Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Little Harp, Clevedon, Somerset

There is something special about fish and chips by the seaside. Rough sea breezes abrading your face; the assault on your nostrils of salt and wet sand; the almost unbearable heat of the chips through the paper on your lap; soggy, oily fingers;  that first bite when it is all way, way too hot; the giant wedge of batter that separates from the fish that you try to fold into your mouth; scrunching up the empy wrapper with icky fingers in a warm, euphoric haze.

Well, you won't get that here. Don't get me wrong, this is a very acceptable and inexpensive haddock and chips at £8.49, served with peas or mushy peas. I had the latter but they had clearly run out and resorted to mulching the ordinary peas in a blender. Generous portion of fresh fish, thick cut and crispy chips. In good weather the extensive garden would allow you to enjoy this in full view of the ocean but there's a conservatory attached that provides the same view in the warm and the dry. Good access provided. Though there are lower and upper floors there was enough room on the ground floor for wheels, decent turning circles and tables with plenty of space.

But this is not in any way a seaside experience. This is a chain - Old English Inns - with all the expected accoutrements of slightly gourmet offerings, no table service (except when they bring you the food), and the vague feeling that you should get a move on. If you are forced in here because it is too chilly to go elsewhere, entertain yourself by counting how many times you can use the adjective 'generic' in conversation.

Latte: *****
Access: *****
Chips: *****

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