This article first appeared in the Croydon Citizen http://thecroydoncitizen.com/culture/restaurant-review-mcdermotts-fish-chip-shop-new-addington/
Restaurant review: McDermotts, New Addington
As a Waddonian for 14 years who grew up in Wallington, I’d always heard of New Addington but had never really been. It might as well have been Bromley or Cheam. I knew they existed and where they were; but I didn’t know anything about them, other than generalisations and cliches that we’ve all heard before and are generally best ignored.
Then in 2012 a foodie mate tweeted me with the news a Croydon Chippie had won a national fish and chips award. The Chippie in question was McDermott’s, which is located in New Addington in the Forestdale Centre. Well, that was my reason to go and see New Addington because Fish & Chips is in my top 5 dinners. Especially sit down fish & chips with a pint of decent beer (more of which later) and good company.
First impressions are interesting. It’s situated in a concrete shelled parade of shops that serves a nearby estate that shows its age. The 60 space car park is a great example of Croydon’s cheek by jowl nature where some of the richest in the country live next to the polar opposite. £100k Range Rovers are parked next to rusty escort vans and I reckon McDermott’s is the reason.
I’ve eaten fish & chips in Whitby and Cornwall and Sydney in celebrated places. They aren’t as good as McDermott’s. There’s a takeaway shop that has a queue at all hours separate to the main restaurant which is one and a half deep shopfronts. Nicely lit, big open windows, plenty of tables for 2, 4, 6 or more. It’s comfortably utilitarian but with a brilliant service team that hustles about with a smile for everyone. It’s an affordable, if not cheap (Fresh ethically sourced fish cannot be cheap) dinner out for anyone that can spare £15-20+ per head. There’s a loyalty card which gets you a free meal every now and again.
The reason they hustle is because they’re always busy and you often have to wait 10-15 mins for a table for 4. Half of Croydon seems to eat there. Warm bread with prawns and pate are plonked on the table as you sit and look at a classically simple menu.
Cod, haddock, plaice, skate and rock with chips is your choice. There’s probably some chicken and other options, but I don’t know why you’d bother. Quite simply the fish and chips is brilliant. Crisp dry batter cracks to reveal clean pearly white perfectly cooked flaky fish. The chips are dry on the outside, fluffy on the inside and taste of potato.
If you can take your nose away from the trough you meet the eyes of fellow diners and exchange a smile. It’s a communal environment. We’re all happy to be there. Builders sit next to teachers who are by some lads that work in the City, who sit next to a table of 8 with 3 generations celebrating a birthday. The team are great with kids. My two love it there and my oldest asks to go.
You can drink fabulous locally brewed Cronx Kotchin beer with your fish and it’s a truly great combination. The dry hoppy beer is refreshing, complements the fish and manages to cut through what is quite a rich meal. You’ve got to come hungry and for those with big appetites there’s the “King Size” which is more food than one should morally order.
I’ve had it three times. King Size + 2 Kotchin = a very happy Croydonian.
Don’t you dare go. You might stop me and my family getting a table.