A rather heart-warming event was held last week at Whitby’s ‘Fisherman’s Wife’ fish and chip restaurant, the one on Khyber pass with the fabulous views over Whitby beach.
The restaurant invited a group of retired fishermen and their wives for a special fish lunch and a chance to share photographs and memories of their days at sea. The guests had between them fishing experience of 500 years. Ronnie Frampton, 83, who fished out of Whitby for over 60 years said: ‘This has been a brilliant day to meet everyone who’s been at sea for a long time. Our fishing days were tough at sea, but it’s in our blood…I’ve had a fantastic time.’
We were surprised and dismayed last week to learn that Green’s of Whitby had closed its doors after 15 years of serving proper fish and seafood. I’ve been going there on and off for 12 of those 15 years, a welcome bolthole from the crowds and the overriding Whitby offer of fish and chips. At its peak I rated it the best fish restaurant on the Yorkshire coast.
Green’s of Whitby
Rob Green was and is a most accomplished chef. We’ll miss his salt and pepper squid, his crisp topped Whitby crab, his ways with seabass, brill and the less familiar gurnard and John Dory.
If I remember correctly, he was the first, though since much copied, to name the trawler that landed his fish. Easy enough when he could (just about) see the ships unloading in the lower harbour. The Whitby fish auction is much reduced. Whitby’s Resolution and Our Lass land in Peterhead now, the fish transported less romantically by road to the chippies of Whitby.
Rob Green is moving on to new ventures which he is so far keeping close to his chest. We know that Emma Stothard, his wife is making a huge success of her sculptures in wire and willow, seen to good effect last year at the Staithes Festival when she created two mighty lobsters for the harbour, one of which will return to stand at the village entrance – a fitting reminder that lobster potting still continues there. We wish Rob and Emma good luck and will update you when we hear more..
There’s never been any doubt in our minds that Whitby is Britain’s epicentre of quality fish and chips and its status was confirmed again this week by its showing at the National Fish and Chip awards. It was a particularly good night for the Quayside, runner-up as the best independent chippie and third as the nation’s best takeaway. Trencher’s of Whitby shared the runner-up prize as best independent. And a third Whitby chippie, Royal Fisheries (in the same Fusco family as Quayside) won the staff training award.
You’ll notice that Whitby’s most famous fish and chip emporium is nowhere to be seen. Nothing against them but they get so much free publicity from journos who think they’re the only show in town that it’s good to see the accolades shared around. Just for good measure we’ve a soft spot for Mr Chips and on a summer evening as the sun goes down the sea views from Graveley’s half way up the Khyber Pass are almost tropically stunning. And while we’re at it the chippies at two Cleveland villages off the beaten track – Liverton Mines and Skinningrove – are the business.
To round off the awards, Brid’s Fish and Chips at 149 have two certificates to put on the wall; one as runner-up for staff training and, to prove it, the second went to Cori Standing, runner-up as Young Fish Frier of the Year. And, as the Dodo said in Alice in Wonderland, ‘All must have prizes’ so a final standing ovation for Morrison’s supermarkets of Bradford, runner-up in the category ‘Best Food Service Outlet Serving Fish and Chips Award.’ Must confess to never having tried them.