Food Review: Forget the posh nosh, head to Frydays instead
I blame a guy I’ve never met. Arun Kapur was having fun in the Twittersphere when he introduced people to his tea: the delicacy that is battered chips.
Mr Kapur, a man with a fabulous moustache based at Wolverhampton’s Light House, drifted onto my timeline with a photograph of orange chips wrapped in a greasy sheet of paper.
999 likes later, he’d sparked a debate with people from across the world on their favourite takeaway.
The replies were as delicious as the orange chips.
Laura Guy, in America, said she was basically passing out at the thought of eating them. Ash Bainbridge revealed that when he was sick his gran would buy him battered fish and chips, but take the batter off the fish so it was healthier.
Swizzle Necklace said Arun’s chips looked ‘lethal and delicious’ while Nigel J Walley said: ‘This is genius – I never knew’.
Not everyone was so generous. Ken Reaney said Mr Kapur’s tea – and, yes, it was his tea, not his supper or his dinner – was proof that people should never stray onto the M6, north-west of Birmingham.
Others, however, joined the debate as to who provided the best orange chips in the Black Country.
Dave Ralph suggested it was Majors of Bilston, Mr Kapur favoured East Park Chippie, in Wolverhampton, while Google offered a recommendation for Frydays, in Wolverhampton – and a load of photographs to prove the chips were indeed orange.
It wasn’t just the good people of Twitter who were raving about orange chips. Google reviewers were also having their say on a delicacy as unhealthily brilliant as faggots and peas or pork scratchings.
One man with a Rolex had filmed a YouTube video of himself eating at Majors, which opened in 1975 and lays claim to serving the world’s first orange chips. It also started a blog more than a year ago and has so far been busy posting precisely zero times – obviously too busy frying.
East Park Chippie had its own fans, with Gursewak Pooni raving about the cook’s performance: “The cheese was absolutely immaculate when you add a delicious side of chips, when you add a luscious bit of mushy peas to complement the flavour of the perfect golden brown and soft fish on the side. Boujie. And when he serves those plastic cheese poptarts my mouth waters instantly.”
Big Chad was similarly on board: “Tell Tanveer that his dad is very talented at chips and their poptarts are immense. Love you, Tanveer xx.”
And yet in the three-chip race between Frydays, East Park Chippie and Majors, Frydays drew me in. Maybe it was the fact their menu was bigger or maybe it was Simon McCulla’s definitive one-line review: “Great ppl awesome battered chips best I’ve found in the area!”
And so we made our pilgrimage to chow down on the Black Country’s finest delicacy – thank you Arun Kapur.
And while Frydays might not have gone viral in the way Binley Mega Chippy did – thank you Tik Tok – it was worth spending more on petrol than we did on food for an indulgent dinner that satisfied our cravings for carbohydrate, fat and salt.
Frydays is located on a proper Black Country estate. Unlike the regional restaurants that offer views over lakes, fields or 16th century listed buildings, Frydays offers a view of blocks of flats and a busy road.
Two men were before us in the queue, giving us ample time to peruse the menu and contemplate which special we should buy.
The regular bag of battered chips was nailed on; we’d not driven 20-odd miles just to eat a cone. Beyond that, we couldn’t leave without trying Frydays’ fish while we bolted on some onion rings, a meat feast pizza and a pot of curry sauce just to make sure we needed to spend the next four days fasting in order to return to our normal weight.
We waited 10 minutes or so for the pizza, which was spectacular.
And while it didn’t feature toppings that might win a Great Taste Award for provenance, it was thrillingly filthy.
The cheese had the texture of molten plastic and it satisfied a year’s worth of cravings in 12 wonderful slices.
The battered chips were even better. Coated in a delicate puffa jacket of orange batter, they had more crunch than car wheels on a gravel road.
We tore open the paper to avoid the batter going soft in the chips’ own steam and there was an audible snap as we bit into the golden – fine, they were orange – chips.
The onion rings were as sweet as the owners’ smiles, though arguably the least healthy thing I’ve eaten in living memory.
Like drinking hot oil – and, hey, who doesn’t enjoy that every once in a while? – they were encased in a crisp batter that was partially cut through by a hit of chip shop vinegar.
The fish, meanwhile, was tender and flaky while its batter was similarly good.
All the while the owners smiled, as did a team member who’d just returned from a holiday in the sun and celebrated by buying herself an £85 tattoo. Mighty fine it looked, too.
The curry sauce was gloopy and had been dolloped onto the fish and chips – personally, I’m never a fan of that: it sends the batter soft, but each to their own.
And there we had it. A journey that began with Arun Kapur’s Tweet about orange chips was complete.
Like The Stone Roses at Spike Island or Liam Gallagher at Knebworth, the reality couldn’t match the sky-high expectation.
But it was the most fun we’ve had at a restaurant – fine, chippie – in an age. The owners and staff were magnificent and the chips were downright bostin’, our kid.