National Chip Week: 7 ways for serving and presenting pub chips

By Sheila McWattie

- Last updated on GMT

National Chip Week runs from 17-23 February
National Chip Week runs from 17-23 February

Related tags: Chips, Potato

Sheila McWattie looks at seven ways for serving and presenting pub chips in the run up to National Chip Week (17-23 February).

1. A double-fried delight from the Low Countries

Double Dutch fries, imported from Holland and fried twice, are served with a variety of Low Countries-influenced dishes at Lowlander Grand Café, a brasserie specialising in beer and food-matching in London’s Covent Garden.

To highlight the focus on top quality beers from Belgium and the Netherlands, beer cuisine banquets featuring food tailored to selected beers are held regularly, with the special fries playing a key role. A five-course banquet with three beer samplings costs £55 per head, including the sommelier’s fee.

At a tutored five-beer sampling for groups of 12 to 20 (£25 per head, including sommelier), the Dutch chips can be served with snack platters to complement the event’s food pairings.

2. Seasonal spuds make top chips

Draft House owner Charlie McVeigh emphasises seasonality, freshness and cooking methods as key to the popularity of home-made chips at his five London venues. "Every day we take delivery of huge bags of dirty great potatoes and set about scrubbing and hand-cutting them into our famous chips for that great home-made look," says McVeigh.

"We cook them twice to ensure the ideal combination of fluffiness and crunch — this method means we get a supremely crisp outside and a lovely soft inside, which our customers love.

"We sell about 11,000 potatoes a week and change our potato varieties throughout the year as we’re strongly committed to using the best seasonal chipping potatoes at all times."

3. Chips to takeaway every Friday

"Not everyone wants fat chips," says Ben Edwards, owner of the Red Lion, in rural Hernhill, Kent. "We knew locals would love our Friday fish, chip and sausage takeaway offers — who wants to cook after a long week? When we took on the pub, my dad worked in a fruit market, and brought back great potatoes.

"We tried serving hand-cut chips with skins on or off, but locals insisted we serve McCains 9/16 Classics thick-cut chips instead. They love the light, fluffy texture. So about a year ago we changed our style to give them what they want, and go through about 35 boxes a month.

"Our Friday takeaway trade is weather-dependent, so we can sell five or 40 portions (£1.95 each). Families enjoy them in our garden on summer evenings."

4. Tapas drives vertical dining

At Newcastle’s Broad Chare, head chef Chris Eagle offers triple-cooked chips as part of the award-winning pub’s tapas-style vertical dining offer.

"We take our chips very seriously and so do our customers," says Eagle. "We go through about 16kg weekly and can easily cater for 70 to 100 covers a day. Chips are on offer until we close at 11.30pm, and the football crowd love them.

"There’s a sense of community that brings supporters on both sides together.

"Steak sliders (£3 each) or monkfish cheeks and tartare sauce (£3.50) are equally at home with a portion of our chips (£2.40)."

5. Canadian-style chips

Poutine has proved one of the stars of the show at Hawksmoor Spitalfields bar, in east London. The current version, pig’s head poutine (£8), is described as "a pile of chips, topped with cheese curds, braised pig’s head and gravy".

Owners Will Beckett and Huw Gott remain committed to keeping poutine on the menu while ringing the changes to attract a following and keep regulars satisfied. Chicken and oxtail were the original choices when the bar launched in 2012.

6. Flowerpot chips

Chips and flowerpots are a winning combination for Yummy Pubs’ Grove Ferry Pantry Pub, at Upstreet, near Canterbury, Kent. For seven years chips have been served in the pots, which head of Yummy foresight Tim Foster says elicit a fantastic reaction, fit Yummy’s innovative concept, and promote vital portion control.

"Control your portions, control your margins — it’s that simple," says Foster. Flowerpots can be fragile, but are sourced for 42p each. Lined with greaseproof paper, they’re filled with high quality frozen steak-house chips.

Foster is keen on the 83% GP. "No-one ever goes anywhere just for chips, so we don’t hand-cut. They go well with our burgers and fish, selling up to 1,000 weekly portions in summer."

7. A triple-fried treat with a focus on flavour

Beak-to-tail cooking is a favourite theme for Ben Mckellar, owner of The Gingerman Group in East Sussex, including Hove’s Ginger Pig, where triple-cooked chips are served with Maldon sea salt.

Importing top quality free-range ducks from the Landres region of north-eastern France means Mckellar’s team always has duck fat available to make some of the outlets’ chips, while others are made with beef dripping to suit the individual dish. Flavour is the focus for all his food, including the chips, on which the GP can be as low at 50% as kitchen staff prepare all the potatoes by hand.

"Changing our menu monthly gives us the opportunity to use every part of the animal, and duck fat can be stored for up to a year," says Mckellar.

For more information visit the National Chip Week website

Related topics: Menu Ideas

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