Cannon’s Fish & Chips

Posted by Adrian Essex on Opinion8 

I’ve been to Cannon’s Fish and chip takeaway (where Pizza Bella used to be) three times now and it’s not really working for me. The first time the place was full of people just standing about. It wasn’t the slightest bit clear what they were doing or waiting for, nor how the ordering / queuing system worked. The counter had a long row of bits of till roll paper stuck to it, reminiscent of Albert Steptoe after a specially close shave. Assuming this was the waiting list of fish yet to be fried I decided not to wait.

The second time I wanted cod and chips, wrapped. I had to answer the subsidiary questions “Do you want salt and vinegar on your chips?” and “what is your name?”. £8.50. When I got it home the huge paper bag contained a second paper bag with chips (read this Guardian article), a cardboard box with fish, a plastic container with tartare sauce and a slice of lemon. It was good enough.

Then the third time. Now there is a rail present with a black curtain dangling from it, which does nothing to clarify the queuing system. Indeed seeing my bemused expression one of the bystanders explained that he was not queuing to order, but to collect. So I tentatively approached the till. The chap in front of me ordered plaice, whitebait and scampi. His scrap of till roll duly covered a nick on the bleeding counter. I asked for two regular cod and one large chips, wrapped. Till roll, salt and vinegar?, name? Go and stand over there. Now call me old fashioned but what I expect from a chippy when I ask for cod and chips, is bish, bash, bosh – there you are mate, in a matter of moments. Especially in a chippy with a queue. There is no excuse for not having a ready stream of cooked fish in the hot plate. But, no. I had to stand and wait while the plaice, the whitebait and the scampi were sourced, fried and wrapped. I had to answer the salt and vinegar question twice more (why can’t I do my own salt and vinegar?). So, this is not for me. I’ll be going back to George’s.

BTW, the answer “don’t tell him, Pike” to the question “what’s your name” would seem peculiarly apt.