Restaurant Review: The Jolly FryerBy Tom Fahey
January 12, 2012
Back in November I started a blog about what I have for breakfast.
How interesting, you’re probably thinking. Some pictures of semi-burned toast, a daily cuppa, grapefruits caked in sugar and the odd fried egg.
Thanks all the same but I’ll give that one a miss.
Agreed, if that’s your idea of breakfast, please leave well alone.
But few of the things you’ll find on people’s plates first thing in the morning typically grace mine.
I’m a frugal cook, you see. I like to use whatever’s cheap, leftover or available to make tasty food, and I’m not going to let whatever time of day it is stop me.
For those ambivalent enough to mindlessly shovel down the same factory-made, white-carb fuel day-in day-out because they “haven’t got time” to do anything else, well, I’m liberating breakfast on your behalf.
Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps cereal isn’t the highly nutritious, energy-packed start to the day we’ve all been led to believe it is?
Perhaps – and this really is a stab in the dark – it’s actually a way for food manufacturers to make lots of money by adding intensive processing and powerful branding to raw materials that, in their natural state, have no intrinsic profit margin.
Food companies call this “adding value”; doing nutritionally unnecessary things to food to make it appear more desirable, then using a barrage of advertising to get us buying it.
Packet cereals are “fortified” because the lengthy pressure cooking, removal of germ (wholesome nutrient-filled thing not grubby illness-causing thing), dehydration and final high-temperature toasting, strip out many of their natural nutrients.
And yet we still eat them because they have a nice box or because a tiger tells us to.
Perhaps you like to invest in a weekly bag of stone-ground-multi-grain-extra-special-finest and stick two pre-cut pieces in the toaster every day?
Real bread is flour, water, salt and yeast, but Chorleywood bread – the stuff in plastic bags – is a slurry of flour and water aerated by a machine then artificially preserved with additives.
And what about the margarine we slather all over it to save our poor hearts from the evils of butter?
Butter is a natural product that doesn’t make anyone very much money.
Margarine is made by pumping hydrogen into commercially extracted oils that are frequently deodorised to disguise their unpleasant smell, then it’s dyed yellow so we associate it with the butter we probably should be eating and the companies who make it continue to earn a crust.
Speaking of butter, recently I made bubble and squeak with a poached egg and butter sauce for breakfast.
Why did I do this? Not because I’m a butter-militant but because The Jolly Fryer’s obscenely large chip portions are impossible to finish in one sitting, leaving me with a glut of fat, fluffy and pristinely blonde chips far too good to sling in the bin.
Instead, I slung them, chopped up, into mashed potato and cabbage, shaped into patties and fried, to make a deliriously good breakfast in all of 10 minutes.
And here you see the point of this morning-meal digression.
The Jolly Fryer is a truly excellent fish and chip shop that you should all visit.
The fish is, thankfully, fried to order. The flakes are slippery and moist, actually flaking rather than disintegrating into so much fat-laden mulch.
The batter crunches but is light and free of excess grease thanks to regularly changed fryer oil, and the portions are generous.
The mushy peas are made properly, and if your vegetarian is getting testy over a supper that fundamentally excludes them, The Fryer does a nice line in vegetable fritters.
Plus you can tell this is a friendly, family business by the free pot of tartare sauce given away with every order.
OK, so you’ll have to brave the Oxford Road but, where other local stalwarts clearly reheat chips fried at lunch time for dinner and leave fish under the heat lamps to slowly turn into piscine jerky, these are the best fish and chips I’ve had in central Reading.
Turning them into breakfast isn’t essential, but I assure you it’s far more exciting (and cheaper in the long run) than cereal and toast.
- Telephone: 0118 958 2733
- Address: The Jolly Fryer Fish & Chips
265 Oxford Road,
Reading, RG1 7PY