Four chippies in the Greater Manchester region have been ranked among the Top 50 in the entire country.
Fry Magazine, which publishes an annual list of the best places in Britain to grab a chippy tea, has released its official rankings for 2021.
A quartet of local cafes have made the prestigious list – which is arranged in alphabetical order.
The magazine performed a series of unannounced mystery dining visits throughout the year, marking shops and mobile units on over 40 aspects including food quality, customer service, social media presence and COVID-safe practices.
Outlets were also assessed on the “flakiness of the fish, the crispness of the chips and the crunch of the batter, alongside value for money.”
Fry editors said that despite the challenging conditions of the past year, entrants “didn’t let standards slip” – with the quality benchmark said to be the highest in the awards’ history.
The Greater Manchester venues named on the list were as follows…
Chips @ No.8, Prestwich
First up was Chips @ No 8 – a cafe made famous for having a 20ft mural of The Fall frontman Mark E. Smith painted on the side of its building.
But despite the artistic flourish on the exterior of the chippy, it’s always been the grub that truly keeps customers coming back.
Owners stated in a Facebook post: “There are more than 10,500 fish and chip shops in the UK and our little chippy down a side street in P-Town has been listed in the Top 50!!!
“This is a prestigious list and we’re incredibly proud to have made it.
“Thank you to everyone who has supported us, everyone who has queued on a Friday.”
Sykes, Pendlebury, Salford
Sykes is one of the most popular chippies in Salford – finishing top of a ‘Best Chippies’ poll voted on by MEN readers in 2020.
It’s a venue that’s no stranger to acclaim, so it was unsurprising to see the beloved Pendlebury fry house make Britain’s Top 50.
Nonetheless, the owners reacted to the news with delight.
“With thousands of entries Sykes is proud to be named one of the UK’s top 50 fish and chip takeaways,” read a statement on social media.
“This is a prestigious award and the competition was high.
“We would like to thank all our loyal and supportive customers and those who have queued on our busy teas aswell as the wonderful team we have working with us.
“Really great to see other amazing Manchester fish and chip shops making the list!!!!”
The Little Chippy, Tyldesley
Also making the Top 50 was the humbly-named Little Chippy in Tyldesley – a cafe that whips up tasty portions that defy its diminutive name and stature.
Based on Elliott Street, the cafe reels in five-star reviews on a regular basis – and owners said being named on the Fry Magazine list was a “great honour.”
“To make it onto the top 50 Chippy’s in the U.K. with our 1st entry in the awards is fantastic!” they stated.
“So glad to see so many other Manchester based chippy’s to make the list.
“We couldn’t do it without our dedicated team of staff and all our lovely customers who have stuck with us over this last 12 months.”
The Fish At Goose Green, Wigan
Last but certainly not least was The Fish At Goose Green – the Wigan takeaway with slick branding and a deliciously expansive menu featuring pies, seafood and chicken as well the classic fish & chips.
Owners welcomed the “fantastic news” after a “hard year”.
They stated: “We are extremely proud of our staff and are thankful for the continued support from all of our customers.
“I think there’s only one thing left to say… who’s up for a Chippy tea?”
You can view the full list of Fry Magazine’s Top 50 chippies online here.
Food & Drink
Guardian critic Grace Dent raves about ‘pointedly bonkers’ Manchester restaurant Musu
The food critic Grace Dent has published a rave review of one of Manchester’s new restaurant openings, Musu, bestowing national kudos on the Bridge Street eatery.
Referred to by the Guardian reviewer as ‘very possibly the most expensive restaurant in Manchester’, in a glowing write up she compares it to ‘the Starship Enterprise, albeit one with geishas on the walls and a £110 seven-course menu’.
Already a favourite of Ilkay Gundogan’s notoriously hard-to-please wife (it’s the only eatery she’s praised since famously saying that the Manchester food and drink scene was ‘horrible’), thankfully, Musu has now found a more discerning reviewer to recommend it.
Dent opens by advising ‘all who have already taken terrible umbrage that Musu even exists’ to ‘abandon reading this review here’, before going on to say she, personally, is ‘rather cheered that there are still people north of Watford who have the faith and gumption to open places as pointedly bonkers as this.’
The 55-cover restaurant is described as being ‘as dark in places as Adrian Mole’s bedroom’, with plenty of attention paid to its ‘theatrical’ detailing.
A glass-fronted private dining room that, ‘at the touch of a button, turns frosted’, gets a special mention, as does Musu’s bold ‘Japanese murals, globe lighting and […] nakedly open kitchen’.
But the real praise is reserved for the cooking of chef Michael Shaw, formerly of Gordon Ramsay Inc and Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, hailed as ‘minuscule portions of exquisite pleasure that linger in your mind.’
As she reels through the seven-course tasting menu, praising each dish as she goes, things go from great to excellent.
At one point, after digging into Musu’s sashimi (described as ‘ three of the finest pieces of sashimi imaginable’) she proffers: ‘I felt like handing my badge back there and then – it’s over; I won’t ever taste better’, before moving on to another ‘outstanding’ dish.
If there is a criticism, it’s that upon finishing the seven courses she still finds herself hungry – commenting: ‘Very rarely – in fact, never – do I wish I’d chosen the longer tasting menu, though at £150 plus drinks, that would have been guaranteed to cause a reader revolt.’
This, in turn, leads to some good-natured musing on just who all these people are spending hundreds in ‘mobbed’ Musu on a Friday night, with Dent asking pointedly: ‘Where are they getting their money? None of them seemed to be the type to have Brink’s-Mat gold buried at the bottom of their garden.’
Summarising, she writes: “If you’ve already decided to boycott Musu over the sheer cost, the din and the small portions, I must at this point stress that the food is outstanding.
“Sure, Musu isn’t for everybody, but if someone else is funding your wanton extravagance, then drag them there. It’s unforgettable for many reasons: some of them are hilarious, yes, but mostly they’re just plain good.”
Read more:The best restaurants and bars to open in Manchester in 2022
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Food & Drink
Manchester brewery Squawk is opening a bar in the Northern Quarter
Manchester brewery Squawk is opening a new bar in the Northern Quarter this week, taking over the former Beatnikz taproom site.
Called Pelican, it is the first bricks-and-mortar site for the indie brewery favourite which first launched in Manchester ten years ago.
Until now, the brewery’s humble home has been located in an old railway arch in Ardwick and, for the first few years, it was just owner Ollie and his dog Bernie running the ship.
Over the years, though, it has grown into one of Manchester’s best-loved breweries – with Ollie slowly taking on new recruits along the way.
Now, as of this Friday, fans of Squawk’s locally-brewed beers will be able to head down to Dale Street for a taste of its famous fruity IPAs, light lagers and punchy sours.
The new bar will sit next door to Idle Hands cafe and take over the former home of Beatnikz Republic taproom, which sadly closed its doors in April last year.
With 14 keg and 4 cask lines in total, there’s plenty to tempt craft beer and ale fans with lots of room to host Squawk’s own beers alongside a wide variety of rotating guest selections.
As for those who aren’t into craft beer, there’s more on offer too with a beautifully-curated selection of wine and spirits to choose from as well as a mean hangover-curing Bloody Mary.
The bar will also host live music and a number of fringe events, with DJs spinning beats throughout the opening weekend and going forward.
Punters can also expect film nights, karaoke hosted by Andy Baukham of Wizard King fame, foodie offerings, games nights and Crafternoons for all and sundry to enjoy at Pelican when it opens its doors this Friday 31 March.