Sometimes you’re just lucky. Like I was when I’ve heard about these vegan Fish & Chips from Sutton & Sons, only a few days after arriving in London. And like you are, when reading this, because now you’re able to include the restaurant into your next London trip’s intinerary. And you should. Here’s why.
Vegan Fish and Chips with “fish” made of two seaweed marinated and battered banana blossoms, fried in peanut oil.
Vegans and Fish & Chips are two things you normally wouldn’t say in one sentences. But there’s always an exception to the rule, and this one is especially interesting – vegan Fish & Chips, created by the family-run restaurant chain Sutton & Sons. Though “chain” might be a bit exaggerted, with three locations in London (Islington, Stoke Newington, Hackney Central). I went to the flagship store in Newington, though the vegan menu is also available at the Essex Road location in Islington. Whereever you go, their veganized version of classic Fish & Chips will blow your mind. Just take a look at this video, to get you started …
Thanks to this video, the unusual vegan menu got loads of attention. Unusual, because you wouldn’t expect anything vegan in a Fish & Chips store, and yes, it is a whole menu with a “fish” burger and chips, a classic “prawn” cocktail, “fish” cake, and of course the said Fish & Chips dish.
How Do They Do It?
As mentioned beforehand, the fish is made of a banana blossom. The ingredient is quite unusual, but helps the restaurant to achieve a texture as near to fish as possible. Which is one of the three things they promote the dish with: It looks like fish, it has the same texture and tastes the same. To achieve the taste, the banana blossom is marinated in spices and seaweed for 24 hours, before being fried in the restaurant’s own vegan batter. And peanut oil, as I was told. Not like many other restaurants, where there is no animal in the dish, but something is fried in animal fat.
Does it really taste like fish? Well, that’s a whole other question. But let’s start with the texture. I watch three people ordering asking for the vegan menu while waiting for my portion. Once it arrived, the looks of it already made me happy. It’s quite a big portion of thick chips and two pieces of “fish.” Covered with batter, they remind of fried fish and are almost convincing. Almost, as the leavy structure of the banana flowers can be seen despite the batter.
However, as soon as you fork in and begin to cut the first slice, it get’s fascinating: The blossom has a fibrous, super soft texture that reminds so much of fish, that I can’t stop forking around the blossom and looking at it. The color was very fishy, as you can see in the pictures. And because the flower is really soft, you can easily pull it apart using the fork, which, believe me, I did over and over again in between taking bites. The similarity texture-wise was mind-blowing and absolutely fascinating.
The first bite was surprising, because is was not only slightly fishy, which was to be expected, but also a bit sweet-lemony. This made it different from eating real fish, but I only tasted it in the first few bites. You soon get used to it.
I’ve gotta say, I’m not a big fish fan, but besides canned tuna for salad or pizza, fried fish is the only fishy dish I eat. Which is because the fish taste is not that strong due to the batter. Anyways, to me, this was almost the same: the blossom tasted slightly like fish, but not that much. Which I liked a lot. Especially when you dip it in ketchup – sorry! – there’s absolutely no difference. As real fish, this vegan version worked well with the batter and the chips. The only difference: If you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself fascinated by every single bite.
All in all, this is not only a dish with a fascinating idea, but has also been excuted perfectly! As a meateater you can take your vegan friends, and as vegan you’ve got a whole menu for yourself – in a fish & chips restaurant! Absolutely awesome. Also, the price is of 8.50£ is reasonable, the atmosphere was relaxed and the service was extremly good, quick and friendly. A visit that’s 100% worth it. Now write it in your intinerary.
How to Find Sutton & Sons
90 Stoke Newington High Street
London N16 7NY
Mon – Thu: 12 – 10pm
Fri – Sat: 12 – 10:30pm
Sun: 12:30 – 10pm