Chippies are one of the mainstays of English cuisine and an award-winning shop in Aldershot is determined to keep it that way.
Seafare, in Ash Road, has long been a favourite of fish and chip fans in the town and beyond, and has all the credentials to warrant its popularity, having won area and regional awards in the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year competition – run by Seafish – in recent years.
The accolades are backed up by queues often stretching out of the door at weekends and customers that return again and again.
“I think we have a good reputation,” said manager Leanne Court. “We’re doing pretty well so I hope so, anyway. Fridays are the busiest but we don’t really have a bad day – even Sundays are pretty good.”
Seafare will celebrate 11 years in Aldershot in October and has built up a strong fan base, including companies such as the Vauxhall and Peugeot dealerships, care homes like Shawfield and also Crondall Village Hall, which all place large orders for events and parties.
Seafare can supply up to 250 portions, sometimes more, for events, with Miss Court saying she had known an order for 350 portions to be taken on one occasion.
Nearby Bradshaws fish and chip shop, which has been running since 1933, is known for having monster portion sizes, but Miss Court said this did not worry her, despite the occasional comment from customers, as Seafare was staying true to its ‘quality, not quantity’ outlook.
“We do get customers who mention the portions, but they always come back,” she said. “One person complained last week but then came back and said the food was great. We do spend a lot of money on our food. We buy the best fish. Whoever we call, we always ask for the best in stock. That’s why we’re slightly more expensive.”
As well as a variety of fish, served in light and fluffy batter, Seafare serves Pukka pies and sausages for those who fancy something different. The usual curry sauce and mushy pea portions are also available.
There are also lunchtime deals and kids meals, served with a soft drink.
Seafare employs 12 members of staff, including students from local colleges, and Miss Court said everyone gets on well and has a good relationship with customers.
The shop offers deals to fans of Aldershot Town FC and offers vouchers to nearby nurseries, for raffles.
It also supports Fisher-man’s Mission, a charity that provides emergency support to fisherman and their families, on an ongoing basis, as well as the annual Poppy Appeal.
Miss Court also prides herself on having a clean shop and this is evident in the sparkling work surfaces and cleaning areas inside.
Asked why she felt the good old fashioned chippy deserved to stand alongside fine dining restaurants and the best of pub grub, Miss Court said: “It’s British. I prefer it to a KFC or McDonald’s and there is lots of protein in fish.”