When I was little, Friday nights were chippy night. Dad would go straight to the pub from work and us girls would sit at home desperately waiting for the telephone to ring to say he was ready to come home. As soon as that call came through we’d all leap into the car, collect Dad (or rather drag him out to the car) and then make our way to the chip shop.
Someone would then be nominated and booted out the car to go and wait in the long queue; returning with a bag full of greasy goodness. Said person would then get their reward; they’d get to rip a hole in the paper of whichever bag was on top and put a steaming hot chip in their mouth whilst everyone else just watched.
Once home, the quickest ever table-setting scene would play out: Plates, knives, forks, drinks, sauces, salt and vinegar would all get to the table in record time. Mum would do the dishing-up and I’d be very happy with my handful of chips. Each week, my tastes would change; sometimes I’d dip them in ketchup, sometimes in salad cream (weird I know) and sometimes I’d just have them plain.
With age has come greed, and when I have chips now, I want more than just a handful and I want all the trimmings too. I usually flit between fish, chicken burger, battered sausage or chicken and mushroom pie, and then I also need the sauces. I’m not so much of a ketchup-and-salad-cream girl any more, more of a mushy-peas-and-curry-sauce type of person; but I can never choose, so usually opt for both.
Every neighbourhood has a good chippy - and a bad chippy - and a kebab shop claiming to be a chippy, but they actually sell fries not chips! We’ve got two chip shops within walking distance of our house (and by walking distance I mean the chips are still piping hot when you get home). But, for a real treat, we get in the car and drive to the best chippy in town – forget the neighbourhood!
It’s called Simpsons Fish and Chips and they have everything you could want from a fish and chip shop and more: They have special gluten-free days, daily specials and also team up with great local suppliers like Hobbs House Bakery for their bread and The Cotswold Brewing Company for their tipples.
After rigorous testing, we’ve found it’s just a bit too far away to get a take-away because the chips are luke-warm by the time we get home; so we only ever eat-in.
I usually spend ages deciding what I’m going to have, but the last time we visited my mind was made up as we walked through the door and their specials boards said, ‘fish finger sandwich’. So that was me sorted. Kingsley had the prime fillet of cod and chips, and to share we got the usual mushy peas and curry sauce. All of it was amazing; Kingsley even ordered a second portion of chips because he couldn’t get enough of them!
Next time you’re in Cheltenham, make sure you take a visit to Simpsons.