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...

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?

Stotesbury's, Newport

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.

Stotesbury's, Newport

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.

Matt’s bill
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.

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  • jason

    24th March 2011 #1 Author

    i have actually just started working at stotesbury fish and chips now and i believe that this year is the 130th birthday of the shop ,so as far as i know the shop was actually built in 1881 and has always been a chip shop until now !

    Reply

  • John A Stotesbury

    14th December 2010 #2 Author

    My grandfather bought the business, as far as I know, in 1906, but it had been in existence for about ten years before that. Although grandfather died in 1944, his widow and two of my aunts continued to work it, and it stayed in family hands until, I would guess, some time in the 1970s, and has gone through numerous owners since then. Good to hear that its offerings are still up to scratch! I have very fond memories of the place: as a kid in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I often helped out with the chip production or filleting fish on a busy Saturday morning or during school summer holidays.

    Reply

    • Andrew Whittington

      8th May 2017 #3 Author

      I was born and breed in Newport and as a teenager in the 1970s was always in Stotesburys, I remember the two old anties in the shop a lovely pair of ladys, very into there church if ii remember right and the fish and chips were the best on the Island

      Reply