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Fosters Fish and Chips review

Gordo sets sail on a boat of cod across the Seas of Tartare

Written by . Published on January 17th 2011.

Fosters Fish and Chips review

What makes a good chippy?

This simple question is a good deal more difficult to answer than you would think. The reality is that the great chippies have been taken over in the main by the Chinese immigrants over the past thirty years or so and to a man they have made a bad job of cooking chips and producing a decent batter or indeed buying the fish well.

The vinegar was interesting. It came in an atomiser. I kid you not. Gordo thinks that whoever did this is magic, or watches Heston Bloomingheckhenthall - either way it made Gordo want to give them a kiss.

Now, before you all start beating Gordo up, there are always exceptions to the rule and if you know different, tell Gordo through the rants; he will give them a go.

But in the meantime, it’s difficult to find a good traditional chippy. Fact. As the people in our office say. Mainly to irritate the publisher in Board Meetings.

The arguments also rage on about the fat used, should it be beef dripping or not?

Should the batter include beer? How about the mushy peas? Runny, or sticky? Do Hollands Pies deserve their near monopoly of the industry when it comes to pies and puddings?

And the final question from Gordo is this; what the FUCKING HELL is a rag pudding?

That’s a paragraph for the Editor to ponder; it’s listening to U.N.K.L.E and taking drugs on a Sunday morning what does it. (That’s Gordo doing the latter not the editor who was painting a bedroom this Sunday morning wishing he were taking drugs. Ed)In the meantime, Gordo has found one great chippy during his travels avoiding women, Frankie’s Fish Bar in West Didsbury, Manchester’s answer to Notting Hill - click here. An absolute belter. Is there a better one in the region? Let’s see.

On Saturday the fat one found himself driving through Alderley Edge on his way to see Maureen and Shady, the parents. Shady may not have any teeth left, but he still knows how to use a shotgun as the squirrels in his back garden can vouch. Oh, and the odd mink in the stream. Bad tempered little sods they can be as well.

Gordo decides to try out Fosters, a chippy situated at the end of the main street on the right, a place that comes highly recommended.

Walking through the door into the sparklingly clean white tiled interior, he gets a seat in the small, but well laid out dining room that is the exact opposite of the tea rooms of yesterday. Chunky blond wooden tables, newspapers in racks on the wall (being Alderley Edge the Mail was on show, the Guardian wasn’t) and plenty of light from the windows overlooking the De Trafford Arms.

The lady on duty laid out Fosters Fishy Times (established 1995 by all accounts) and a knife and fork in a sheath next to that. Gordo asked for a cup of tea. With a sweetener if possible.

“Not sure we do sweeteners love, but I’ll have a look.”

Gordo looked down at The Fishy Times, which doubles as a plaice mat. Plaice mat, geddit?

“I Only Have Pies for You” lists the pies and puddings which include steak and ale. The section headed “In Cod We Trust” has the fish stuff. It’s cute people, and it shows that the owners have a sense of humour. Cod is “highly recommended, from sustainable stocks and comes in half (£5.75), normal (£7.50) and large (£12). The lady comes back with Gordo’s tea.

“We didn’t have any sweeteners so I rifled through Eileen’s hand bag and found a couple.”

Eau de Vinegar

Moby Dick

The tea was cracking and served in a soup bowl. Irish navvies building another Ship Canal would have been pleased.

A few minutes later, Gordo’s large cod arrives. They are lying. It isn’t large at all, it’s huge. It’s the size of a rowing boat. The fish is white, flaky, cod-ey moist and entombed in a batter that was crisp. Yes, crisp. It doesn’t have a centimetre of sludge smeared around the inside either, just flaky, wonderful cod. Did I say the batter was crisp? Not soggy? Oh yes, I did.

Potatoes, which are delivered fresh everyday from a local farm, are peeled and chipped on the premises and cooked perfectly. Peas are on the side, mushy, a slight tang to them. The tartare sauce was there but not home-made. At least it wasn’t the chemically-sweet manufactured-in-Sellafield variety.

Mind you, the vinegar was interesting. It came in an atomiser. I kid you not. Gordo thinks that whoever did this is magic, or watches Heston Bloomingheckhenthall - either way it made Gordo want to give them a kiss.

It worked really, really well. Every chippy should have one, a revelation. You also got a quarter of lemon, useful for Posh Beckham if she pops back to Alderley Edge, to suck on if she discovers herself looking happy.

Another thing which caught Gordo’s eye. Gluten free fish and chips are served on the first Sunday of each month. A bit weird, but there you have it.

The nicest touch is a notice all over the place. Or plaice.

“If you want more chips, just ask, they’re free.” Don’t tell anyone in Wythenshawe.This is a real find folks. It’s worth a journey - if you’re out on the lash in that neck of the woods give it a try as a stomach liner. More clever thinking from the owners - you can take a bottle, its only £3 corkage.

There’s also a newer Fosters in Didsbury (612 Wilmslow Road, 0161 445 4430) which might be more convenient for people. Gordo hopes it’s as well thought through as the Alderley parent.

Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester 

Breakdown:8/10 food
5/5/ service
4/5 ambience
Address:Fosters Fish and Chips
4 Chorley Hall Lane
Alderley Edge
01625 582682

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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41 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Didsbury GirlJanuary 17th 2011.

£12 for a large!? £12! Insanity. Also, why no mention of Hugh's Fish Fight? Fosters have been asked to consider Mackerel according to the website.

It''s the bloody truth!January 17th 2011.

I got lost on the Seas of Tartare, then I was shipwrecked on a Thousand Islands and had a dressing down.

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2011.

What's wrong with a chinese owned chippy? The only decent chip shops I've been to since I moved up here 5 years ago are not english owned. If they can sustain a business doing it where us english can't I don't see the issue and think it is a pretty broad generalisation. My local is Yummy House on Oldham Road and I rate it, plus I can get it delivered! I've never been to english chippy that delivers so there are obvious perks of the english-chinese hybrid take away!!

ellpollolocoJanuary 17th 2011.

Have to endorse this review as it'smy local. Great chippy, lets not forget that Gordo ate in and he's a greedy bastard.....Fish and chips to take out are around a fiver.

M30January 17th 2011.

Chinese Chippy = Crap Chippy.
Would love to check this place out, but put off by its location.
For anyone in the Salford area, there's a tremendous British Chippy called Neil's Friery, on Langworthy Road. Fish to die for.

MJanuary 17th 2011.

I say Gordo, is Alderley Edge actually in Manchester?

Chippy MintonJanuary 17th 2011.

It doesn't take much to seduce you does it Gordo? To call Foster's a chippy is a bit like calling Harvey Nicks a clothes shop. The description you were searching for was 'earnest'. Yes, did you ever think a chippy could be described as 'earnest'. It's far too self aware. On your next visit, exit the bypass and sate yer buds at 'The Big Fish' at Dean Row -now that is a proper chippy.
PS; spray vinegar is a Southern chippy affectation -and has been for years. How strange that it's also found in Alderley...

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2011.

Frankies in West Dids is far better. Have been to both - fishcakes in fosters are shocking. Also had to wait a long time. A friend sat for 20 minutes without even being given a menu, they left without ordering.
Battered Cod still do the best chips and are a PROPER chippy - no posh branding/gimmicky stuff here (which lets face it gets added on the price) also agree with Didsbury Girl - your cod may have been massive - but what about the recent debate on channel 4?!

FishFaceJanuary 17th 2011.

'Gluten free fish and chips are served on the first Sunday of each Monday'
When would that be then? EDITORIAL COMMENT: Thanks, we've been drinking for four days solid

PaulJanuary 17th 2011.

Are you sure that pop and not your twin

Mark JorgensenJanuary 17th 2011.

Have been here a couple of times and Gordo's review is spot on. Best chippy I've been to in years. And the extra chip notices arent just for show, I asked for more and got a shedload!

It's apparently Wayne and Coleens favourite chippy and they go quite a lot. Not sure whether thats an endorsement or whether it lowers the tone dramatically...

AnonymousJanuary 17th 2011.

Foster's Alderly Edge is fantastic. Frankie's on Burton Road "great" though? It looks the part but the chips are no good. Bleh.

NortherngeezerJanuary 17th 2011.

Agree with the review but its miles away!!!!
Was in Blackpool t'other week and visited The Cottage.........as good as ever.
M30 - Neil's on Langworthy Road has gone down the pan a bit since the 'burd' who did the fish frying sold up.
Much as it pains me to say so, theres better quality over them thar hills in yorkyshyre cos the provender is fried in beef dripping.
I'm working in Chester at the mo and its a decent chippy desert, its dire!!!!.

Ali McGJanuary 18th 2011.

Battered Cod in Fallowfield was always sub standard. I go to the Fish Hut in Castlefield. Chinese-run, very friendly, lovely chips and, mostly, good fish. I had one recently that had been sat there a while as it wasn't succulent and flaky, but that aside, if you get a freshly-cooked one, it's awesome stuff. I had fish, chips, peas and... curry sauce. My mate told me to try it. Loved it!!!!

AnonymousJanuary 18th 2011.

I made a journey to this chippy once, it was bland, average chips and over battered fish for an over inflated price.

The CodFatherJanuary 18th 2011.

My father in law lives in the South of France. On his annual UK visits I'm ordered to go direct from M/cr Airport to Fosters' for his annual dosage of Cod and Chips - he admits he gets excited about it for weeks before !!!!! nuff said.

MBJanuary 18th 2011.

Langley Friery in Middleton is the best I have every tried...

....apart from the Magpie cafe in Whitby!

beef drippingJanuary 18th 2011.

I've been to Fosters in Didsbury on a wet Tuesday evening for a takeout and the service was awful. Credit should be given to the staff for employing the disadvantaged but it was clear no-one knew what they were doing, and it took an age to get served. Not only that they committed the cardinal sin of wrapping up the two chips and one fish that was ready then sitting them on the side for 10 mins while the other fish was cooked.

Frankies I thought was much better, but I continually return to the Battered Cod, Fallowfield or Withington, you get huge portions, and it tastes excellent.

Now just don't get me started on the fish and chip takeout I had from Loch Fynn...

LadyGreayJanuary 18th 2011.

I've been to Fosters in Didsbury....it's a mess! Beef Dripping has it spot on, they never have anything in, they have no idea what they're doing and I actually overheard them talking between themselves about why they chop lemon for customers and who would put it on their chips anyway....Oh dear.

Go to Didsbury Fish bar on School Lane, it;s cheaper and it's nicer...although the people who serve you are pretty scary looking, they're the salt of the earth. With good fish. And chips. And tartare sauce. And mushy peas and ETC ETC

Peter HarrisJanuary 18th 2011.

Can you get mackerel baps there? Any chippies using coley around? I urge everyone to sign Hugh's fish fight petition if they feel strongly about the crazy EU common fisheries policy which forces UK fishermen to dump their over quota fish. Currently half the fish caught in the North sea are dumped - insane. Over half a million signatures since last week. Go Hugh!

Cod almighty!January 18th 2011.

There are no great chippies in England - fact!(apologies to the ManCon publisher) There are some (few and far between) that maybe rank as quite good - but none that are outstanding. Scotland remains the only place in the UK that has retained the art of producing top notch fish and chips (if you are ever in Fife go to the chippy in Anstruther - a chippy mecca for those who can tell their chips from their fries). Too many chippies in England are trying to be everything to everyone selling kebabs, chow mein and fish and chips while getting none right. Plus the opening times for the chippies around here are ludicrous (same goes for supermarkets on a Sunday) - some of us would like a chippy for dinner not just at lunch time. Also, pickled eggs are as rare as hens teeth! (Mmmm - the thought of a mother and daughter supper - chicken and chips with a pickled egg - is making me drool)

Claire GreavesJanuary 18th 2011.

We love Fosters. The food is always good quality, and as Gordo said, they do not scrimp on the portion sizes. I can't normally eat pies, as I get indigestion within about half an hour of eating one, but I can highly recommend Fosters' Steak Pie. It's fantastic, and it doesn't give me indigestion!

exchefJanuary 18th 2011.

thats a pretty broad comment from cod almighty "no great chippies in england" and also very impressive that they have visited every chippy in england in order to make that statement.personally think that the battered cod is good, never tried fosters but river cottage in reddish is good and u can get rag puddings from there and they open at tea time!!

NortherngeezerJanuary 18th 2011.

No great chippies in England my arse!!!!
Any numpty who thinks fish 'n chips want eating with a pickled egg wants there bumps feeling..........Deep fried Mars bars, nuff said.
Your right about The Magpie in Whitby MB, for me its the best chippy in the UK, bar none och aye.

JohnJanuary 18th 2011.

I've been telling Gordo for years to visit Grandma Pollard's in Todmorden. Everything is freshly made even the pies, none of that Holland's muck and you can have the surreal experience of eating on a bus parked permanently outside and fitted out with tables. Tony Pollard, the proprietor has been frying fish 'n chips for decades and people travel for miles to eat there. All the food is made in the traditional way using beef dripping to fry in.Perhaps best of all, there's no chance of bumping into Wayne Rooney

whalley RangerJanuary 19th 2011.

All you need is a traditional range (we all know what they look like) and a commitment to high standards. The Bath Supper Bar in chorlton has both. Chinese it may be, but a commitment to high standards and an attention to detail it most certainly has. You are put on notice by the fastidious cleanliness of the interior. It always gives me a frisson of pleasure to see a kitchen that has clearly been assembled on a budget, where nothing fits together and nooks and crannies are an occupational hazard, where the owners have kept it as clean as an operating theatre. The other thing i look for is closing once a year for a couple of weeks. That says to me - "I realise standards are crucial. I don't trust anyone to maintain my standards whilst i'm away." I can't remember the weeks that the Bath Supper Bar is closed, but i'm confident it is closed for a couple of weeks each year, with a sign written on the back of a chip tray.

The service is awful. The staff just about resist spitting in your fish supper. However there is an integrity in the shit service. They are doing what they are doing to satisfy there own standards, objective standards; not to persuade you, the customer, they are doing a good job. They are happy to be judged on the quality of their product. More to the point, they will only be judged on the quality of their product. If you don't like it, bugger off to fosters and get served by an equally surly individual with a baseball cap in place of a cleaning ethic.

Yorkshire is best!!!January 19th 2011.

As some one rightly mentioned, over them tha hills!!! I can reel of a couple but the stand out is Billy Murgatroyd's in Yeadon near the Leeds/Bradford Airport.... bloody lovely!!!
It's a 200 seater fish emporium that has a queue everyday it's open... must be doing something right!! And the pensioner special starting for the 60 young is an absolute treat. Nothing this side of the hills compares and Foster's on a recommendation I found the batter to be too thick... almost as though they mixed the batter with some dough....and chips anaemic nuf said... and Leeds to beat Arsenal this Wednesday night!!!

D KesslerJanuary 19th 2011.

Whalley Ranger, stop using my stage name and certainly stop writing nonsense using my stage name. Duffus...

bigearsJanuary 19th 2011.

i agree with John on this on - Grandma Pollards is a legendary chip shop!

NortherngeezerJanuary 19th 2011.

Theres a chippy in Pudsey called the Wood Nook.
Its like a converted front room and you cant get more than 6 people in the place..............but the fish.....oh the fish!!!!
Its not only the quality of the produce, the batter is the selling point, light, crispy, and fried in beef dripping, freshly cooked to order, its out of this world.
Fortunatly, i 'do' Leeds once a week and leave the buttys at home, i'm over there that often Mrs Geezer thinks i've got another woman over there, but my heart belongs to something even tastier ;-)

Michael WayneJanuary 19th 2011.

I amazes me what floats folks boat in terms as to what a F&C shop should include or offer.
I just want one where I can have the tastiest largest and sustainable items with no fuss and great service. Not much to ask, but as with all these things when one shop opens another branch they lose control of the things that made the 1st one unique.
I see that a few have been to Fosters Didsbury branch and were really disappointed. So for me and the missus its the schlep out to Alderly Edge until some one really hits the mark in Manch City Centre. I like Frankies but I had a few valid constructive criticisms which I put on their Blog page. I did praise them as well but it was swiftly removed. Posted again but removed. So I won't bother again and will do without. If you put a glowing, gushing comment it is approved and stays up. Doesn't seem right to me....
What I like about the posts here is that nearly all the regulars have the inside gen on local establishments. I have made the City Centre my new home after living in Central London for 50 years and now here for 3 and I value the comments.
NB.Signed the petition from HFW....good one.

NortherngeezerJanuary 19th 2011.

Sherlock - Dont hold yer breath for a consistantly good fish supper in sunny Manc..............it dont exist.

Feed to poorJanuary 19th 2011.

What about Atlantic in Chorlton 'Village'? Is it a chain? Always packed. Dinted the sales of all surrounding chippies big time...

Peter HarrisJanuary 20th 2011.

Mr Thomas's Littleborough by Hollingworth lake is where we always go for top quality fish, crispy batter, crispy chips and a good cuppa. They make excellent cheese and onion pies and pasties too. Grandma Pollards is our second favourite also very good. Why so many chippies fail to make crispy batter and decent chips I do not know. Laziness? It is not rocket science.

Dom BakerFebruary 25th 2011.

I have eaten at Fosters Fish & Chips many of times and I LOVE IT!
I have been in both the restaraunt and take away and the food is lovely.
Service is excellent, all staff are friendly and welcoming and I love the service with a smile.
I really don't understand all of the complaints about the fish being soggy?
Fosters Fish and Chips is really the place to go! :)
To be honest if I read these comments I would be shocked but you can't please everybody!
I have been to Didsbury Fish Bar and it is very poor. I asked for Haddock and Chips and im positive it was not haddock they give me it was revolting. The chips were too hard. These comments about the service and the wait. Your getting fresh Fish and chips are Fosters so why complain? To be honest I'd rather wait and when I do the staff are lovely and speak to you.


David AminiMay 5th 2011.

Fosters Credit Crunch Lunch deal is amazing for £4! This includes fish, chips a side order and a drink! Incredible value.

Adam RichmondMay 5th 2011.

I moved up from Surrey 6 years ago and I've never had what I consider to be a great chippy dinner since I moved here. Living in Chorlton, the best I've come across were the Baths Supper Bar or the one up by the top of Seymour Grove by the tram stop. Other than that, they are all terrible. Atlantic is the worst. I love getting a chippy dinner when I go back home, I really miss it.

Adam RichmondMay 5th 2011.

Ed, how do you remove your surname from posts? Adam should suffice!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMay 5th 2011.

Click the 'Post as' menu below the rant box and choose either Anonymous, your nickname or enter a name in the text box to post as that name.

the Whalley RangerMay 5th 2011.

well done ManCon

Eminem HaddockSeptember 4th 2011.

Bourgeois chips for the bourgeois. Too expensive, and over rated, just like Frankies on Burton Road. Battered Cod in Withington far better.

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