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Why this Norfolk town is the plaice to be for fish and chips

PUBLISHED: 17:32 07 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:41 08 August 2019

Phil Platten, Director of Platten's and Jason Crook French's Fish and Chips, Shop Manager. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Phil Platten, Director of Platten's and Jason Crook French's Fish and Chips, Shop Manager. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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There is perhaps nothing more British than fish and chips. Now one Norfolk town appears to be staking a claim to be the region's capital for the popular dish. ABIGAIL NICHOLSON reports...

Wells, on the north Norfolk coast, is widely renowned for its natural beauty, quaint shops and cottages and old world charm.

Now with two fish and chip shops, just metres apart on the town's Quayside, shortlisted in the fight to be named the best in the country, is Wells our region's kings of the cod dinner?

Some people prefer market chips from Great Yarmouth or a seaside feast in Cromer but two eateries in Wells are bidding to win the flagship Fish and Chip Shop of the Year award.

French's Fish Shop and Plattens Fish and Chips are both in the running for the award, that recognises outstanding businesses across the country.

Two Norfolk fish and chip shops named among best in country. Picture: Victoria PertusaTwo Norfolk fish and chip shops named among best in country. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The establishments will not just be judged on the food they sell, but also by mystery shopping visits, full business performance audits of premises followed by presentations to an industry judging panel.

It was no surprise to Mike Johnson, visiting Wells from Bradford, that the shops were being recognised for their quality at a national level.

He said: "We come on holiday to Norfolk every year and we would never go to anywhere else but Wells for our fish and chips."

While James Taylor from Norwich said: "We go between Cromer and Wells for our fish and chips, but I have to say that we always end up going back to Plattens."

Reporter Abby Nicholson enjoying French's Fish & Chips. Picture: Victoria PertusaReporter Abby Nicholson enjoying French's Fish & Chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The pair of eateries have been up for multiple award in the past including the Region's Best Fish and Chip Shop award.

Jason Crook, shop manager at French's, said: "We always keep our standard for the National Federation of Fish Fryers. It's great for our customers to see that we are keeping a tight ship and it is nice to have the posters on the wall."

Matthew Beck, shop manager at Plattens said: "We have brilliant customer service, use great produce and like to make our customers feel welcome at Plattens. We feel this is something really important."

Who do you think sells the best fish and chips? Make sure you vote in out poll at the top of the article.

Dad and son enjoying a meal out at Platten's. Picture: Victoria PertusaDad and son enjoying a meal out at Platten's. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The winner of the Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Award will be announced at The National Fish & Chip Awards' 32nd anniversary ceremony in London on January 23, 2020.

French's Fish and Chips

French's, which has been luring customers in Wells with its bait of freshly cooked local fish and chips for 90 years, has been in the same family since it opened its doors.

Team members of French's fish & chips. Picture: Victoria PertusaTeam members of French's fish & chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The shop was opened by William Thomas French who passed the business onto his two sons Maurice and Reggie who then subsequently left it in the hands of Marcus French.

Jason Crook, the shop manager said: "This is massive for us at French's Fish and Chips, we are thrilled to have been shortlisted and named one of the best in the country.

"As much as we do cater to holiday makers, we are still a community chip shop that helps out when and where we can."

The fish and chip shop has won many awards over the years including 'Best in Region' for the National Fish & Chip Awards 2016.

Clients of French's Fish & Chips in Well-Next-to-Sea. Picture: Victoria PertusaClients of French's Fish & Chips in Well-Next-to-Sea. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Plattens Fish and Chips

Plattens has been producing quality food that captures the essence of Wells' spectacular costal scenery.

Phil Platten, whose family have been frying fish at Wells Quay since the 1960s, invested £2m into the business after refurbishing his building.

Platten's fish and chips. Picture: Victoria PertusaPlatten's fish and chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

The Shop With a View was turned into an upmarket fish restaurant, which offers both traditional seaside fish and chips alongside more exotic Mediterranean and European dishes.

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The bingo hall is now a smart gift shop, with holiday apartments above offering a stunning view over the harbour.

Mr Platten said: "We are honoured to have been shortlisted for this award again, I'm so happy for all of my staff and the community of Wells who keep us going.

Team members of Platten's Fish & Chips. Picture: Victoria PertusaTeam members of Platten's Fish & Chips. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

"Wells is a beautiful place to live and work and we are thrilled to do our bit for the community."

The shop has been in the Platten family for four generations.

Five other popular fish and chip shops

Clients of French's Fish & Chips in Well-Next-to-Sea. Picture: Victoria PertusaClients of French's Fish & Chips in Well-Next-to-Sea. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

1) Norwich - Grosvenor Fish Bar

With more than 2,000 reviews on Trip Advisor, Grosvenor Fish Bar is a firm favourite for Norfolk residents visiting the city.

The independent chippy, located in Lower Goat Lane, serve up a selection of wraps, sandwiches, burgers and the usual fish and chip's fare.

2) Cromer - No1 Cromer

After being shortlisted for the national fish and chip awards last year, No1 Cromer is known for its lunchtime treats.

With hundreds of positive reviews, the shop has four and a half stars out of five on Trip Advisor.

3) Sheringham - The Sheringham Trawler

Having only opened in 2014, The Trawler has made quite the impact on people visiting the area.

The ship-themed restaurant has four and a half stars on Trip Advisor.

4) Great Yarmouth - Fish & Grill

Another seaside favourite with over 1,300 reviews is Fish & Grill in Great Yarmouth.

The chippy on Marine Parade sells everything from fish and chips to burgers and ribs.

5) Holt / Thornham - Eric's

The national eatery has shops in St Ives, Thornham and as of last month, Holt.

Known for doing things a bit differently - including offering deep-fried Creme Eggs in the lead-up to Easter, Eric's is also rated four and a half out of five on Trip Advisor.

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