If you’re after some top-notch fish and a lesson in hip-hop, head to The Hip Hop Chip Shop and you’re certain to get both
Word on the street is, The Hip Hop Chip Shop, whose main residence is in Northern Quarter bar Kosmonaut, does the best fish and chips in Manchester’s city centre. Their other outlet, a food truck, has even won a national fish ‘n’ chip award for best mobile operator. Of course I had to put this claim to the test, and due to the name also promising some easy on the ears hip hop, I headed down to see if my ears and stomach could both be satisfied at the same time.
My fellow fish fanatic and I headed there straight after finishing a weighty afternoon of university, so, we could not be more ready to slouch on a comfy seat and dig into some, hopefully tasty, food. Due to our early arrival, the bar was fairly empty, we took our pick of the tables and mulled over the one-sided, to-the-point menu. On closer inspection, we spotted some hip hop inspired dish names such as ‘Shell L Cool J’ for a crab burger and ‘DJ Kool Kerk’ for a Jerk battered fish dish, something I personally thought was a fun addition and even pushed us to read the descriptions of dishes we might never normally have looked at.
Once we had ordered and whilst we waited for our food to arrive, we shifted our attention to the hip-hop, which the food’s name so boldly assures. I can’t confess to being a music buff — maybe I should just stick to food — but the song selection seemed to have taken a lot of thought, and it resulted in a relaxed yet lively feel. The music wasn’t too loud, so conversation was still easily had, but it was loud enough to give a sweet undertone of melody throughout our stay. Finally, somewhere that’s managed to adjust their volume knob appropriately.
Our waiter jolted us out of our musically induced swaying with platefuls of delicious looking fish, freshly fried chips and a burger tempting even to those not inclined to indulge. As the food was placed in front of us, we had the tough decision of what to try first. Out of respect to our main reason for coming, we started by each sharing bites of the ‘battered fish biters.’ We were met with a crisp outer layer of batter and, once inside, flaky layers of perfectly cooked fish. When paired with a spread of strong tartar sauce and minted mushy peas, each mouthful was a true delight.
Next, we couldn’t wait to try the crab burger. One of my favourite street-food options, which I always end up going for at festivals, much to my friends’ amusement. What arrived was a thick, hearty burger, filled with flavoursome crab, topped with coleslaw and encased by a brioche bun. Our immediate idea to remove the bread and focus on the burger inside proved clever as we didn’t seem to be making any kind of dent in the amount of food we had. We still had sides of chilli battered onion rings and halloumi fingers to try.
After a few sips of our lager and a bit of a break, we restarted and finished our sides and mains. The onion rings definitely aren’t for the spice-wary as they had a punchy kick. Luckily, we love that so the end product was impressive, despite us now basically turning into batter ourselves. The halloumi was thick and generous and is a must order for all those cheese obsessed.
By the time we had finished our food, the bar had begun to fill up and it seemed as if we were the only ones who weren’t part of ‘the coolest people in Manchester’ club. Top-knots and checked shirts were in abundance, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, especially when the mood in the bar was full of energy and the cool-guys serving us were friendly and attentive.