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SevenWelsh chippies in the UK's sizzling top 50.

Byline: Joshua Knapman Reporter joshua.knapman@walesonline.co.uk

Seven Welsh fish and chip shops have been named in the industry's own best 50 chippies in the UK.

The list, compiled by industry specialists Fry Magazine, features just one chip shop in the capital, with the six others all being found in south Wales.

Shops that made the cut were chosen after four months of mystery dining, where assessors from an independent company assessed various aspects including staff friendliness, cleanliness and product knowledge.

There were also points on offer for the quality of the food - testing everything from the crispness of the batter to the texture of the chips and the flakiness of the fish.

Church Street Fish Bar, Abertillery, re-opened just over a year ago with new owners.

Jamie Dunn, 34, who recently took over the restaurant, said: "I've only been in the trade myself for 13/14 months.

"We've spent an absolute fortune trying to get it up to scratch."

And it seems to have paid off, because in just over a year the shop has been named in the UK top 50.

He said: "I'm absolutely buzzing. "I didn't even like fish until I bought my shop. I went on a training course and I fell in love with it."

He said he is looking to build on his success, and added: "I've taken the shop from a three-star hygiene rating to a five.

"I'll be going for a quality award from the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) so the fish is all sustainable - I'll be the sixth shop in Wales to get it."

Crosskeys Fish Bar can be found in Gladstone Street in Crosskeys, near Risca, Gwent - and serves more than just the usual fish and chips.

As well as the traditional foods the chip shop, which is known as Mo's, also serves burgers and kebabs.

The award-winning Crispy Cod in Tonyrefail has previously won Welsh chip shop of the year, and has been named in the top 10 chip shops in the UK, as well as TripAdvisor's best Welsh chip shop.

Mathew Williams, who owns the Crispy Cod and recently opened a second branch further up the valley in Gelli, said: " We're very passionate about what we do, we love our jobs."

He also praised his "great staff" and noted that the manager, Emmy, was named best young fish fryer in the UK in 2016.

The Posh Fish & Chip Co, in Llantrisant Road, Danescourt, Cardiff, is the only chip shop in the capital to feature on the list.

Hamid Kowsor, who runs the shop, said: "Winning the award means everything to me and my team - we work very hard to produce a great product and service.

"To be the only chip shop in Cardiff to win the title also gives me great pride.

"Fry Magazine has only listed another six fish and chip shops in Wales, so it just shows how tough it was."

Penaluna's Famous Fish & Chips, Hirwaun, has pedigree in the kitchen.

Owner Lee Penaluna worked at the Michelin-starred Walnut Tree Inn before opening his chip shop in 2006.

The fish in his "famous" fish and chips is all sustainable, and they achieved Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation for the supply chain - the shop only buys MSC cod, hake and haddock.

Mr Penaluna said: "The top 50 shop list is a great achievement for us at Penaluna's, as it's completely mystery-shopped we believe it's a great award for our team and the efforts they put in for consistency.

"We're delighted to be in the top 50 shops alongside some really great shops across the UK, showing Rhondda Cynon Taf and Wales have some great shops."

It was back in 1989 when the Shillingford family packed up their Yorkshire lives and headed down to south Wales to open a new fish and chip shop.

Originally naming their new chippy Al's Cafe, the Shillingfords grafted to build the business up into today's award-winning fish and chip shop, Shillingford's.

Taylor's Fish and Chips, Penygraig, Tonypandy, was formed by Darren and Tracy Taylor in January 2004.

Darren thanked his staff for their dedication to customer service and said they were all very pleased to win the award.

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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 4, 2017
Words:712
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