I’ve lived in Australia,#Australia now for over twelve years. I am often asked if there is anything I miss about the UK. To be honest, apart from friends and family, there is not much I do pine for. I certainly don’t miss the weather, or the traffic jams that’s for sure. That being said, I do miss proper English chip shop chips, fresh cut and thrown in a fryer. That’s why I am now prepared to drive for fifty minutes to my new favourite fish and chip shop. The Village chippy in Vasse.
This place was mentioned to me a few weeks ago and immediately my curiosity and taste buds were alerted. Could it be that after twelve years I could finally enjoy fresh cut chips again. Is it possible that a fish and chip shop could offer something different from the bags of frozen chips that every other chip shop around serves up? I am happy to report that the answer to both is a resounding yes.
We picked the perfect day to visit the Village Chippy.#Thevillagechippy The night before I had taken part in a wine challenge. A six-litre bottle of wine, (I think it’s called a Methuselah) consumed in one night by three brave men. We won the challenge but did not escape unscathed. To be frank, I was suffering a reasonable sized hangover. It took most of the day to recover. At four o’clock in the afternoon I had recovered enough and needed food One of our sons is on his L plates so we thought it an ideal opportunity for him to get some hours in. With a buzz of expectation, we set off for Vasse.
We arrived about fifty minutes later. Vasse New Town,#vassenewtown took me by surprise. It is quite a happening area. The shopping centre is growing all the time. We parked in the large car park behind Maccas. As soon as we got out of the car, the unmistakable aroma of fish and chips hit us. My mouth was watering already. My mind was racing Please let it be good, please let it be good.
We walked into the shop. The intoxicating smell intensified. There was a few tables and chairs dotted around. That was a relief as I wanted to eat my food fresh and didn’t fancy having to wait until we got back to Dalyellup. There was a huge menu over the serving area. Salivating— we all looked up with wide eyes and started to decide what to order.
The owners of the shop have done something clever here. They have not gone all out and marketed themselves as an English fish and chip shop. What they have done is created an Aussie/English fusion, and in doing so have kept everyone happy. If you like your Aussie style frozen chips—they’ve got them. Do you like gravy or curry sauce on your chips? Doesn’t matter—they have both! Fancy some mushy peas? Yeah, they’ve got them. English, Aussie, or wherever— they’ve got you covered!
So, after much deliberation, we ordered. Both our boys went for a fisherman’s basket. This consisted of fish, chips, squid rings, crumbed prawns, a crab stick and a can of drink, all for $19.50. Lisa and I ordered Cod and Chips, a good old English favourite. We had come all this way, so we might as well go all out! We also ordered pineapple fritters and of course, some mushy peas.#mushypeas The smiling lady behind the counter took our order.
“Do you want Aussie or English chips?” we looked up with smiles on our faces. She nodded
“That’ll be English then” I think she detected the accent!
“Help yourself to drinks from the fridge” she said pointing to the large refrigerator.
“A cup of tea would go down well with this” I laughed! She smiled back, but I don’t think the hint was taken.
We took our seats and waited with anticipation. We didn’t wait long. The boy’s baskets were brought out first. I must mention the portion sizes. Huge would be like saying the ocean is a bit wet!! So much food! The boy’s eyes lit up. The squid rings were melt in the mouth. The prawns were plump and tasty. Their fish was well cooked and the batter beautifully crispy. All of this on a huge mound of freshly cooked chips. I was beginning to wish I had ordered the same.
I needn’t have worried. Our cod and chips were brought up. The first mouthful of cod and I was transported back to my local chip shop in my home town. The batter had an almost buttery flavour and just melted in the mouth. The fish was white, firm and fleshy. Delicious! The mushy peas bought it all together—salty processed peas mashed to a velvety texture. Yum! The pineapple fritters were nice and added a fruity twang to what was shaping up the be an awesome fish and chip experience.
For me, today was about the chips, for those of you who have never had a bag of English chips, let me enlighten you. It’s sort of like a lucky dip. A chipping machine is used to cut the potatoes. In the bag you get everything from big fat chips to thin crispy ones which are generally the end of the potato. Flavour and texture everywhere! Most English chippies also offer onion vinegar to shake over your chips-this is basically the contents of a large jar of pickled onions minus the onions! Sublime!
I leaned towards Lisa and whispered “how the hell are we going to eat all this?” As I said it the lady returned to our table.
“Here’s the rest of your chips love” She placed another box full of these perfect chips in front of us.
Oh dear, I think we were going to be beat here!
“We’ve just put the kettle on if you still fancy that cuppa” She smiled. Looks like she did get the hint after all!
Needless to say, we were beaten. What we didn’t eat we took home. I have no shame when I say that I enjoyed a chip buttie for breakfast the following morning—think of me what you will!!
I have no reservations at all when I say, that this was by far the best fish and chips I have had since I moved to Australia. I love it that they have been brave enough to try something different. This has clearly paid off. We ended up having a lovely conversation with the two ladies that own this place. One is Australian and one is English, (she was from a town about half an hour away from where I lived). They explained that the fresh cut chips are so much cheaper to provide than the bags of frozen ones, that is why they give such huge portions. They are clearly enjoying their work.
Wherever you are from in this vast world of ours. If you love fish and chips and want something a little different. Drop it to The Village Chippy in Vasse. You’ll not be disappointed!