There was just enough time and room on this visit to Rick Stein’s fish and chips café which has a seating area for parts of the day, otherwise it is a chip shop with a roped off area to deal with the stardom it obviously has at peak periods.
It is set within a huge warehouse that is part of the brand, holding a Rick Stein shop and cookery school. Overall it indicated its very clever seizure of the market and again helps me to understand just why the name is so embedded in to Padstow. It strikes me that his early television work and very savvy marketing and business team have simply done a very good job on grabbing and subsequently dominating a place and idea early and then capitalise on it to the max.
There is obviously only so many ways fish and chips can be done but as a national treasure dish it is nice to see this place using beef dripping as opposed to normal cooking oil and is reportedly changed every day / other day (so I was told by the staff) and it did produce a lovely flavour. The batter was nice and crispy thin. In terms of restaurants it would be a little strange for me to grade it in comparison, but in terms of fish and chips, this was certainly in the top quadrant – not quite as biblical as Tom Kerridge’s at The hand & Flowers, but certainly very well done.
What was interesting here was that I learned where the brand issue comes in to play. My nearest was gutted to see the Camel Valley English sparkling wine that she had bought from Rick Stein’s shop at £37, in a family run wine shop and exactly the same bottle but for £33. My advice to get a refund and buy from the lovely little shop instead or ask to price match was ‘poopooed’, but this alerted me to the importance of exploring options before going to the brand, particularly when it has absolutely no affect on the product! Naughty, but shrewd Mr Stein! ?