Welcome to Manchester Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Manchester ConfidentialFood & DrinkBritish.

Frankies Fish Bar review

Gordo finds some lovely haddock, some great tartare sauce and uses Tom Bloxham to forget his love life

Written by . Published on March 29th 2010.

Frankies Fish Bar review

Twitter. It’s a strange thing, as is most of this ‘social networking’.

Facebook is something that Gordo dips into every now and again to check out the divorcees, but is generally bored of. Twitter has found a part in his affections because it’s a bit like sharing a party line and gossiping with pals on a Saturday night when everyone is watching reality TV. Is it the saviour of the advertising industry? Gordo thinks not, for reasons far too numerous to elucidate here. After all, it’s a food review.

But, there is a link to Twitter, as Tom Bloxham, the face of Urban Splash the property company is one of Gordo’s pals who bores the arse of him on Twitter by forever going on about Splash’s latest project, many of which remind Gordo of a trip to Poland twenty years ago. However, every now and again Tom shows his human side by keeping in touch from a weird location such as a charity trek in the middle of the Sahara. Or, more interestingly, a chippie on Burton road in Didsbury.

Now, this review was going to be about the Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols. Gordo had invited the ex-squeeze for lunch, as he likes to stay on good terms with exs and is always prepared to apologise for his increasingly appalling sexual habits whilst trying to demonstrate a cuter side. A good, leisurely lunch with a bottle of Condrieu generally does the trick to soften them up and stop them telling their pals what an arsehole he is. He can also get away with charging it to expenses if he does a review.

Alex and Katie

The phone goes at a quarter past eight.

“Is that you Fatty?”

“Err, yes”, replies Gordo, wiping sleep from his eyes.

“Right, I need to move this lunch from one to twelve, I am on a big night out tonight with my Sister, and I want to go to the hairdressers at three. And I won’t be drinking as I am driving. So let’s get it over and done with. And don’t for one minute be thinking that I will soften my stance with you”.

“Ooh, OK then”, says the fat weakling. He puts the phone down and goes to the loo. Coming to his senses, Gordo thought she could at least have made the effort to have her hair done before lunch. He phones her back.

“That you love? Yes? OK, fuck right off.”

Gordo slams the phone down thinking it may be a while before he is on the Christmas card list with that one, but feels a lot better for it. Cathartic may well have been the right word.

Frankies Fish Bar

A few hours later, coming out of Axons the butchers in Didsbury at twelve thirty, £50 lighter, Gordo remembers one of Tom’s tweets recommending a new chippie in the locality and calls another ex, a local, Leach the Peach, to find out where it is.

The Peach is in the Co-op trying to stop her 86-year-old father being arrested for criminal damage to assorted packets of Kraft processed foods; he disapproves of an American company taking over Cadbury’s. “Burton Road, it’s called Frankies . Dad, if you don’t step away from the bloody soft cheese….”

Gordo arrives outside the chippie. ‘Frankies Fish Bar. Traditional Fish and Chips’ declares the sign. It has a few tables and chairs outside, a black wrought iron railing with four wicker oblong baskets with greenery.

The interior is contemporary with exposed bricks on one side and white tiles on the other. You can eat in or take out, the tables on the inside appear to be made of driftwood; a lot of thought has gone into this chippie.

RusticFish, chips, peas and tartar sauce

The specials board promotes Axons sausages. Axons is getting everywhere. Their JD and Coke Sausages were on the board. Gordo isn’t impressed by most sausages, but their pork and black pudding variety are a complete stand out.

Frankies is named after one of the owner’s grandfathers, Frank Hayes, who opened his first shop in 1946. After it was demolished, he worked with Thompsons, probably the best chain in the North West, affectionately known as Tommy’s in places like Middleton. Back then, fish and chips were about 2p. Today, Gordo’s haddock, chips, mushy peas and tartare Sauce were £6.50.

Now small things in restaurants give critics clues to as to how well things are done. Take tartare sauce. It normally comes in a sachet, tastes cloyingly sweet and is riddled with ‘e’ numbers. Frankie’s is home made. It has chopped red onions, gherkins. It is correctly seasoned and absolutely heavenly, shot through with lemon juice and vinegar. This is the first time ever in any chippie Gordo has been presented with this.

Take out if you want

The mushy peas were of the correct consistency, yet again having been seasoned expertly. The haddock, as with the cod, comes from sustainable (eh, what's that mean, Ed?) Norwegian and Icelandic waters and is perfection. Crispy battered flaky fish is sat on top of a pile of chips and when Gordo cuts through the long fillet he is utterly delighted with the result.

Then a chip. Disaster. It’s just luke warm. A huge mistake because the basic quality is tremendous. Just at that moment, Gordo has another unique experience in a chippie. The waitress comes over and asks if everything is OK. Gordo tells her of the chip disaster. Forty five seconds later a second plate arrives steaming. Gordo forgives her, for she is an angel. Katie Ivett is her name and she is fab.

The only other mistake is a cold plate. Tea is lovely, served in proper porcelain that retains heat whilst pouring without dripping all over the table which is an improvement on Tommy’s.

Music is playing in the background, the locals are queuing at the counter for their take outs. This is a stand out experience. Tom Bloxham's taste in his fish and chips is not to be faulted.

Alex Hayes, grandson of Frank and his partner Chris Webb, both in their early twenties, deserve a pat on the back with this venture. Unlike Gordo’s love life, it is a triumph.

Teacups that work
Rating: 17/20
Breakdown: 7.5/10 food
5/5 service
4.5/5 ambience
Address: Frankies Fish Bar
178 Burton Road
West Didsbury
M20 1LH
0161 445 3300

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

Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

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

Hold 'EmMarch 29th 2010.

Sounds like the ex has got the measure of you there, Gordo. This really is a great Fish and Chip shop. I remember Tommy's, is it still going?

AgricolaMarch 29th 2010.

Ah yes chips. But where's the dripping? I tell you those veggies are out to steal all our meaty joys. Were any of your ex-girlfriends meaty joys Gordo?

CheesemanMarch 29th 2010.

Dripping made batter. I salivate. I pulsate. I levitate.

Dave SpannerMarch 29th 2010.

So is this a Gordo Go then? 17 out of twenty can't be bad for fish and chips. There's another one in stockport that's worth a look, ten mins from my office up by the market, cook their chips in dripping - YUM!

GordoMarch 29th 2010.

Dave, is it run by the same people (ie the one in Stockport?)

Dave SpannerMarch 29th 2010.

No idea, but they do brilliant fish and chips.

AvoMarch 29th 2010.

I took an ex to Harvey Nics on Friday. Barnsey behind the bar told me she looked hot.

NortherngeezerMarch 29th 2010.

Theres a distinct lack of decent chippys in Manchester so this ones at least worth a visit. Dave - Fess up with the name of the one in Stockport that cooks in dripping, i'm drooling in anticipation. I've ranted before on how good Yorkshire chippys are (much as it pains me) cos they tend to use nowt but dripping, veg oil's fer using on yer bike chain over there.

AvoMarch 29th 2010.

Didn't JS mention Dockers Fish and Chips in the Printworks and mention that it was pretty decent?

J E SibberingMarch 29th 2010.

Me 'n' my partner got bad food poisoning from eating haddock, chips & mushy peas from the Dockers (original) chippy in Prestwich. Shame, as I thought it was fairly good. Soon changed my mind though.

YumMarch 30th 2010.

That fish looks delicious. Even in the morning, before my eggs.

daddyorchipsMarch 30th 2010.

I must agree that the food there is excellent. However I do have one or two complaints.... 1) the staff are mostly pleasent except for one who seemingly thought working in a fish and chip shop was far too beneath her as were the customers and 2) the staff were looking for a quick exit and stacked chairs and mopped around customers eating in the dining area.
I hope to see their customers service skills improve as this really could be a fish and chip shop shaped jewel on Burton Road.

Tyson ThebeerhoundMarch 30th 2010.

Dripping is over rated. I've had it in Yorkshire chippies and it's no better than the best ones over here who use oil. It's just psychological.

Anyone who has worked in a traditional chiipy wil teel you it's all about the temperature and how long you fry them.

AgricolaMarch 31st 2010.

Dripping. Is. Best. It informs the flavour of the batter and makes things better.

NortherngeezerMarch 31st 2010.

Its all about opinions Tyson, and i agree with Agricola. Fish batter needs something to infuse it with flavour and dripping works a treat, it also makes yer chips taste better too. Vegatable oil is just plain tasteless.

MUSHYPEAZMANApril 1st 2010.

Fish was excellent - can think of nowhere else I know in Manchester that comes close. Chips could have been excellent - cooked well but had gone warm per Gordo's review. Mushy peas and gravy were both terrible - consistency and taste. Almost there - keep going! Will definitely go back.

GordoApril 1st 2010.

I liked their musshy peas; keep an eye on the chips Alex, something is going wrong there.

NortherngeezerApril 1st 2010.

Without trying to teach me granny to suck eggs (WTF does that mean anyway??), chips need to be double fried, light and fluffy on the inside, crisp and golden on the outer.

AnonymousApril 3rd 2010.

Come on Dave - tell us where to get fish and chips fried in dripping in Stockport. I've lived here 30 years and haven't found one. I wouldn't object to decent oils like sunflower but some of the hydrogenated stuff that's in used in most chippies can't be any better for your arteries than dripping.

John WildmanApril 3rd 2010.

Come on Dave.. etc - Not intended to be anonymous, must have hit the worng box.

thevultureApril 6th 2010.

Dave could be talking about the charles street chippy


I've tried phoning to see if the use dripping but no one answered

thevultureApril 6th 2010.

link broke.

new link


Michael WayneAugust 28th 2010.

Moved up from London to live in Manchester with my business and will try this place tonight. The BEST F&C´s are in London, Fleetwood and Whitby. The last F&C I had in Manchester gave me food poisoning. The only other establishment of note serving traditional is in Alderley Edge, but just a bit too far on a Friday evening from the City center. I read that the plates are cold. This was exposed by Gordo in Manchester Confidential. So I shall make sure I ask for hot plates. Shouldn´t have to, as any good restaurateur should do this automatically. Lets hope I am not wasting my money and that when I ask for a large Cod and chips it hangs of the end of the plate. The worst in Manchester so far was in the Liverpool Road shop. Went in and asked for a large cod boxed separately and large chips they looked at me as if I was stupid. Obviously he has never experienced what big city customers demand and want. The response was that all their fish is frozen and same size. The owner appeared with a tray of fish for the fryer. I turned round and walked out. Lets see what Frankies comes up with.
Date 27/8/2010

Michael WayneAugust 28th 2010.

Well, we went last night and were very pleasantly surprised. Very good indeed. Only 2 gripes.....
1. When we arrived we saw all tables were occupied. So we stood there and stood there and stood there. When I caught the eye of the very nice blond team member she asserted herself and asked the bloke who was reading a paper if he was dining.
"NO..he was just waiting for his take away". So she moved him and we sat down. The same was for another woman doing the same. NOTE TO OWNERS: Be strong and stop this. Put a sign up stating the obvious. "SEATING FOR RESTAURANT CUSTOMER ONLY" . Section of the the part of the wall near the till area with rope to keep the take-aways, away from the seats. I am paying double the price for sitting down and don't want some oiks being lazy at my expense and time.
2. The fish was great, steaming and moist. But please give the option to have a size at least double. Five mouth fulls and the fish was gone. In F&C restaurants in London there is an automatic premium added usually around £3 for the "Large" and that's what you get."BIG FISH" Apart from these two issues....WE LOVED IT...Thanks Frankies

JAugust 31st 2010.

Best fish and chips from London?

Are you having a laugh?

Oh and just because a customer sat down whilst waiting for thier food doesn't make them lazy or an oik!

Cheek of it!

Michael WayneAugust 31st 2010.

Put your glasses on and read the comment. They are lazy and they are OIKS. They want take away for a cheap meal. I pay double and expect and demand the service and that's what the proprietor is saying to me...come in and sit down and pay double for the privilege.
Quote"Best F& C are in London, Fleetwood and Whitby.

AlexJanuary 5th 2011.

My boyfriend made all the tables in this chip shop they are all made from oak and if I am a little biased I think he did an excellent job of giving this chip shop some character!!

AgricolaJanuary 5th 2011.

I think your boyfriend's great as well.

CarpenterJanuary 5th 2011.

Oak? I thought they'd be made of chipboard.

Michael WayneFebruary 9th 2011.

Interestingly enough I had posted twice, a constructive critique on Frankies blog page and on both occasions they removed them. I praised some things and pointed out the short comings which a business should take into account to try and improve on them in order to retain and get new clientèle. It seems that unless all your comments are "wonderfull and glowing" you get deleted. They have a lot to learn about business.
By the way 'Alex', your boyfriends tables work a treat. I have always liked the rustic and modern combo.
Benches are a bit wonky though. Have fallen backwards twice.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Eminem HaddockSeptember 4th 2011.

Ditto! I added suggestions to their website only for them to be taken down.

Eminem HaddockSeptember 4th 2011.

Took Mum Wife and two girls here. Nearly choked when they told me how much it cost. Over £40 it was, FORTY POUND in a chippy. Suffice to say we wont be using this establishment for our "chippy tea" again!

Stewie BMay 14th 2013.

Frankies has declined in quality over the last couple of years. It's re-opened as "Fishbait". Gave it a try last night; it's even worse. Soggy chips, soggy fish. And now there's no homemade tartar which was always its saving grace. Coming in at 7 quid, it's rather disappointing.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants


Going Good Friay - can not wait

 Read more
Henry V

Oh dearie me, it's the spelling police. Get a life you tossers.

 Read more

I go to GOT Alley and GONY Street quite a bit. The Best of British steak (which changes each month)…

 Read more

Interesting point. I think when you have a quickly growing population and a changing city it is…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2020

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code | SEO by The eWord