12 Tottenham Court Road
London W1T 4RE
0207 636 1424
‘Fitzrovia’s Famous Fish and Chip Shop’, screamed the sign above the door. We’ve passed by this restaurant a couple of times on our way home, and we’ve always made a note to come by and try it one day. Fish and Chips isn’t high on our wish-list of foods, so we’ve always put off going to Gigs.
Coming from Singapore, you could say that we know our seafood really well. We have lots of fresh seafood back home, and we are of the opinion that seafood is best eaten with as few distractions as possible. Frying it will completely kill the freshness of the fish, so you can imagine why we aren’t massive fans of Fish and Chips, and why we don’t think very highly of the cuisine of this great nation, which prides itself on its deep fried battered fish.
Nevertheless, we are definitely very open to new experiences. With the claim of being Fitzrovia’s famous fish and chip (sic) shop, which better place to go to for our culinary revelation of the year than Gigs?
First impression: wow the restaurant is huge!!! Next thing we said: oh, it’s a mirror. The restaurant is actually pretty small, and it’s just adjacent to their take-away counter, which shares the same kitchen as the restaurant, so in a way the only difference between your meal and a take away is the take away box. The restaurant was about a third full while the take away counter seemed to have more customers – not a good sign.
We ordered a cod with chips, and a calamari with salad. When our dishes arrived the calamari came served with chips instead of salad. When we highlighted this to our server, who was the owner himself, for the next couple of minutes we heard him literally shouting at the cook in the kitchen, scolding him for messing up our order. It was almost like a scene from Hell’s Kitchen. The only difference is the food wasn’t very good.
The calamari was tough and rubbery, and we didn’t like them at all. The cod had a really thick batter and we could hardly taste the fish. The chips were thickly and sloppily cut, and weren’t even fried very well. The best things about the meal were the salad, which was nicely dressed and really fresh, and the curry sauce which was awesome.
We found the owner a very intimidating character. He was nice to us and his customers, but we got the impression that he had a really bad temper, not only by the way he shouted at the cook who mixed our order up, but also by the way he was talking to his entire staff. It was an incredibly uncomfortable experience sitting in the restaurant and listening to him verbally abusing his staff the entire time we were there.
We were very puzzled by the way the diners around us thanked the owner and told him the food was good when they left. We saw no less than 3 tables do exactly that, which left us wondering what we had missed out on. We kind of concluded that they were all afraid of being scolded by the owner if they had criticized his food, so they basically told him what he wanted to hear instead. That definitely sucks – someone needed to give him a reality check. Unfortunately we couldn’t pluck up enough courage to do that, so we paid and left quietly, never to return again.
Food: 5.5 /10