Proper Fish and Chips: Moxie’s, Clapham
Nearly every chip shop in London claims to be the ‘best ever’. In fact it’s almost a rule that if a chippy doesn’t claim to be ‘the ultimate chippy’, then it isn’t a chippy at all. However, in London especially, there are some chip shops that exceed the expectations of even the most experienced fish and chip connoisseur. Moxie’s is one of them.
A small but impressive fish bar in south Clapham, Moxie’s is a favourite amongst locals and strangers alike. Day and night, customers come in and out of the various kebab, chicken and pizza shops along Westbury Parade, but Moxie’s is the only shop with a queue out of the door at least twice a day. Setting it apart from other fish bars, Moxie’s maintains a high standard of fresh, quality ingredients; the fish is so fresh that the shop smells like a seaside cafe, rather than the stench of greasy potato that fills most of London’s chip shops.
Whilst other chip shop menus are clogged by deep fried extras such as battered sausage, kebab meat and the dreaded puka pie, Moxie’s menu consists of what you’d expect from a premium fish bar: simply, fish and chips. Simple, however, does not always consitute boring. In fact, Moxie’s menu offers an extensive range of fish from meaty, flaky hake to succulent, juicy tuna steak.
Customers have a choice of either chargrilled, grilled or battered fish. If you’re an avid fish fan and looking for something spectacular, go for chargrilled trout, sea bass, tuna steak or mackerel – all served whole and chargrilled on the bone. You can also opt for a chargrilled skewer of the biggest king prawns you’ve ever seen – fantastic when dipped in their homemade chilli and garlic sauce.
For those of us who aren’t brave enough to try and tackle a whole chargrilled fish (eyes, tail and all), Moxie’s also offer a selection of grilled and, of course, battered fish. Grilled options include squid, sea bream, mackerel and everyone’s favourite: salmon. Crispy on the outside and tender in the middle, the salmon at Moxie’s is fuschia pink before cooking and maintains it’s rosy hue when served.
Grilled fish is an ideal option for anyone who doesn’t fancy a calorific chippy dinner, but the salmon here is so indulgent that you can’t help but still feel a little guilty; it seems almost impossible that food can taste this good and not be all bad for you. Homemade tartar sauce -a blend of Moxie’s own mayonaise, parsely, tarrogan and capers- compliments all of the fish perfectly, and will make you scoff in the face of anybody who dares to offer you a sachet of Heinz ever again.
Although not a fan of mushy peas myself, Moxie’s mushy peas were enough to make me reconsider my stance on the chip shop staple. The peas are made in house: soaked overnight, cooked and mixed with sugar, salt, pepper and butter to create the perfect side for any fish dish.
Of course it wouldn’t be a British fish bar without the traditional battered fish, and you can’t get any more British than a hearty portion of battered cod and chips. A mountainous pile of fluffy, golden pieces of potato delight underneath a monster piece of cod: this is the real deal. Unlike other fish bars, the batter at Moxie’s is light, cripsy and doesn’t overpower the taste of the fish but instead compliments it massively. The cod is the freshest I’ve ever tasted, and if you close your eyes while you eat it you can almost imagine you’re by the seaside.
Moxie’s is a living testament to the fact that there is more to a chip shop than just fish and chips. As well as the obvious, you can also pick up battered calamari, scampi, home made fish cakes and spicy fish bites. If you’re lucky enough to visit when skate fish is on the menu, make sure you try skate knobs: these are the meaty parts of fish between the bones of the skate’s wings, deep fried and delicious.
If you ask nicely, Moxie’s are happy to order in fish especially for you -if you fancy a bit of lobster ring ahead and they’ll pick up a live one from Moxon’s, a well established fish mongerer round the corner.
For food that’s as fresh as it gets, cooked with love and pride and service that makes you want to leave a tip, Moxie’s is well and truly worth a visit.