for further ‘analysis’.
On arrival, the diners fell on the food with relish. It was certainly acceptable in amount – Matt’s cod was particularly large. However it fell a little short in quality. The battered items were greasy, and when unwrapped the batter stuck solidly to the paper (see picture) – not always a good sign. The chips were not bad, but perhaps a little longer in the fryer might have helped both them and the fish. Still, the lads gave the burger and sausages a vote of approval, and probably it’s the best accolade of all to say that between four chaps, not a fragment of the Jolly Fryer’s offering was left behind uneaten.
The Jolly Fryer gets about much of the Island, and especially when it is at Niton, Godshill or Chale Green, it is going to be providing the best fish and chips in the area – as there are no others. It also does pretty well to offer food at decent prices, and with such excellent ‘jolly’ service.
Locations as of 2022 (check for details of timings):