Delicious as they are, fish and chips tend to weigh heavily on the stomach. With a large dose of carbohydrate and fat coursing through your veins comes the desire to sip tea, curl up on the floor in a darkened room, and boil mushroom soup for dinner. It's perhaps foolish then to attempt two in one day, but Renton always had an excuse for feeding his addiction and so did I. Friends from out-of-town looking to sample a hit of Ye Olde English Fish 'n' Chips for lunch - the best the Mother Superior had to offer, although even he may have baulked at dousing the batter with eight spoons of English mustard - followed by an invite to Sutton & Son's from Hoxton Radio's very own Richard Branson.
Stoke Newington High Street is a typical London mess of shops selling one pound bowls of fruit and cheap phone-cards, interspersed with quirky coffee shops and old boozers now scrubbed, tarted, and serving wine by the bottle. Sutton & Son's definitely falls in to this new London category. What could have been a standard greasy fryer has been kitted-out neatly with wooden tables and benches, a cabinet of fresh fish with heads intact, beer from Hackney, wine from further-a-field, and a menu of more than just good batter and chips. Based on the queue at the counter they were clearly doing well on the batter, so I took the opportunity to branch out. My stomach still squirming under the weight of lunch, the fish pie caught my eye and the managers ringing endorsement sealed the deal. He wasn't wrong. While some pie addicts may cringe at the use of the word for something covered in mash, not pastry, I've not had a fish pie without it. Underneath this layer of golden potato lay a creamy sauce coating prawns, chunks of salmon and haddock. Rather than buried beneath a mound of seasoning and (yet more) mustard, as with so many fish pies, the flavour of the fish shone through here. Nor was flesh substituted with boiled egg - a classic trick of the tight chef - this was a healthy hit of fish for your money. The broccoli on the side was fresh and tender, perhaps too much salt, but then I was feeling slightly sensitive to the stuff after a day of over-indulgence.
Not being as far from central London as I first thought, Sutton & Son's is definitely worth a trip. So once Santa delivers some waterproof trousers, jump on your bike and peddle hard through the rain. Richard Branson did and I don't think he regretted it either.