Maddy's Fish Bar, 397 New Cross Road

Maddy's Fish Bar in New Cross is now open. We tried it for the first time last night, expecting to beat the rush by getting there just after 7pm, but found it already packed. The golden rule of Greater Brockley: Good news travels fast.

It's an excellent new addition to the local seascape, offering a different kind of fish and chip experience from the likes of Tony's Plaice or Fishy Business, and different again from Brockley's Rock. Portions are smaller but more delicate and while the menu focuses on doing a few things well, there are also some surprises, like gorgeous chicken nuggets. The chips come with the skin on, the batter is tempura and the mushy peas are the best we've ever had.

63 comments:

Richard Elliot said...

I've cycled past it quite a few times now and hope to try it this weekend.

Jon said...

Greater Brockley my foot. Brockley is for squares.

Artificial hipster said...

"My foot", "Squares"? Right on, daddy-o.

terrencetrentderby said...

"Portions are smaller but more delicate", is this a chippy? You people.

Ciaran Shaw said...

No it's not a 'Chippy'.

Curious Orange said...

What is it?

Rob 'Newcrosslad' said...

I support independent local business - does it have to be so expensive though?! £2.50 for a small portion of chips?!! Crazy. They are basically ostracizing the majority of New Cross residents with those prices, making it a enclave for the invasion of hipsters. Certainly it is NOT a proper chippy. That means that New Cross no longer has a proper 'fish n chip' shop as far as I am aware :(

Gill said...

The old one that was there was crap anyway, so there never was a proper chippy in New Cross. We have to go to Brockley for traditional fish n chips from Fishy Business. This is something a bit different - which there is room for. I think New Cross could still fit in a standard chippy if one were to open.

Cod said...

Family Fish Bar on the OKR end of New Cross Road is a proper chippy and it's fantastic.

£2.50 for a portion of chips is a tad steep but for £8.50 at Maddy's you get a piece of fish, a portion of chips and a side of coleslaw. Quite reasonable.

Rob 'Newcrosslad' said...

Pfft! The old chippy was great! The McCartney Special etc etc. The old couple that ran it were lovely - "Hello dear! How are you dear? Nice/bad/indifferent [delete as appropriate] weather today isn't it dear? Yes..." Lovely. I love the idea of something a bit different - just not at these prices and full of closed-circle hipsters. Family Fish Bar is a bit far really, though I suppose it's an option. I prefer the one on Greenwich High St - an equally long hike though just for a battered sausage & a chip butty!

Rob 'Newcrosslad' said...

When was £8.50 'reasonable' for fish n chips? I suppose it's the fish that makes it cost more if it's locally caught and sustainably fished etc - which is indeed a worthy cause. At the old place I used to get a small battered sausage, a 'fish bite' (small piece of battered fish about same size as the sausage) and a chip butty all for under £4.

Aricana said...

I ate at Maddy's Fish Bar yesterday and liked it very much! I think of it as an alternative fish and chip shop. I like the independent business that have opened up in NX but still hate the traffic levels and fumes!

Monkeyboy said...

who cares? its discretionary spend, not selling vital baby food to impoverished mothers.

John Bingham-Hall said...

We have plenty of takeaways in New Cross and plenty of places to get chips for £1. Maddy's have done amazingly to keep the prices where they are considering the care taken over provenance & quality. I really don't understand this backlash against anything that pays attention to ingredients and design being accused of "hipsterism". It's not like the fashion police are on the door checking beard length and tightness of jeans.


I had a delicious whiting & chips with fresh slaw for £6.50, in a nice clean little sit down eatery. Who is that ostracizing?Anyone who's ever been able to afford to go out for dinner anywhere can go to Maddy's. OK not everyone can afford to go out for dinner at all, but that really is not an issue one fish bar (a chippy is not what they're claiming to be) is responsible for solving.

As far as I understand the old fish & chip shop decided to close down & asked the Particular if they could help find a new occupier as they, rightly, recognised the great work the Particular does (proper home cooking, friendly local etc etc).They've brought a bit of excitement to a sometimes grey area and it's a hell of a lot better than the empty shop that would most likely be there otherwise. It's way too easy to write off every new opening as "hipster invaders" without paying attention to the quality and success of what they're actually doing.


And PS "hipsters" (I can use the term so broadly as it is utterly meaningless anyway) have been coming to study art in New Cross since Goldsmiths Technical and Recreative Institute was renamed Goldsmiths College in 1904 and all those continuing to do so now (and eating good quality fish and chips in a nicely designed interior while they're at it) should hold their heads high and be unashamed to call New Cross a place of their own.

Popeye said...

Slaw?

John Bingham-Hall said...

Slaw. It's the part of the word coleslaw that relates to the word for salad in the old Dutch word koolsla that was originally Anglicized, and has now been Americanised, quite legitimately, to refer to this general family of salads in which cruciferous or winter vegetables are shredded and dressed.


So yes, slaw.

mm said...

Exactly along the lines of what i was thinking this afternoon in reply to this post. Baffles me why people are so quick to shoot down businesses that have the nouse and creativity to see a gap in the market and do well out of it. What is a 'hipster'? Is it derogatory term for people below a certain age and who have a sense of style? (I've seen all ages and a varying levels of stylishness) Or does it define someone who has better things to do that whinge on about the price of F&C on local messageboards?

I love the concept and the food. The last place went down the pan because it was bog standard and not enough went there. I'm sure this place will do very well indeed.

NAT said...

A hipster, as you ask, is a young gentleman who takes his fashion cues from the character 'oddball' in the film 'Kelly's Heroes'. You must have seen a few around.



Their demeanour is quite serious, and they revel in obscure detail and would be familiar with the etymology of common words.

Rob 'Newcrosslad' said...

I'm not against the good and ethically sourced food - it's the inflated price they are charging for it because the place is 'on trend'. Considering the place was partly crowd funded (some of the equipment) you'd think that would have kept the prices down a bit. I'd dearly like to go there and enjoy the food - I just can't afford it! Not unless I wanted a proper meal out, in which case I'd want a proper restaurant with space to sit at a table. There aren't actually plenty of places to get chips in New Cross either - not proper chippy style chips. Chicken shop fries do not count! Hence the loss of the traditional chippy is most annoying. Equally, I have no objection to truly original and individual artists and students. What annoys me is the All Saints/Topman 'Hipster' invasion from Shoreditch and Dalston - the ones following the trend so ridgedly they all look the same - beards, ankle length trousers with no socks, hair shaved at side with little ponytail high on top etc. Unfortunately it is these I see in the LP. Also, if they are artists and students - how are they affording £8.50 for fast food (albeit posh fast food)?

John Bingham-Hall said...

I'm aware it was crowdfunded. I myself contributed. The reason they needed to turn to crowdfunding is because they are a small operation without the capital resources of a large chain to invest in a new operation. Exactly the same reason why they can't afford to artificially suppress prices through economies of scale and pressurising food producers in the way Tesco's or McDonalds too. You can't have it all: "good and ethical" food as well as bargain basement prices.


It's ludicrous and frankly downright offensive to argue over the validity of students as cultural beings based upon their clothing choices. Does someone wearing Topman REALLY, in your view, have less of a right to enjoy what this neighbourhood have to offer? And I'm certainly not going to get into an argument over the difference between chips and fries.


I just really am confused and saddened that an independent business connected to and invested in this area can induce such an adverse reaction. I'm interested to know exactly what the negative effect this has on the wider area is in your opinion, or how it stops anyone that doesn't choose to patronise it from getting on with their own lives?

Monkeyboy said...

so chicken shop food is not for you, maddys is not for you? the fact that maddys exists doesn't prevent another opening that will fit your expectations. it not a human right to find a chip shop exactly toy your specifications.

and the hipster thing, its amusing to mock but again you seem to think that there is only demographic worth beloning too. yours presumably.

you have a chip on your shoulder

*takes a bow, exits stage left*

Monkeyboy said...

oh, and "ethically sourced" is as much a middle class affectation as any amount of facial hair.

Gibby said...

curtsies

Rob 'Newcrosslad' said...

Lol to the chip on my shoulder bit. Made me smile. As for the rest and what John said - I'm basically just saying that I'm annoyed the traditional fish & chip shop has been replaced by something effectively entirely different - when there was some suggestion that it would be replaced by something similar, if a bit more 'special'. Good locally sourced/ethical food, whilst not being 'bargain prices' does not need to be 'premium' prices either.

And again, whilst their sheep-like following of the latest trend at the same time as thinking they are so individual and creative annoys me, I have no overall issue with Hipsters per se (and certainly no problem with students - though I don't believe students can be the main customers at those prices). They just become the objects of my wrath when they are 90% of the clientele of the place which has replaced my local chippy. I imagine you might be equally annoyed should the LP close and be replaced by a Starbucks.

As a local, well of 10 years anyway, I find it galling that a 'local small business' with all it's worthy credentials is not really open to the majority of local residents (which includes the students) - who are prevented from going there on a regular casual basis by the prices. You'll also note that the clientele at Maddy's and LP are predominantly caucasian - whereas the old chippy much more accurately reflected the local ethnic and cultural mix. So basically I'm saying that it is indeed a loss to the local community, as the new place does not reflect the needs of that community on a wider basis like the old place did.

If Maddy's lowered it's prices a tad - say Small Chips for £1.75 instead of £2.50 - and became a bit more open to everyone - then I'll pop in, rather than just walking past every day.

Monkeyboy said...

you've just described every fashion ever. from punks to goths to hippies to however you dress. dont really see the relevence. as for prices, thats retail, its how the market has worked for 1000 years. it has no obligation to 'serve' the community any more than the corner shop.

Damian said...

I think you've missed the point by comparing it to a local chippy, think of it as a restaurant. A bloody decent one too, and £8.50, very reasonable. I paid £6 for dinner in burger king last week and thats hardly only open to the upper classes. Go there one time, it'll change your mind.
Ps the 'closed cirlce hipster' thing isn't accurate, Im a plumber, no beard, no arts degree, Maddy and here team were very welcoming

Andrea said...

Why does this nonsense continue to be spouted that businesses overcharging customers is a result of them not being part of some big evil chain with an economy of scale? There is a difference between an independent business charging more than a supermarket, which one would expect, and actually overcharging its customers. Wellbeloved Butchers charge more than a supermarket but I wouldn't say that they overcharge. Maddy's Fish Bar (it's not a chippy!) is another example of middle class people (I count myself as middle class too) understandably wanting a middle class income but by doing a working class occupation. The previous 'fish bar' had lovely people but the food was crap and it reflected the general decline in the quality of food production in this country. I think there is definitely a place for a 'fish bar' like The Laughing Halibut where you can sit down and get good fish and chips, a beer and all for less than you will pay at Maddy's Fish Bar, without this pushing out Maddy's. Paying more than the going rate is fine if there are great culinary skills displayed by the chef. But fish & chips?

Brockley Nick said...

If they overcharge, customers won't go. It will close. I predict they will be and remain popular.

Andrea said...

That's not quite true. Branded goods are sold at different prices by different companies. Fortnum and Masons charge considerably more for Colman's mustard than the Tesco Express round the corner from it but both survive. People don't buy Colman's mustard from F&M because they like paying more for it or because they think they're getting better value for money. People shop at businesses for a variety of reasons other than price. I suspect this will be the same for Maddy's Fish Bar. The Royal Albert thrived on selling crap food and beer for a long time. Thankfully they now serve good beer and average food.

Brockley Nick said...

Yes - that doesn't alter the fact that businesses choose the prices their customers are willing to pay or they go bust. Same is true for fortunes. Customers pay for ambience as well as the contents of a jar of mustard.

Anon said...

What I love most about people, is there stupidity in trying to define others. By placing them into some sort of demographic box and using it as a definitive guide, to answer all or as a possible reason behind any success or failure, without any real context or rational behind it.

It all just smacks of plain old ignorance to me.

People penultimately vote with their feet as they say, Maddy's will rise or fall, adapt, survive or die, under it's own leadership and will have it's own natural life span.

The world has never been so richer, murky and mixed and I love it that way.

And please kids, don't forget to vote ;)

terrencetrentderby said...

Do they sell picked eggs? Like a good egg with chips soaked in pickle vinegar mmmm.

Andrea said...

You're quite right, which means that Maddy's are selling based on what customers will pay and not entirely on quality. They are tapping into a particular market and fair play to them.

When I worked in the Faringdon area I used to visit Exmouth Market for lunch and there was always a guy selling a portobello (portabella?) mushroom on a bun for about £4. Surprisingly, people queued down the length of the market to buy it. I used to get annoyed by him but then I realised he was just taking advantage of idiots and was a canny businessman.

SE4 Bwoy! said...

I agree. What concerns me about these boutique fish 'n' chips shops is that really they exist to cater for a certain group of people who really do think that paying £8.50 for a serving is a bargain, not many of the 'indigenous' folk of New Cross would agree , speaking as a someone who remembers being sent to the Family Fish Bar ( not to most BC'ers liking I would guess!) to pick up Friday nights treat for the family back in the late 70's early 80's.....with extra crackling! I suppose you can't stop change, but don't confuse it with progress...

dave said...

I think that there's an element of The Emperor's Clothes about all this .
Because something is sold above the usual 'affordable' price there some who believe that it is of superior quality . Fish and Chips is simple food , it doesn't cost more to cook it well than it does to cook it badly.
If people want to pay 2 or 3 pounds more for something in Maddy's that they can get relatively nearby and is cheaper , more fool them .

Gill said...

£8.50 is not a lot for a freshly cooked meal for goodness sake. If you want to eat cheap crap food, take your pick from the dozen or so chicken & kebab shops that line New Cross Road. Seriously.

Monkeyboy said...

the 'indigenous' fearing the outsider...sounds depressingly familiar.

its a place that sells food, its not stoping any other alternative provision.

dave said...

I think £8.50 is overpriced for fish and chips , I can buy fish and chips for £2.50 less in any many places in se London .... Freshly cooked !

Gill said...

Yes, I paid £6.70 for a giant portion of cod and chips last night from Fishy Business, and it was lovely. But the fish wasn't caught off Cornwall that morning and the chips were standard chip shop chips. Sometimes I spend 3 quid on burger and chips in McDonalds and sometimes I spend a tenner on it in a nice pub. It's about having choice, why would anyone want everything to be the same?

dave said...

Thank you Gill you have just reinforced my point , well done !

Gill said...

Not really, you said people can buy the same thing nearby and cheaper. It'll be cheaper, but it won't be the same.

Danja said...

I don't know, you could use better ingredients at a higher cost - fresher fish, cut chips from fresh potatoes rather than pour them ready cut from a freezer bag, use better oil/fat and change it more regularly, twice-cook the chips for a better result at additional labour cost, etc. I don't know whether in fact this is what Maddy's do, but they are all things which can improve the food at the expense of additional cost. You might not notice, others might. (I'm somewhere in the middle in that I find fish and chips more enticing in advance than they are in the eating, but when I do have them I notice fresher fish, and find twice cooked chips are way crisper and stale oil/fat is horrible and very common).
Or you could just be trendy and charge more for the ambience and experience, etc. In which case I would be much closer to agreeing with you.

dave said...

Yes . the same thing cheaper , but not inferior

NAT said...

True. If you wanted to go down the 'Added Value' route, Fish'nChips would seem to be a strange place to start.


Has anyone been to Fish Republic on Ilderton Road? Isn't that New Cross?

Ian Beale said...

I wouldn't read this blog if I opended a local business, would probably top myself. Bunch of complaining gits.

Abi said...

Worst place I've been in for a long time. First I found a blonde hair in my food and the staff were very unhelpful and RUDE. THERE WAS A RAT TRAP BEHIND THE COUNTER WHERE THEY COOK THE FOOD. Will never be going back in there again and i would advise others to keep away too.

AnneC said...

We ate there on Friday. The food was great and well worth the money.
Re some of the other comments
- my husband isn't white. We were sat next to two Japanese girls and there was an Asian guy at another table. Can we stop saying it's only for Caucasians now.
- food is more expensive than other chippies in the area but of higher quality than the other one on NX road for example.
- the chip shop on Ilderton Rd is vile. Nothing fresh - all frozen
- hipsters. New Cross has always attracted people who could be described this way. We moved to New Cross 19 years ago as the alternative scene attracted us (Dewdrops Inn/Goldsmiths Tavern).
- I find the word indigenous way more offensive than hipster
- all this talk about excluding 'indigenous people& etc - there are approx 20 fried chicken shops on the NX Rd where you can buy food for £2. Maddys offers something different for those who don't want a greasy box of fried chicken. Why can't NX have options? I'm just thankful it's not another fried chicken shop/religious goods store/barbers.

It's like some people don't want New Cross to have nice places.

anonymouse said...

Chips should be cooked in dripping.

Headhunter said...

Maddy's (and New Cross in general) reviewed in Japanese:

http://www.asahi.com/and_w/fashion/SDI2014050256851.html

Monkeyboy said...

A trapped rat is better than a rat on the loose (in your kitchen or anywhere frankly)

terrencetrentderby said...

Who has the best chips though? Are Maddy's good? This is very important.

Was a bit disappointed by trendy chippy and BC darling Brockley Rock's dry potato offering. Gluten free batter though which made my coeliac (has this replaced dyslexia as the trendy affliction?) friend happy.

Senol on Frendsbury Road may look like it belongs in Soweto but they actually do quite nice fish and chips, and at ghetto prices.

Brockley Nick said...

If you want the classic "chippy" chip, then this place is not for you. They are skins-on. It's apples and oranges ;)

terrencetrentderby said...

I dig skins, the chips needs to just not be bone dry or if they are they should very crispy.

Never tried tempura batter and cod, bit too leftfield for me.

#chiponshoulder

Monkeyboy said...

Oh a rat TRAP rather than a TRAPPED RAT. you disapprove of rodent prevention or worried that the trap may magically jump into the fryer?

Andrea said...

I finally managed to pay a visit to Maddy's tonight. I was fully expecting to feel overcharged but at least happy with good food. The cod was tasty and wasn't dry. The batter had a lot of dill in it which isn't entirely to my liking but that's just personal taste. The batter was more like tempura which isn't really what I want from a chippy but it was crispy. The chips were very poor and marginally better than the last place. They weren't crispy and flopped on the fork. The potato inside was more like firm cheesecake rather than fluffy. Perhaps this was a one off but when you charge what they do I expect some consistency with quality, unless I suspect, it's always this bad.

Sally Higgins said...

Although l am slightly behind the discuss; nonetheless I felt that the opinion of a resident of New cross for the last 23 years might offer another dimension to the already colourful discussion. I think it is safe to say the double barrelled @Bingham-Hall is undoubtedly financially incentivised in his rose tinted, board-line farcical assessment of what is: Maddy's Fish Bar. Having enjoyed what was a 'fish burger' at £5.50, and their undeniably good quality chips; followed by another trip where a traditional haddock and chips was consumed, I can start by saying that the food is generally good quality and something of the throwback to days when quality fish and chip shops were the norm in London. Although still living the 'student life' as it were, they can be haphazard in when they are open. A market stall type of arrangement; where the establishment of set opening and closing times is lost on the proprietor. Whats more, the beautiful young ladies behind the counter can come across as intimidating to those less cultured: I was greeted on both occasions with looks of 'what is she doing here, this place is for us!'.

I am in strong agreement with the assessment offered by @Newcrosslad in his characterisation. Maddy's Fish Bar is merely a cog in the wheel that is the wider gentrification of New Cross: deemed a 'ghetto' since as late as 2006, a slow deliberate process of bifurcation has started that will price out 'ordinary Londoners' out of New Cross. The owners of Maddy's Fish Bar represent the new breed of home county, self entitled- festival goers, who for years expelled the virtues of the countryside, and yet leave the minute they turn of age. With that: they are here.

In 2010 a cafe by the name of London Particular opened, closely followed by Chinwag (no further than 100 yards from one another). With that I witnessed the ultimate sign that 'they' were indeed here. A Sainsbury's local opened. One that was not needed: on account of the fact that a 5 minutes walk in either direct would yield alternative supermarkets. However, the juggernaut had gained pace, and so it opened and resulted in, (as is often the case) the closure of the convenience store that shared the same shop front. What replaced that l hear you ask? But of course yet another unwanted, overpriced cafe for the hipsters and foreigners (none without exception were born and raised in this city l have always called home).

In summation: Maddy's Fish Bar while 'nice but pricey'; represents a symbol of the wider change of the landscape of New Cross which will result in, (particularly for those unfortunate enough to not own their own home) London being only for the self sufficient and reasonably financially secure. The next stage is the development of "Luxury Apartments only 11 Minutes from London Bridge", and then you'll know it really is over.

P.s I loved the old couple who previously owned the shop. Shame they had to sell up.

warmer said...

"With that I witnessed the ultimate sign that 'they' were indeed here"

What an incoherent rant. Chinwag is £7 for a massive burger, if you don't feel comfortable in these establishments I think that is your issue, I myself am not of the right age nor do I move in the correct circles having never gone to Goldsmith's (or any uni) but have felt very welcomed when I've gone in.

I often feel looking in that I'm not quite right for there or don't fit but I have the self awareness to realise that is my issue and not something they have actively cultivated.

The students have kept the eating out prices relatively low in New Cross compared to Brockley.

Headhunter said...

Went to Maddy's last week, the food was very tasty and I'd definitely go back. The chips had their skins on, the batter was incredibly crispy and had dill in it, which I quite liked. It must have gone pretty much straight from the fryer to the plate, to us as it was poker hot when it arrived (and hence crispy). Portions not as large as a trad chippie as others have said - at Fishy Business you get enough food for 2 with a small fish and chips!

NAT said...

They didn't even peel the potatoes!

Danja said...

P.s I loved the old couple who previously owned the shop. Shame they had to sell up.

Were they willing sellers or did you mean to imply some more sinister forces when you said they "had to sell up"? Did they just want to sell up?

I imagined (perhaps completely incorrectly) that they decided to retire and also imagined that they may in the process have cashed in on some of property value increases in and around New Cross about which you complain about.

I might be completely wrong and they were tenants who were forced out, rather than freeholders who sold (or even are now landlords) to Maddys, so do correct me if I just have the wrong end of the stick.

gabby said...

Coeliac disease is a disease funnily enough and not a 'trendy affliction' or lifestyle choice. I'm surprised your coeliac friend still speaks to you.

louisa said...

Poor. Expensive as, tiny portions and rude staff. You pay a massive £9 (!!!!) for a portion that is smaller than a mini fish and chips anywhere else. Chips are crap, they are fried with the salt on so come too salty. Fish is fried with the skin on?!? Traditional 'Slaw' is disgusting; cabbage that looks days old just plonked on your plate to make the portion size look bigger. Staff were despondent when asked about the menu. Overall this is the most expensive, worst fish and chips I've ever had. DO NOT GO HERE.

Anonymous said...

The couple still own the shop but have leased it to 'Maddy's'

Brockley Central Label Cloud