Leo’s Fish Bar

5 Aug

I moved to Manchester just six months ago, and despite it being an issue of paramount importance, I haven’t got round to finding a chippy yet. As a northern girl raised solidly (in every sense of the word) on carbs, this is a travesty of epic proportions. Living in a new city (therefore having way too much drinking to do) combined with a new and busy job, I have thus far been prevented from indulging in the sacred northern ritual that is chippy tea. My mother weeps.

Well, no more my friends. The time has come to root out the best chip shop in Manchester and I’m starting with (what appears to be) a legendary Manchester establishment, Leo’s Fish Bar on Oldham Street. Recommended by longer serving Manchester residents and situated comfortably close to my flat, it seemed the ideal place to start.

Leo’s Fish Bar, Manchester

No bones about it, this is a professional operation. Slick counters, seating areas for dining and waiting areas for take away as well as a delivery service, this is not your average chippy. In fact, it’s not a chippy at all. Further proven by the extensive menu which includes fried chicken and kebabs, this is one shit hot take-away, with a keen and active Twitter account.

Leo’s Fish Bar, Restaurant

What brave new world is this, when chippers have better operations and marketing plans than most restaurants? My usual benchmark for chippy excellence is how long the queue round the corner is to get in, with the more innovative establishments dishing up scampi and battered sausage. Misgivings aside, I powered on, for the sake of tradition and in the name of some serious investigative food blogging. (Cough).

In order to keep things fair and easily comparable, I’m going to order the same meal at each chippy; sausage, chips and gravy.* I’m usually a steak and kidney pudding of girl, (suet being the absolute last word in saturated fat and heaven simultaneously), but seeing as I’m already down the rabbit hole, and sausage is universal to all chippies, so it shall be.

Sausage, Chips and Gravy

Pretty decent is my verdict. (I’m reviewing a chippy, and more importantly, I’m not A.A. Gill). The chips were nice and chunky, though a little hard in the middle, which was a disappointment. Chips should be fat, a little crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, preferably cooked in dripping for flavour, and these particular specimens weren’t. (Vegetable oil, I’m reliably informed).

The gravy was poor. Thick yet sadly lacking in flavour, and there were a few lumps too (tut). The sausage? Well, you can’t expect too much from chip shop sausage, can you? Low meat content and a high mush count, this item is going to be the constant (and sadly lacking piece of protein) in my search for Manchester’s best.

It’s highly likely I’ll go again, on virtue of it being my local and the altogether wholesome entertainment from the Piccadilly clientele (including one girl who needed serving double quick as her ankle tag meant she was on curfew). Until then, there’s a whole city of chip based fun to explore. Where to next?

*I don’t do chippy fish. If you can only taste batter and grease, it’s not fish. Plus, you can’t have gravy on fish.

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3 Responses to “Leo’s Fish Bar”

  1. bakersfieldlad August 7, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    . “Plus, you can’t have gravy on fish.” Who says so? Course you can, this is the north tha knows, we aint posh up here! Better still chuck some curry sauce on yer fish – reet tasty

    Oh yes theres a good chippy in Stockport – think its called Pisces, always packed which is always a good sign …. and yes you can have fish and gravy in there…….

  2. laurencoulman August 6, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Oooh, what’s the name of the chippy? I’m often in Rochdale, so would love to give it a try.

  3. TayabIqbal August 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    You know, I must have walked past Leo’s a million times, but I have never been in.

    The best chippy I’ve been to is in Rochdale….they do THE BEST chicken and chips you will EVER have, I promise you

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