Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Quality Chop House review - British cuisine in London's Farringdon

I was chatting with a British colleague the other day when I asked for recommendation for any restaurant that serves good British food. Let me provide some context to this conversation. London, which is very much like Singapore in this aspect, is literally a metropolitan melting pot when it comes to offering cuisines from a variety of cultures, which of course means that Londoners are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out. So much so that the British cuisine fades into background.


Anyway, my colleague looked stumped for awhile before suggesting The Quality Chop House. Incidentally, it is just across the road from Little Bay Restaurant. I called the restaurant that Friday afternoon and was able to make a reservation for dinner on the same evening.

If first impression counts, The Quality Chop House scored a ten on the onset. That was despite being located around half a kilometre from Farringdon Tube Station, which is apparently the nearest station. The exterior reminded me antique food shop that one would probably find at the turn of 19th century. Although it sat right next to the ever busy Farringdon Road, it nevertheless retained much of its charm.
More London restaurants/eateries - London Chow

The+Quality+Chop+HouseGiven its Victorian exterior, I was pleasantly surprised by its post war interior furnishings. There was ample seating capacity with its counter stools and perched tables and chairs. Those who fancy some privacy could opt for compartment tables instead.

Since we went to the restaurant looking for British food, what could be more appropriate than ordering just that? We ordered Eggs, Bacon Chop and Chips (£9.95), Battered Pollock (£12.95) and English Breakfast Tea for two (£4.50). How well such staples are done is usually a good indication of whether the rest of the menu would turn out.

We spent a good 45 minutes sipping our breakfast tea while waiting for our food to be served. Credit must be given to the two ever smiling female staff who were literally running around serving customers who were slowly filling up the cosy restaurant.


The Bacon Chop did not disappoint. It was done just right - not too salty or oily with a sliver of fats running through its length. Accompanying it are two eggs fused together with their yolks still runny. The chips are… well, chips.


What really made our day was the Battered Pollack. Though the portion could have been more generous, the batter was done just right leaving the flakes of fish fresh and tender on the inside. With mash peas and chips, that was easily one of the best fish and chips we have ever tasted in London.

Looking to tuck into British cuisine and yet tired of the bustle of the City? Look no further than The Quality Chop House.

The Quality Chop House
94 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3EA
Telephone: 0871 3328550

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FĂ«anor said...

Did you go to the Little Bay, then?

Dutchie said...

Mentioned fish n it takes me back to Sg where we hv them practically every day - simple fried mackerel, steamed pomfret or those deep fried fish covered in thick sambal at the malay stall ! Weekend treats with McFish filet or fish-n-chips in some upscale kopitiam .. all finger licking good *big grin*.

I hv never touched raw fish bec mom took care of it. Now I'm just turned off by the smell, whether if it's the supermarkt or the snack shop displaying pre-cooked fish. The fresh market on thursdays however draws a big crowd with their freshly fried fish snacks. Yes, there it smells so good - € 5,00 for 3 pieces n it does satisfy one's craving :-)

Fish is generally considered an expensive dish to put on the table.
Quite recently our local supermarts r offering frozen tilapia (white fish) at 3,69/600 grams. I started visualising making fishballs, steamed fish with fermented soya beans, deep fry with a crispy coating, fish curries, fish porridge, etc ... until some dude posted a scary account on google. The Vietnamese river where they farm the fish is polluted with industrial toxins from the factories nearby. I hv checked with the dutch importer n they confirmed that the fish does come from Vietnam.

Does anyone know if there is any truth in such a claim ?

Canucklehead said...

British cuisine? Is this some sort of oxymoron - like say, jumbo shrimp or sober as a judge?


SheR. said...

Hey Dutchie!!
I've heard similar issues concerning the prawns in Singapore too. My father told me that they were fed with animal corpses.. that accounts for why those farmed prawns usually have black deposits at the heads...Eeks!

I have to say.. British food is badly underrated. I would consider it Comfort Food. Simple food that is fills you up! I'm missing it right now!!!

SheR. said...

Oh.. CK..
Any idea why restaurants serving Brit food are called "Chop House"???

C K said...

No I didn't. Walked past it on my way to The Quality Chop House. It was packed to the brim. Perhaps it was last day of its 'pay what you think it's worth' promotion. In terms of ambience, I think Quality Chop wins hands down. Not sure about the food though.

Haha, ah... those good o' 'Western Food' stalls. I remembered a Briton who visited S'pore was amazed at those stalls that claimed to sell western food. The funny thing is that you'll never find chicken chop over here in the UK but that's easily one of my favorite back home. Hmm...

The fishes here are priced at around a couple of pounds each. A sea bass weighing half a kg will cost you around £4.99 without any promotion. Not sure where that come from but it looks (and tasted) pretty fresh though.

Speaking about frozen fishes vs 'fresh' fishes, the wet markets always claim that theirs is the freshest as their fish aren't frozen. Then again, aren't those merely being thawed before hand?

Haha... you should have seen my colleague's face when I asked him to recommend a restaurant that serve 'good British food'. :)

C K said...

Seems that we've posted our comments at the same time!

Is that why? I noticed that the prawns sold in the UK are really clean (no black deposits).

I agree that the British food is underrated. But compared to the many cuisines that has taken over London, the traditional British cuisine may taste a tad too bland. Would you agree?

I've got absolutely no idea why they are called 'Chop House'. I've not come across any other Chop Houses. Any to recommend?

SheR. said...

Ah CK!
The former Conran restaurants that sell Brit cuisine are all name ChopHouse. There's one near the Bank area (Paternoster ChopHouse) and Shad Thames Chophouse.. right next to LE Pont de la Tour.. Curious leh..

Eh.. who says Brit food is bland?? Fish and Chips, Curry(???), Sticky Toffee Pudding, Jam Doughnuts,... tell me they are bland...

SheR. said...

Eh.. sorry don't mean to Spam you comment box... I googled ChopHouse and got a wikipedia article.. ChopHouse is a SG pun for Shophouse???


Martin In Bulgaria said...

I used to attedn Kingsway Princeton College and have been to this eating place. Can't remember that much about it I'm afraid, it was so long ago.

Have you been to a traditional British pie and mash shop yet? It used to be cheap, but became fashionable and expensive before I left the UK. Mushy peas and a steak pie I used to love it.

jakill said...

For Olde English food, you could also try the Cheshire Cheese, a very ancient pub in Fleet Street, believed to have been frequented by Dickens and other famous historical figures. If things haven't changed in the last ten years, you can get a mean steak pie with chips, etc.

EastCoastLife said...

hmmm... and I thought the British were only famous for their fish and chips.

Dutchie said...

Hi Sher !!

Eeks indeed - I'm surprised the inspection of food n agriculture allows those prawns to emerge in daylight, let alone give their approval for consumption !

Actually hubby has seen some disturbing facts abt deepsea fishing that he puts him off seafood since he was 17.
However, alternating between pork n chicken does limit one's palatable pleasures. That's when I go for my bit of fish-n-chips when he's away :-).

Dutchie said...

CK, I too suspect that products labelled as fresh could very well hv been frozen n then thawed for sale. How else can meat be processed n kept fresh b4 distribution to various outlets around the country ? At least that's my observation when encountering yet another pack of meat with water contents underneath.

I hv tried frozen n so-called fresh chicken n they both taste the same.

Haha .. didnt realised that chicken chop is not western food ! McDonalds here offer snacks which r typically dutch, along with the usual burger-of-the-month variaties. Must be strange for tourists to encounter those ragout croquettes. Gordon Ramsey, being his ungracious self, said something very nasty when served this dutch yummy.

Casey Brown-Myers said...

This maybe a dumb question but what is a "bacon chop?" Is it just thick bacon?