1127 Haultain St
Tues-Sat: 11:30am – 7:30pm
Sunday: 4 – 7:30pm
Phone: (250) 383-8332
Take Out Available.
My childhood memories of visiting grandma in the Fernwood neighbourhood often include her treating me to some of the “famous” Haultain Fish & Chips around the corner. Seniors love their fish n’ chips, and this place served up some mighty fine fixings in the past. This operation is a staple–hardly ever changing over the years. My mother’s side of the family lived in this area for about two decades before finally moving to other parts of town.
Maybe I should’ve stuck to those memories instead of trying them again in my adult years. I’ve been back a few times before but after the third attempt, I’ve finally come to a conclusion. The subtle changes since the switch in ownership isn’t always for the better. There’s nothing special in the batter to enhance the halibut, and the Fanny Bay oysters (without the coating) were the stars. They were plump and juicy. The portion size was smallish for both. They’re a far cry from what I remember from my youth. If I had to say which shop is the best for the Lower Island, it’s Shell’s Fish and Chips out by Jordan River! The fillets, peppering and serving size are huge! They left a lasting memory.
Finest at Sea Food Cart
27 Erie Street
E: Lately, I’ve been on a fish n’ chip fetish, and in my craving to find good ling cod, I thought just maybe I can bait my buddy James into a visit down near Fisherman’s Wharf. After a lacklustre serving at what barely passes as properly rolled maki rolls at Sushi Plus (it was James’ treat since he asked to meet him there), well … I needed to swab the decks (my tongue) as it were.
J: Ed’s is attempting to sneak a review within a review of Sushi Plus. He technically can’t say much because I picked up the tab at their establishment. But yes, after filling myself up on a beef bowl at Sushi Plus my body still felt weak and needed an iron boost. Ed drove us to the Wharf. I was in all my glory feeling pretty cool as I bopped my head to Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” as it played on the radio. Ed was rolling his eyes, I didn’t need to look at him to know. After almost 25 years, we know each other’s habits. Where he did park was directly across from the Wharf on Erie Street. Our stop was the Finest At Sea food truck.
E: Usually, most fishmongers don’t deliver on a Sunday or Monday, but I had to stop by because I was curious if they had any sea urchin. And to visit this operation’s food truck or visit the wharf proper had James drooling over the opportunities their blue and white truck presented. For a moment, I could not decide between the fish tacos or fish n’ chips.
Naughty Nellie’s Not Just Fish & Chips
4081 Shelbourne Street
Phone: (250) 721-5555
Not to be confused with the downtown operation, Nautical Nellies, Naughty Nellie’s in Gordon Head is certainly a delight for high school students and retirees alike. Depending on the time of day, I often see the latter type of clientele coming in. Also, certain species of fish goes faster into the frying pan or should I say fryer?
Lingcod was not available on the last two visits I made. It’s a touch frustrating since I like the flavour. Regular cod was ordered so I would not make a bad pun since I wasn’t in the mood for the halibut. The batter was nice and crunchy. It’s a familiar taste, without any amped up mix of extra spices to really kick the dish up a notch. The fish was cooked fast and fresh, for a moist center, though sometimes what I get hardly tastes exceptional. Fish n’ chips is comfort food and not many places really do anything special when crisping this dish up.
The fries were quite good, and they’re done right. If given a chance to bash McDonald’s fries, I will because properly home cut and freshly prepared fries tastes infinitely better than anything processed at a plant and shipped cross-country to all the outlets. Even the coleslaw was nice. Some days they make it right and other days it’s just too mushy.
Overall, for the volume offered, the dish is very good. When I’m in a mood for fish and chips and I don’t want to travel far, the walk will do me good. I can do take-out, which is what this operation specializes in, but it won’t necessarily benefit burning off the meal. With a hill separating me from home to this diner and back again, I have a means to work off the calories!
3½ Blokes out of 5
Hyland’s Fish and Chips
10153 Resthaven Dr.
E: Sometimes a random trip to the middle of nowhere in the town of Sidney is good. James was given a tip about where to find some good seafood chowder, and we had a bit of a problem finding Hyland’s Fish and Chips.
Fortunately, in this township, the free Wifi along the main strip made our hunt easier. We are not excellent trackers by any means, so one Google Maps search later, we located our destination and it was only a couple of blocks away from the main drag.
J: Ed could’ve fooled me with the way he kept asking me if we were there yet. I should have left him cold and hungry on a Sidney street corner, for some granny on a scooter to drive over him.
Brady’s Fish and Chips
#1-50 Burnside Rd. West
J: Brady’s is just one of those places I’ve heard so much about, it’s praises being tossed around have landed in my lap over the years but it wasn’t possible on our Two Hungry Blokes schedule to find time for it until recently. It’s located in a little strip mall on Burnside between Art’s Bakery and Hometech Games Plus (previous location of A&A Appliances). I knew this mall from my youth for it’s Peppin’s Pet Centre.
E: I always pass by this Fish n’ Chip store on the way to Silvercity. I never thought about checking it out until James brought the idea to the fore. But when considering his growing reputation of picking places that have been mostly on the “miss” side, was I reluctant? Will I ever learn my lesson?
Bard & Banker Pub
1022 Government St.
J: When I step through the doors of the Bard & Banker, it’s hard not to feel like it’s Christmas.
Could it be the daily specials (drink must be bought to qualify)? No. Is it the grandiose look of the Bard that makes me appreciate this self-proclaimed “Scottish” pub? No, it’s not that either. I know, it must be that the Bard used to be the former location of the Spirit of Christmas.
With its lights, ornaments and decorated trees, Spirit of Christmas was one of the happiest places on Earth, next to Disneyland that is.