Fish and chips, unlike revenge, is not a dish best served cold. In fact, cold chips, unlike cold pizza, is a meal fit only for seagulls. For this reason, Matt rarely gets to sample fish and chip takeaways unless they are quite close to his home town of Ryde, and he can take the food home to eat before it congeals.
So die-hard Matt and Cat aficionados will be interested to note that this time he’s ventured beyond the Island’s north-east quarter, as far as southerly Ventnor. And if you think that’s surprising enough, you haven’t heard the half of it. This time, his trusty fish-and-chip-eating companions Bill and Jack were not accompanying him, nor was he alone. Yes, friends, it’s finally happened, Cat has been into a fish and chip shop.
M & C were staying in Ventnor and, in need of a quick meal, decided to make for the nearest takeaway. When this turned out to be the popular and highly-recommended Ocean View, perched high above the town on the edge of Lowtherville, Cat – normally reluctant to consider chip shops as a source of food – showed no sign of wavering in her determination to get a hot dinner, and so into the bright little shop the duo went.
It’s not hard to see how Ocean View Fish and Chip Shop gets its name. The broad sweep of the English Channel is laid out far below, and the few vessels on the horizon serve only to emphasise just what a great view of the sea can be had from Ventnor. Ocean View’s customers can gaze at the eponymous scene as they wait for their orders, but M & C were not swayed from their purpose. Ocean View is a typical chippy, serving standard chip-shop fare. Like most of Ventnor, it’s got a good few steps to get up to the front door, but unlike most of Ventnor it does have convenient parking on the road behind it. Matt and Cat hardly looked at the menu, having already decided what they were after. Haddock and chips for Matt, and chicken pie and chips with curry sauce for Cat. Service was brusque, but efficient: it wasn’t long before the diners were back outside clutching their precious supper. Soon it was home and dispensed to the waiting plates.
Ocean View serves up its meals not in paper parcels, in the traditional style, but in little cardboard boxes. This is certainly a convenient means of transport for the food, but lacks something in the unboxing. You just can’t beat the smell of a hot paper bundle of fish and chips. Still, in this case the boxes were only a very temporary resting-place for their meals, and Matt and Cat were soon paying overdue attention to their contents.
Cat’s pie was a traditional Pukka Pie, still in its wrapper and piping hot. When she dug her fork into it it exploded in what she described as a ‘cloud of pie dandruff’. Underneath the enjoyably crispy fluff was the chicken and mushroom; a good sticky filling with identifiable components. The pie was tasty and moist. Cat enjoyed the nostalgic waft of generic curry sauce as she poured it liberally over her chips. It was like being a student again but without the state sponsorship.
Chicken and mushroom pie: £2.20
Medium haddock: £3.50
Large chips: £2.20
Medium chips: £1.50
Curry sauce: £0.80
Lemon and tartare: free
Matt was delighted to find on opening the box that he had been treated to a complimentary helping of lemon and tartare sauce. Three thick sections of fresh lemon sat properly on top of the haddock fillet, and nearby two sachets of tartare were on offer. He was impressed: this is usually the sort of thing a chip shop will charge extra for. Top marks to Ocean View for generosity. The haddock itself was a modest portion with an average coating of batter, but inside it was fresh and tasty. Both Matt and Cat enjoyed the chips that accompanied their meals – they were plentiful, and clearly made from fresh spuds.
So both Matt and Cat found themselves with just a few chips left on their plates – very much satisfied by their foray into Ventnor’s fish-and-chip offerings. Ocean View is recommended.