Review: Bardsley's Fish and Chips - Brighton

by - November 14, 2019

Situated close to the newly gentrified area of London Road and bordering the vast, green space of The Level, is Bardsleys fish and chip shop and restaurant. A hybrid of traditional fish and chips just as we know and love them; proper chip shop chips, crispy batter and pickled gherkins the size of boats and a sophisticated restaurant serving whole fish, grilled to perfection, garnished and served with your choice of salad, chips or both. I thought it was time this place got the exposure it deserves as such a long-standing citizen of Brighton, serving the locals as well as the transient folk who dip in and out of the city on holiday or over a few years as students. 

I took my mum and my boyfriend, Umbe and we certainly weren't the first. Bardsley's has a heritage, established in 1926, it's now almost one hundred years old and it's scoring 4.5/5 on Trip Advisor and 4.5/5 on Google. You can't argue with that dedication and ode to quality.

With the takeaway part of the shop on the left and the restaurant on the right, Bardsley's can accommodate large groups, intimate meals for two and everything in between. Large groups of students gather for cheap and cheerful celebrations while silver tops sit to share a main or two children's portions and foreign students take photos of each other eating the classics.

The owner, Mr. Bing Lee (pictured) works happily in the restaurant and gave us the most amazing customer service, alongside all of the staff, who were professional, relaxed and considerate. 

Boat sized gherkins!

Over the course of the evening, many people came and went, with Deliveroo orders flying out...

And I was especially excited to see GARLIC and CHILLI vinegars! What? I'm sure this isn't everywhere... I mean classic vinegar is incredible but hellooooo 
Offering a sophisticated selection of wines by the bottle, French cider, draught and bottled beers and spirits...
What I love is that you can also get a mug of coffee, a glass of milk or a Ribena. I LOVE that. That is so cool. That's like a menu you'd see in the trendiest bars of New York:

-Verve Cliquot $9,999
 - Glass of freshly squeezed cow's milk $19.99

ahhh, love it. Seriously though, it's down to earth and accommodating to all needs, tastes and requirements. 
Umbe and I had a prosecco each because it was there, the novelty factor alone alomst sold it, to find that in such a relaxed restaurant, and, of course, what I've learnt from dating an Italian is that Prosecco is intended to be enjoyed as an aperitif, not with a meal, buuuut I'm English and it's white so I'll have it with fish for a little while longer :)

For mains, the restaurant offers a range of variety of whole fish that you can have battered or grilled as well as a classic veggie option of a halloumi burger. For vegans or veggies, special arrangements can be made with the team for alternatives. Just ask. 

The sharing starter was incredible. Prawn cocktail, but actually they were crayfish tails, calamari, crisped to perfection and grilled whole king prawns* all garnished with ENOUGH lemon! YES! It's so refreshing not to have to ask for more!!!! 
*I am amazed that Umbe is so refined that he can de-shell prawns (of any size) with a KNIFE AND FORK! I think I need to go on that programme, lad to laddette (Hands are fine though, guys. We are all animals anyway)

One highlight of the whole experience was the homemade authentic garlic mayonnaise, a new addition to the menu that definitely got a big thumbs up from us (and Max Miller pictured on the wall a few times!) It's cool to find something real like this in a place where standard condiments normally get pride of place because everyone loves the classics like mayo, ketchup, tartare and sure, they are still there but to offer an additional range - such as the chilli vinegar, the garlic vinegar and this homemade garlic mayonnaise just sets it above other fish and chip restaurants. 

And when do you ever see a chip shop pickled egg, served so beautifully?!

Umbe had the skate, which is also a rarity to find in a lot of fish restaurants. This takes me right back to my childhood. I used to love eating the meat off the top half, then turning it over to enjoy the same amount of meat on the other side. With large, easy bones (visible) skate allows one of the easiest fish eating experiences going.
Bardsleys Fish and Chip shop
Look at that view. Seagull porn.

seabass on a plate with salad

I mean, have you ever seen a seabass serving as big as this? In a chip shop?! Massively appreciate a large salad as well. Especially with grated carrot. Grated carrot is so underrated and underrepresented. I was stuffed by the end of this and definitely got my protein quota for the day. 

My mum went old school and had the cod roe and chips with a side of mushy peas. You can't go to the chippy without adding a cheeky tub of mushy peas. I absolutely love mushy peas because they are so innocent, a baby food, and are so quintessentially English! So at once, mum, me and Umbe, the Italian were all three delighted and intrigued at the bowl of green magic.

I know you're from Italy, Umbe, the home of some of the sexiest cuisine in the world, but you can't argue with one of these chip shop chips, can you?

The interior is a nod to the 50s and 60s with the glass fish and brightly coloured lit screens while the restaurant showcases the career of the much loved Brightonian Comedian, Max Miller.
We finished with a sticky toffee pudding because you always have to when it's on the menu and it was served with the correct amount of custard: loads. I love English cuisine. Thank you, Bardsleys!

So grab a takeaway to sit and eat in one of the nearby green areas of the city (less seaguls than the beach!) or sit down for a full restaurant experience.

You can find their website here
Their Deliveroo here
and their Trip Advisor here

Have you been? I'd love to know what you thought. Let me know in the comments below and until next time, lots of love,
Jenna x 

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