New to Bloom Street in the Gay Village, the Village Chippy has arrived and it’s arrived in style. The village was in need of a proper fish and chip shop, and Lancashire lad Frank saw an opportunity to fill the gap in the market with his take on fish and chips with a few gourmet extras to please the day time customers as well as the night time revellers.
I spoke with Frank about how he has been part of the village community for fourteen years. He owns and runs businesses in the area so he knows his customers, and the area, well. He is overwhelmed with the support the chippy has received so far and he is excited to see how it progresses over the coming months.
The interior is bright and incredibly clean and offers a feel of the seaside within the city centre, which for me, having growing up in a seaside town, is a welcome addition and makes me feel right at home. Frank and his staff are friendly and full of inspiration and knowledge. Unusually, Frank employs all female staff in the evenings to contrast with his competitors who tend to employ male staff. He’s keen to promote a safe and welcoming environment.
Of course whilst there I tried the fish and chips and they really are good. I can see why people have been impressed. The chips are ‘real chips’ and the fish, which is caught and frozen on the same day to retain its flavour and freshness, is moist and the batter is light and crisp. Having only been open for eight weeks, Frank and his staff at The Village Chippy are still trialling what works best for their customers and are continually evolving as they learn new approaches and try new produce. They’re striving hard to achieve the perfect batter (golden, crunchy on the exterior and light) and think they might have it. To add flavour and depth, they are using a technique where they season the fish with a dry batter before adding the wet batter and frying.
As well as fish and chips, there’s a range of gourmet options on offer: a rich steak pie, or a heavenly buttery leek and chicken pie, which is already proving to be a firm favourite, and a very tasty chorizo sausage roll that melts in the mouth, and fish bites for those who prefer not to have a whole fish.
Dessert is covered too as there’s ice cream by the scoop, or the whipped soft serve kind you get with a flake, or even a milkshake and on those rare occasions when the sun comes out, there’s seating to the front on the grass on what Frank is calling their little ‘haven in the village’.
At present, they are gearing up for Pride at the Village Chippy, and being right opposite the main stage there’s going to be a whole lot of fish to fry. In preparation they’re planning a few surprises that I’m sure will be very popular with the crowds.
The Village Chippy, 37 Bloom Street, Manchester