Didn’t somebody once say that Stotesbury’s fish and chip shop, in Upper St James’ Street Newport, was the oldest on the Island? Or in England? Or something?
Matt’s got a vague memory of something about the antiquity of this shop being of note. But no matter. Somebody will doubtless set the record straight, for now it’s not the issue. Far more importantly, can Stotesbury’s produce decent fish and chips here, today? If so, Matt’s interested. And Cat isn’t. Because she just can’t bring herself to eat fish and chips, no, not even if you wrap a pink ribbon around it and tickle her under the chin.
So one rainy winter evening M & C were in Newport seeking out a quick supper. Unable to agree on a venue, they decided on an unprecedented experiment to undertake two simultaneous reviews in separate venues. Cat, spurning the chip shop, went off to make her own investigations elsewhere. Matt, let off the leash, shot into Stotesbury’s like a rat down a drainpipe.
Once inside, a cheery lady greeted Matt, and he took a quick look at the menu before eyeing up the food in the hot cupboards at the back of the shop. Battered mushrooms were on offer, and Matt was for a moment tempted to order some to compare with the famous Chipmunks mushrooms. However, these would have been cooked to order, and the need to save time won out over the desire for deep-fried fungus. Matt chose medium cod and chips, which was wrapped up and dispatched almost immediately. Back out in the rain before he’d had time to draw a breath, Matt was pretty impressed by the quick service. This was quicker than the Hong Kong Express – a touchstone of speedy food delivery. He retreated to the car to enjoy a steering-wheel dining experience, to the soothing tones of Radio 4.
Medium cod and chips £4.50
So, the food. Could Stotesbury’s cut the mustard? Matt was favourably impressed. These were really excellent chips, with a pleasant texture and taste, and neither greasy nor soggy. Not a single chip was discarded for having ‘black bits’ in it either. The fish was not vast, but perfectly cooked. With a crisp but not oily batter coating on the outside, the white flakes of fish were piping hot and moist, just as they should be. The epitome of classic fish and chips. If Stotesbury’s is indeed the oldest chip shop in Newport then it appears to be doing everything necessary to retain that crown for some time yet to come.