Going to the chippy for a big juicy battered fish, chips and mushy peas is certainly a treat.
Back as a kid I’d get so excited when me mam asked what we wanted from the chippy that I would run around the room like a crazed chipmunk until everyone had decided what they wanted and I was handed a scribbled list and ushered down the road to get it.
What made it even better was knowing that as soon as I left the door me mam would start slathering an inch of butter on slices of Warburtons Toastie – carefully placing the cut slices on a little plate ready and waiting for some hot chips.
Nothing beats it, and so it was with a degree of trepidation that I walked down the road on Thursday night to Shaw, a little town on the way out of Oldham, home to Armstrong’s Fish & Chips – proud architects of the famous ‘Jumbo Cod’.
You see I’d not been to the chippy in AGES. Even though I was living in Stretford, around 30 seconds away from the brilliant Kingfisher, in an effort to delay my ever-expanding double chin I’d taken it upon myself to not visit a chippy in months – for fear of finally tipping over the precipice into obesity.
To be honest though, fish and chips isn’t THAT unhealthy, it’s certainly better for you than a big pizza or a massive sweaty donner kebab – so I’m glad I finally snapped out of it and took the plunge this week – and I couldn’t have chosen a better chippy.
Completely family owned and run, if there was a league table of chippies, Armstrong’s would certainly be up there at the top – or at the very least competing for a place in Europe. Everything about it oozes quality, class and that good old-fashioned chippy experience.
Established back in 1989, Armstrong’s began as William and Windfred opened up a butty shop on Swan Street in the city centre, which quickly established itself as a haven for top-quality fish and chips. Initially opening up a new chippy on Bury Old Road in Prestwich, they expanded into Shaw a few years later and have never looked back.
They proudly claim to be the home of the Jumbo Cod – a massive 2ft monster which might make you think that you’ve just been served a slice of battered shark – this thing truly is massive. Of course, it’s just two big fillets stuck together, but they’re stuck together with some of the best batter than money can buy – light, crispy and perfect for soaking up all of that vinegar.
The rest of the menu at Armstrong’s is extensive, and I must say that I’ve never been to a chippy where they have the choice of 3 different kinds of curry sauce (English, Chinese and Irish). Of course, there’s also pies on there, Jackson’s Rag Pudding (an Oldham speciality), jacket potatoes, chilli, burgers, chicken and the classic saveloy sausage (which you should always enjoy battered).
But it’s their fish and chips where they shine through, with a choice of fresh, sustainable cod, haddock or plaice and quite possibly the best chippy chips you’ll ever eat. With the jumbo cod too – you’ve got enough to feed two very hungry people or one person who hasn’t eaten for a week.
Armstrong’s is open throughout the lockdown period, serving up for takeaway and they’re also on Deliveroo in Prestwich and Oldham.