I must admit that chip shops are an area that we have almost entirely neglected from our questing consideration, thus far. This is for a few reasons: firstly, fish and chips for lunch is very filling, so it’s not something I long for in the middle of the day, too often; secondly, MJ eschews fried food; and thirdly, often when I do have a longing for chip-shop fare, my reviewing faculties are somewhat compromised by booze.
However, the Tailend has been on our list of places to visit for ages, but the opportunity has never quite materialised. As is often the way, I ended up there by accident, today. I’d intended on popping down to the Sicilian Pastry Shop on Albert Street, but my ankle is still knackered following a spill I took, last week, so I decided to curtail my walk and feed my aching limb with traditional fishy fare.
RUn by the former owner of the Anstruther Fish Bar, the Tailend is widely lauded as the best place for fish n chips in the city. They offer a good value lunchtime menu, with two courses for £8.35.
In a major crime, their soup of the day, a spicy red pepper, wasn’t ready yet, so I turned my attention to their Arbroath smokie pate, served with salad and oatcakes. I had their catch of the day, which today was sea bass, to follow.
My starter was brought very promptly, and was a smartly presented dish. The pate was chock-full of wonderful smoked-fish flavour, and the salad was crisp and fresh. I think a lighter oatcake may have worked better, though.
The “main event” fish n chips was a dish of similarly good quality. The helpful waitress recommended I have the fish served in crispy breadcrumbs and that proved a good choice. The chips were nice, chip-shop chips, with good flavour and crispness. The mushy peas were grand, and the accompanying tartar sauce had suitable piquancy.
So overall, I thought the Tailend had a really nice feel to it, with the smart café space used well. The grub was good, too. Is it the best in Edinburgh? It could be, but I haven’t been to enough chip shops, lately, to know, one way or the other. My recollection is that L’Alba D’Oro, on Henderson Row, offers something with a bit more wow factor.
Strangely, I don’t get the impression that “best chip shop in Edinburgh” is a crown that’s much sought after, these days. When I last asked the question of a group of folks, I got two answers: L’Alba D’Oro; or the Tailend. Given that I now have a understanding of what the Tailend has to offer, I think there’s room for others to come up with a product to challenge it, should they wish to do so, as I’m not convinced this was the definitive Edinburgh chip-shop experience.
Blythe scores the Tailend
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 14.5/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: Arbroath smokie pate and oatcakes; crumbed sea bass with chips and mushy peas
I drank: water
I wore: pinstripes
Total bill: £8.35