The best fish and chips on the Island? Well, that’s a crown that’s keenly fought for; and also a question we get asked a lot. Alas we’re unlikely ever to gain a definitive answer, but we keep on trying. It’s a difficult thing to find the acme of the fish and chip world, because the best fish and chips is often right near where you want to eat it.
Fresh, hot fish and perfect chips straight from the fryer is a treat that will almost always trump even the finest fried offerings that have been wrapped in paper for half an hour. So when we’ve got our eyes on a chip shop that isn’t near home, we make sure to enjoy the food as soon after purchase as we can, usually eating it out of the wrapper like the glorious original British street food that it is.
We’ve heard a lot about Ozze’s Plaice, a classic neighbourhood chippy in the heart of Pan, Newport. This local stalwart, just along from the post office, has been strongly recommended to us by friends and colleagues. So one sunny evening on the way home from work we stopped off to see if they were right. A queue of hungry locals suggested that they were, and so it proved.
Inside a surprisingly spacious venue we ordered our fish and chips, and settled down to wait at the wooden picnic bench and glanced at a much-fingered copy of the day’s Daily Mail. If, like us, you’re keep on lubricating your chips with ketchup and mayonnaise, these condiments are off-menu extras at Ozze’s; sold separately in big tubs for 50p. Cat doubled her investment and for a quid she bought a tub of curry sauce. When it arrived it proved to be almost a vegetable curry in taste and consistency, not the sometimes bland fluid that can get wheeled out in other chippies.
Small cod £3.90
Small chips £1.50
Large chips £2.50
Curry sauce £1
To enjoy our meals we took them to the nearby park to sit on a bench and watch kids preparing for a local football match. The warm bag of food was remarkably heavy – and when we started unwrapping it we realised why. Ozze’s portions are absolutely huge. One ‘small’ portion of chips would have sufficed for both of us; and Matt, evidence suggests, is a man who is able to eat a significant volume of chips. The ‘large’ portion he had ordered was hardly needed. Once calibrated to Ozze’s portion sizes it would be possible to get a great family meal deal by sharing a stunningly-good value £2.50 large serving. Better still, these were good chips. We were pleased to find a few with skin on; they actually tasted of potato and were just the right texture.
The fish itself was hardly any less impressive. Very big slabs of white meat were served up in thick, crispy batter, which didn’t stick to the paper. We tore at the fillets with our fingers and the wooden forks provided, enjoying the tasty, flaky contents as they steamed enticingly in the evening sun.
Ozze’s Plaice is rightly feted as one of the best on the Island. It is certainly the most generous such venue we’ve ever known: and the quality of the food itself is well above average. We can see why people travel to Pan just for this experience, and we might well drop in again on our way past.
This is the full-length version of the review that first appeared in the Isle of Wight County Press.