The local radio station Reading 107fm recently held a contest, where listeners voted for the best fish and chips in Reading. The chip shop that won the coveted title was the Lemon Plaice, on Norcot Road in Tilehurst. It's located on a busy main road and although there's limited parking outside the shop, you can park in the Co-Op car park on School Road and cut through the walk way to just outside the chippy. I'd heard a lot about it from neighbours and friends, who suggested I try it out. So I did.
The first thing that struck me about the place was the huge amount of choice on offer. As well as the usual species of fish such as cod, haddock and plaice, you can try skate, rock, pollock and basa, too. I wondered why they didn't offer the Mack Bap - I'll ask next time I'm in there.
The fish was white, sweet and flaky and the golden batter was fairly thin and crisp. Nothing like buying what looks like a large piece of fish from the chippy, and cutting into it and finding it's all thick batter with a tiny, dry little fillet hidden in a hollow somewhere inside. The fish here was a real joy to eat and it wasn't soaked in grease when I took it out of the paper.
Chips, I think, are much more of a personal issue. One person, before my visit, told me the chips were the best he's had, while another told me the fish was amazing but he preferred the chips from another chippy down the road. The chips here are chunky - more so than at other chippies in the area, but they're still crisp and have a lightness to them - we liked them.
What I loved the most (apart from the fish) at the Lemon Plaice was the atmosphere. In my 'usual' chippy, customers stand patiently and silently in line, while the server quite professionally, but a bit stand-offish, takes your order and your money and you leave. Here, you walk in and you feel like you've met your long-lost cousins. The ladies behind the counter are funny, talkative and friendly and the customers that came in while we were waiting for our order chatted to us, too. It looks clean, tidy and it's so welcoming.
Great portions, great service, and above all, great fish. I'll definitely be returning here. For more information, check out the news article on the Get Reading website or if you're local, pop down there yourself!
The Lemon Plaice is at 2 Norcot Road, Tilehurst, Reading RG30 6BU, Tel: 01189 427086