London Trip Report Day 2 “Fish and Chips”

Towards the end of Day 2, I was really dead tired after all the walking. The jet lag is beginning to hit me. It’s feeling like I’ve been up the whole night. As tired as I was, I wanted so much to make my way to Covent Garden for Fish and Chips — not just any Fish and Chips but the original one.

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The Rock and Sole Plaice was established in 1871 and is possibly London’s Oldest fish and chips shop. This shop does a steady stream of business at its takeaway and restaurant. Although it did not take me long to locate this place, it was not exactly easy to find. It’s on a rather quiet street away from the Covent Gardens Market.

Despite the reputation, I must say service was awful! The blokes were busy watching football and I had to ask for service. Sheez!

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I took the seats outside the restaurant — low tables and bench for seats, kind of neat. Especially when my feet is so tired from all the walking, I felt so much like putting my feet up on the chair like a true-blue chinaman.

The menu was simple enough but I couldn’t make out one type of fish from another. So, I guess that I won’t go wrong is I ordered the most expensive one on the menu — must have been the Halibut, I can’t remember. Well, it just so happen that they don’t have the Large one and offered me the regular one. I declined because I wanted something LARGE because I was very hungry. I ordered something else, can’t remember what now.

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On every table is the condiments … tartar sauce, ketchup. and malt vinegar. I tried every one of them. I like the tartar sauce particularly.

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The large plate was indeed large. I was so glad it was that big. And the fries were thick.

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The meat was flaky between the crispy batter. I really enjoyed it and worth going out of the way for this. So, can you tell what fish I ordered? Was it cod?

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Enough about food.

I was at the Tower of London before I made my way to this fish and chips shop. I had a great time there. I waited at the entrance to join one of the Beefeater tour guides.

The tower is manned by the Yeoman Warders (known as Beefeaters), who act as tour guides, provide discreet security, and are something of a tourist attraction in their own right. Every evening, the warders participate in the Ceremony of the Keys ,as the Tower is secured for the night.

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The Tower of London is a complex of forts built over time. The foundation of the tower were first built over a thousand years ago by William the Conqueror. I can see the remnants of the older walls and newer ones.

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The centre of the Tower of London is dominated by the White Tower which is the highest structure in the entire complex. It looks pretty bland from the outside but once I got into it, it was a treasure stove of learnings of how life were in those days.

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The building on the far side is the Jewel House. That is where the Crown Jewels were kept. I love to take pictures of the jewels but security was tight and they were very serious about no photography. This must be the most popular display in the Tower of London. The lines were long and we snake our way inside the building watching videos of the biggest diamonds in the world that adorn the crowns.

When we got to the main display room, it was a no-waiting display. Everyone had to get on a moving walkway which will make sure you just get a fair bit of time gwalking (is there such a word?) at the jewels. Fascinating. OK, I am being cynical now … the official story is that the diamonds were the gift to the queen from India — yeah, right.

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Here is where the people poop in those days. No flush … just a hole that leads down the wall. That figures — no wonder I have never seen photos or movies of people leaning against castle walls before. Them poop drips down the walls.

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Henry VIII in his armour. I can’t help but notice that big blob between his legs. Gotta protect the family jewels right?

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I had a difficult time looking for the way up the North Wall. This gave a good view of not only the grounds in the Tower of London but it also overlooks the Thames.

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The Tower of London used to be surrounded by a moat about 50 feet wide and filled with water from the Thames. There is no longer any water in that moat.

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I decided to take the Routemaster bus to get to Covent Gardens. The Routemasters were iconic to London but few remaining ones are still running along a heritage route. I waited for one that came along with no one at the top deck, front seat! When that one came along, I ran and shoved my way up so that I get that seat!

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It was really nothing getting that one seat but I like the idea of being able to say I’ve been there, done that. He he he …

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I don’t know why the heck I took this picture.

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Hope you enjoyed this blog entry today. Cheers!

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  1. If you have a chance…

    Across the street from Big Ben on the bridge was a cart that made pancakes/crepes that were delicious!

    It is thicker than a crepe but thinner than a pancake that is served in a paper cone. They have a large selection of fillings – I had sugar and lemon and my fiance had Nutella – yummy!

  2. Wow, your site is very informative! It is one of the best food blogs I have ever visited. My stomach is growling just looking at the pictures! I will definitely be trying “Abdul’s BBQ” on Kingsway the next time I’m in the area. Thanks for the tip. Keep up the great work!

  3. Hi Ben – I’m enjoying my vicarious vacation thru your phots and writing.

  4. ROUTEMASTER!!!!

    Sorry, you’ve made me VERY happy and had to express that!

    …’though the pic of the fish and chips have set up a nasty, unhealthy, fatty, TASTEY craving!

  5. Hi Allison: Now you tell me … when I am back in Vancouver! 🙂 The way you described the crepe, it sounds so good.

    Hi Kirk: Glad you enjoyed the blog. I too have been checking your blog everyday. You have so much variety in San Diego.

    Hi Matt: Oh yeah, you are the green bus guy, I forgot about it. I really hope that you get your bus up and running one day and get the chance to ride on it!

    Ben

  6. You paid how much for fish and chips? Did that include the cost of the boat trip to catch it?

    Where was the curry sauce, or the muchy peas?

    Still glad you enjoyed it:)

  7. I LOVED the fish & chips there…I have never found anything comparable back home. Those pictures remind of that fact…thanks!! 😉

  8. Hi Eeore: I think I paid about 13 GBP including a can of Coke. Do people actually eat fish and chips with curry sauce? Yucks!

    Hi Sally: The fish and chips in London was really nice. I heard that there’s a great fish and chips in Steveston about 4 blocks from my home. I’ve never tried it but one of these days, I will and let you know.

  9. The fish you had with your chips was almost certainly cod, but might have been plaice. (I don’t eat fish, but these types were traditionally caught in the North Sea. There is now a serious shortage of cod, due to over-fishing, which has sent prices up, but the price you paid is still ludicrous. Anywhere else in the UK, you’d pay less that half that for the same meal and get much better service!)
    Curry sauce and mushy peas are traditionally served with chips in Northern England, but Londoners tend to stick with ketchup or mayonnaise. In Scotland, they have deep friend Mars bars (chocolate), which possibly accounts for the high rate of heart attacks north of the border!

    You wrote elsewhere that you thought fish n’ chips was the typical English dish. It’s *one* of the traditional favorites, although the Roast beef and yorskire puddings is more typical. As it happens, neither is the most common meal in Britain. What with globalization meaning McDonalds and KFC are everywhere these days, British food tastes have changed somewhat. The most popular take-away order is actually Chicken Tikka Massala, which is based on recipes from the Indian sub-continent, but was actually invented in Birmingham!

    Anyway, I liked this funny post and I don’t even like food!

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