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Fish and chip shop where focus is always on quality; CHAMBERLAINS QUALITY FISH AND CHIPS.

THERE has been a lot of debate in the media in the past week about the cost of fish and chips in Birmingham. At Chamberlains, the owners' emphasis is on quality and value.

Chamberlains opened in March 2011 at a time when the cost of fish and chips was already on the increase.

But there has been a rise in the cost of potatoes and cod within the last two years, so how have the newcomers to fish and chips coped with the increasing prices? Simon Shaw, co-owner, said: "In the takeaway we charge PS5.90 for a large cod and chips and PS3.90 for small cod and chips but when comparing you must compare the quality and portion size on offer otherwise it is meaningless.

"The difference between a large cod and chips may be up to PS1 difference between shops but Chamberlains believes the customer would prefer to pay a little bit more for quality and to thoroughly enjoy a meal.

"At less than PS6 for large cod and chips, it compares well with most other fast food such as pizza, Indian or Chinese meals and, if you look at the core ingredients being a large fillet of cod and locally sourced potatoes, it is great value not only for your pocket but also for your body.

"The average serving of fish and chips contains less calories than most pizzas, curries and Chinese food. After all, you are eating three key ingredients in fish, potatoes and flour. There are no preservatives and additives in a portion of fish and chips.

"We serve ten types of fish and seafood not just cod, so if you want haddock, plaice or hake, which is cheaper at the moment, you can.

"We also offer scampi, calamari, roe, sea bass, prawns, mussels, salmon and mackerel.

Yes, due to supply, cod prices have increased but we ensure we get the highest grade cod possible from well-managed and sustainable sources.

"We can tell you when and where, and by which fishing vessel, our fish is caught.

"We also cook every piece of fish fresh to order; we have been open nearly two years and we have never sold a piece of fish from the hotplate - all our customers order their fish when they enter the shop so they know it is fresh. They can then specify small or large portion or with our light and crispy batter, grilled, in breadcrumbs or even in gluten-free batter for people with coeliac illness and wheat allergies."

Chamberlains has already notched up a string of awards, last year claiming the Best Newcomer to the Fish & Chip Industry award at the National Fish and Chip Awards and it won Best Chippy Chips - Midlands as part of National Chip Week.

Chamberlains is also the only fish and chip shop from the West Midlands to be represented at the 2013 award finals to be held later in January.

The focus on quality runs through everything that Chamberlains do.

The business has been awarded 5 stars for Hygiene for each of the two years it has been open and it has also achieved the 5 star Quality Award from the National Federation of Fish Fryers.

Only 200 out of 10,500 fish and chip shops have this type of recognition.

Simon added: "People care about where their food comes from and how it is prepared.

Yes, you can buy fish and chips cheaper but it may just be 'fish'. What type of fish is it, where has it come from and are you confident the hygiene in the establishment is independently rated?" But what do the customers say? What comments has Chamberlains received from its customers? Simon said: "Lots of positive ones. Our customers like the fact that they can choose how their fish is cooked and that we use really good produce. They say things like 'This is how fish and chips used to taste' or 'I had stopped eating fish and chips until I tried Chamberlains'.

"We don't serve kebabs, pizzas & southern fried chicken so 90% of our customers come for our fish & chips. The other 10% may have pies as we serve a range of pies from Bowketts, the award-winning butchers just a couple of miles up the Wolverhampton Road in Oldbury.

"These pies, too, are made fresh and delivered daily to Chamberlains. We probably have the smallest takeaway menu in the city yet we serve ten types of fish and seafood!" To see what else the customers say Chamberlains you only have log on to TripAdvisor and check out West Midlands restaurants.

There at No 2 is Chamberlains. Out of more than 1,400 restaurants, fish and chips are up there ahead of the city's fine dining establishments.

The owners of Chamberlains recognise that they are in a competitive market place and therefore do regular restaurant offers.

For example, on Monday to Friday lunchtimes you can order a small fish and chips and a pot of tea for just PS4.95.

On Thursdays there is a fabulous offer for senior citizens at just PS6.45 for two courses and a pot of tea, and on Tuesdays you can order two large fish and chips for just PS10.

Cleverly, it's called Tenner Tuesdays! Children's meals are only PS4.95, including a drink and an ice cream.

As well as a modern, clean takeaway, Chamberlains has a very comfortable 76-seat licensed restaurant so if you want a glass of Pinot Grigio with your plaice or a Holdens Golden Glow real ale with your haddock, you can!

The restaurant has free wifi, baby changing facilities, full disabled access and facilities, and free car parking front and rear. While fish and chips is the core menu, there is a range of starters, main courses and desserts to choose from.

Chamberlains prides itself on the level of service, too.

Newcomers are welcomed and many regulars are on first-name terms with the staff. After all, many people who have discovered Chamberlains see it as their oncea-week treat for Britain's Favourite Dish.

HOW TO FIND US Chamberlains is located on the junction of Hagley Road West and Wolverhampton Road, between what was Johnathans restaurant and McDonald's. Chamberlains is open seven days a week and serves fish and chips from 12 noon through to 9.30pm. For full details go to website or give them a call on 01214297709.


First-class service: The staff of Chamberlains outside the restaurant. Top right: The Certificate of Excellence awarded by TripAdvisor. Based on customer reviews, Chamberlains is now ranked number two out of 1,400 restaurants within the West Midlands.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2013
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