Salty’s Fish & Chips
738 Goldstream Ave.
When one mentions “chippy,” what pops to mind isn’t some chubby cherub dressed in school uniform with his own BBC sitcom. Fond memories of indie shops with cod and chips served over counter, wrapped in newsprint, are lovingly recalled. To me, it’s a slice of heaven and for a time, it was named Gosworth Fish & Chips. Finding oneself a nice shop with a friendly proprietor is gold — and one can only hope it’s there for generations to enjoy much like The Golden Fish Bar in Central London.
Salty’s is a chippy of some form, but it’s more of a seafood restaurant with decent interior. The business just pushes British as you walk in. A film poster of Norman Wisdom, autographed photos from Coronation Street and wall hangings of various British regions can give an air of familiarity to British born or raised. Salty’s even carries copies of the British Columbian for an ex-pat (or ex-pat at heart) to read while waiting for a meal.
It is unfortunate to say that Salty’s suffers from a less than stellar customer service. I am someone who eats here on occasion and it is currently the most decent seafood restaurant in the municipality of Langford. But why can’t I receive good customer service on a majority of my visits? I’ve either been given little choice and was seated at a table I didn’t want during slow time, or the person serving did not fulfill my needs. On this visit I decided to bring along my family. Our server showed indifference and she failed basic customer service. Not only did I not see her wipe down the dirty table top where we had seated ourselves but I had to gain her attention for a bit of lemon juice after my order arrived. One might think the lemon juice was trivial on my part but this is an ongoing problem with Langford Salty’s servers. Unless the meal is ready-to-serve any decent chippy/seafood restaurant employee will ask if you require the little things such as malt vinegar or lemon. Since lemon is never on the table when I dine I am forced to ask for it.
But if they’re not using the right lure to keep me hooked, their bait at least keeps me coming back to feed. I can’t complain too loudly of their food. It’s decent fare. I love their mushy peas but I’m not ready to put on a pair of wellies and wander the Yorkshire countryside just yet. I ordered my usual bowl of mushy peas and a Captain’s plate of lightly battered fish, coleslaw with a pair of breaded oysters, prawns, scallops and a side of chips.
While the prawns and scallops tasted fresh, the Alaskan halibut itself was the gem of the meal. It retained its moist flakiness which I so love. But I shouldn’t dismiss the oysters. On the very rare previous dine-in experience, they were above the level of canned; this time they were juicy. Chips are always the last thing I consume. They tasted burnt and dirty. No amount of Heinz ketchup could kill the flavour. I can only guess they may have let the cooking oil go beyond their expiry date.
In the end, Salty’s still deserves my patronage. The food will bring me back from time to time and I’m willing to return as a regular should they offer some decent service. Until that time I will take up the practice of no tipping. Everyone has a right to make a living wage but if you can’t be bothered to offer something above minimum service, don’t expect any bonus. I’m sure my friends and I will argue this out Reservoir Dogs style.
3 Blokes out of 5