This is London… of course there’s plenty more fish (and chip shops) in the sea but… very few even come close to Stoke Newington’s ‘Sutton and Sons’- a blissful exercise in perfect batter and classic seafood dishes.
The fish here could not be fresher, having traveled only as far as across the road from the fishmongers that Danny Sutton and his wife Hana set up in 1998…you’ll recognise it by the queues of loyal locals snaking out of the door pretty much every day of the week! Gracing Stokey High Street in 2010, the restaurant is everything you’d want from your neighbourhood chippie- friendly, personable and stocking all your classic staples from battered cod to the ubiquitous saveloys. Thing is, they’ve taken those expectations and gone above & beyond by rolling out dishes that would be totally at home in a upscale seafood restaurant but serving it in a space as warm and inviting as your own living room. For every haddock and chips, there’s a gourmet Cromer crab on toast. For each battered sausage, there’s a weighty Cumberland right beside it. Now I’m not saying they don’t completely own the classic dishes, it’s just nice to have the choice.
Arriving early to beat the pre-pubs and clubs rush (hello, this is a Saturday evening in N16), we settled at our charmingly rustic wooden table and got stuck into the all-important, age-old debate on which of these stacks of awesome sounding dishes we’d be getting our chops around this time.
Never a girl to be satisfied with one solitary starter, I opted for three because… well, because I know which one of the seven deadly sins is mine. Kicking off with freshly-shucked oysters served with a simple and traditional Mignonette- I’m pleased that Sutton & Sons trust their little molluscs to speak for themselves without going overboard on the garnishing front… as far as I’m concerned, if you can’t taste the sea, you’re not doing it right!
Salty, more-ish fellas devoured, we then turned our attentions to a beautiful plate of Calamari with an accomplished batter giving the perfect bite. People may think that batter is the easy bit to nail but au contraire chums, it is too often a thing of uninspired, limp disappointment. Followed up by a huge pot of Moules Mariniere, we loved that they were smothered in a vampire’s worst nightmare of abundant garlic. The mussels (and accompanying liquor) were absolutely fantastic, leaving us spooning the juice in shells from pot to mouth until the very last drop like absolute animals. You’ll be pleased to know that every mussel was open, meaning no-one got left behind. Phew!
Mains took the form of a simple yet stunning whole grilled trout, a poisson of true perfection, with crisped new potatoes. Absolutely ideal for those on a health kick which I’m sure we can all agree is not something you get to say all that often at a chippie. My home-made fish pie avec perfectly piped mash topping was positively chock-full of tender cod, haddock and prawns and buddied up with some buttery green beans. We even had a bowl of their handcut crispy yet fluffy-as-a-cloud chips because hey, what’s a Saturday night out without a carb coma? Other sides of note include a variety of pickles made in-house including shallots with basil and quail’s eggs.
You’d have thought we couldn’t eat another bite by this point… you’d be wrong. Whilst my dining partner opted for a light, palate-cleanser of a Fruits of the Forest sorbet, I would not be dissuaded from giving Mrs Sutton’s homemade Sticky Toffee Pudding with icecream a go. My goodness gracious me, please don’t think me easily pleased but this was the best bloomin’ pudding that has ever graced this mouth and make no mistake. Complete with chopped nuts and a dash of cinnamon (if I’m not mistaken), this airy yet totally decadent slab of heaven is going straight to the top of my personal dessert league tables. Cheers for that Hana, you dessert-conjuring goddess.
The drinks menu is small but perfectly formed and totally on the reasonable side- craft beers, a lovingly cultivated wine list, teas and soft drinks are all in place.
Eat in or take away, go to Stokey or their newly opened branch at the Box Park in Shoreditch, go classic or gourmet… just make sure you go and take all of your friends. ‘Sutton & Sons’ fish ‘n’ chips maybe traditional but is anything but standard. I bet ten of the Queen’s finest that you’ll fall as deeply in love as I did.