Gigs – a reassuring survivor in Fitzrovia, serving quality fish and chips
24 January, 2020 — By Tom Moggach
Gigs Fish and Chips has been in Fitzrovia since 1958
IN these rough times for the high street, it’s a boost to find a cheerful survivor. Gigs Fish and Chips has been trading since 1958 – an eternity in the restaurant trade.
You’ll find it on a side street in Fitzrovia, a minute from Goodge Street tube station. Opposite is a site abandoned by POD, a healthy fast food chain that’s recently gone under.
Gigs was first opened by a Greek priest called Gyriakos at a time when life was very different. Our high streets were bustling before the rise of supermarkets and online shopping. But choice was far more limited: olive oil, for example, was sold by chemists as a lubricant for dislodging ear wax.
Since then, Britain’s food culture has blossomed but our penchant for fish and chips remains unabated. Over the past six decades, Gigs has hosted countless tourists and stars including Paul McCartney, Gary Oldman, Busta Rhymes and Roger Daltrey.
The menu is nothing fancy: quality fish and chips with a side-line in classic Greek cooking. I took a seat by the window on a jet-black table; the far wall is a full-length mirror, cleverly amplifying a sense of space.
Cod and chips costs £13.90 to eat in. At the adjacent takeaway counter, you pay £8.30 for a large portion; £5.99 for their range of lunchtime deals.
“We’re very fresh – we buy everything daily,” says Christopher Jordan, one of two current owners.
The fish is terrific, encased in a thin and crisp batter thinned with a dash of fizzy spring water to add extra crunch. The chips are proper chip-shop chips: thick cut, fried in groundnut oil and full of flavour. But I was distracted by other elements on the menu.
Jordan swears he cooks everything from scratch, right down to the addictive tzatziki, hummus, taramasalata, tartare and chilli sauces. There’s impressive attention to detail, such as in the use of two sizes of pitta bread – the larger specially imported from Cyprus as it perfectly holds their charcoal-grilled kebabs.
I tried some tender chicken, marinated first and served with red onion softened with a splash of lemon juice and twist of black pepper.
Sadly, I had to pass on dishes such as butter beans in a rich tomato sauce (£4.50), a grilled whole seabass with olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and chargrilled vegetables (£16.90) or their create-your-own mezze menu (£18.95).
As I finish, Aristos Papasavva, the other partner, stops by at my table. “Fitzrovia has a community village atmosphere that I think is unique in London,” he observes. “Everyone knows everyone. I hope it stays that way. There’s a lot of development going on but the DNA is still there… it’s a proper community.”
Normally, I would seldom think to eat fish and chips while out and about in central London. But a trip to Gigs, a proud and independent business, is deeply reassuring.
Gigs Fish and Chips
12 Tottenham St, W1T
020 7636 1424