I’m cockney, born and bred in Hackney which means that I was born within hearing distance of the Bow Bells. Being a cockney citizen has many responsibilities including understanding cockney rhyming slang (would you Adam and Eve it?), admiring the fashion trends of Pearly Kings and Queens and of course enjoying Fish and Chips on a regular basis. It’s really important for me to maintain my cockney heritage so when I was invited to sample the cuisine at Sutton and Sons I jumped at the chance (not literally of course, how many cockney high jump champions have you met? Don’t answer that please, this is a food blog). I went to their Islington Branch on Essex Road and was greeted warmly by their cool exterior, funky interior and friendly staff.
With a contemporary yet authentic setting Suttons and Sons succeeds in maintaining the traditional warm-natured setting of an East End Chippy whilst still being in keeping with modern times.
Sutton and Sons is owned by husband and wife team Danny and Hana Sutton, who also own a fishmongers on Stoke Newington High Street and all the fish served in their restaurants is sourced from their own fishmongers.
I wanted to taste pretty much everything on the menu but alas I do not have a bottomless belly so I opted for 1/2 a dozen snails in garlic butter to start whilst my foodie partner in crime went for battered calamari rings.The snails tasted as good as they look and honestly even though they are not normally part of a traditional East End chippy menu they were a welcome addition as part of the specials menu. The garlic butter soaked snails were wholesome and flavoured perfectly. I tried the calamari and you could definitely taste how fresh they were, not chewy or overcooked with the crispy batter and homemade tartar sauce, this was one of the best calamari starters I have tasted in a while.
I suddenly had a craving for an oyster and asked to try one Maldon Oyster and can I just say I was in heaven. I love oysters and after having just one of these I actually wished I had chosen 6 oysters to start with instead of the snails even though the snails were good the oyster I tasted made me want to move in and live in the restaurant. Juicy, fresh and succulent, everything the perfect oyster embodies in just one shell!
For my main course I went for traditional fish and chips and tried battered monkfish. It is a much “meatier” fish than other fish options on the menu but I was not disappointed. The batter went perfectly with the monkfish and there is something to be said for freshly fried fish, something special about eating something that is so fresh. The flavours were perfectly balanced and with a huge portion of chips I found my “happy place”. One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the fact that the meal was not drenched in oil, it didn’t feel greasy and I didn’t feel bloated after eating this meal (something which happens if I eat heavy, greasy food). I had a gherkin with my fish and chips which as you can see was huge but perfect, I love gherkins so I couldn’t fault it! My foodie pal had a cod burger which I didn’t taste but which looked great!
I’m not the biggest dessert fan, I’m happy with a starter and a main but I wanted to at least taste the infamous apple crumble cheesecake. I love apple crumble but really don’t like cheesecake so I had a bit of an existential crisis…but I tried it for the love of food. I didn’t particularly enjoy it at all but my foodie pal loved it and would have wanted a bigger portion.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t really enjoy my dessert because everything else was so brilliant to be honest. You have to get down to Sutton and Sons and I mean it, not simply because it serves delicious, fresh seafood but because it’s an independent food business that is serving high quality food in a fab atmosphere, this is not just fish and chips this is a foodie experience!