Google ‘best fish and chips in the UK’ and you’ll likely end up on the same browser pages as me. Two consistent names on those lists are to be found on the coastlines of Yorkshires North Moors in Whitby; Trenchers – the UK’s number one chippy in 2019 – and Magpie Cafe, a beautiful black and white building down by the harbour. After being told that both was not an option for dinner the choice was literally the toss of a coin between the two. Within five minutes of parking we’re upstairs in the cafe, with a view of the sea over my right shoulder. It’s a very pretty view.

Now this being fish and chips it’s going to be a very quick piece. The cod was excellent, super fresh and steamed from within a batter that’s brittle and almost dainty. Put this as a stand alone and maybe it does make the top ten, but the chips are light in colour, and I’m not sure the beef dripping is hot enough given it’s soaked through the spud to leave a greasier mouthfeel than a Tory telling us to get used to austerity. The gravy and curry are in sauce jugs and have been bolstered by synthetic powders, whilst the tartare is in a squeezy bottle and is proof that if you can get a tartare through a nozzle it’s not a good tartare. Across from me is dressed crab and chips. The crab is very good, with just a hint of dampness.

Such is the film of beef fat in the mouth that we leave and immediately seek ice cream at a local stall to get it out. Working off lunch, we head up the 199 steps to the abbey ruins, following Draculas route after he arrived shipwrecked on the shoreline. After a pint in the beautifully situated Whitby Brewery, we take a seat overlooking a bustling harbour-side. Whitby is extremely pretty and it’s easy to see how eating any fish and chips here could feel idyllic. I think next time I’ll try the other one.


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