There is a lot to be said about the experience of waterfront dining – the stunning views, the salty air and a good meal after a long day’s work.
This Gosport restaurant isn’t quite fine dining – but it ticks all the boxes and provides a pleasant experience.
Situated at the end of Gosport High Street, Frydays looks out to the ferry terminal and waterfront gardens. On a nice sunny day (as it is when I visit) this is a particularly pleasant view.
Next door is your traditional takeaway fish and chip shop, with some outdoor seating too, but I opt to sit down inside and enjoy the peace and quiet. There are plenty of seats with a good mix of tables for twos and fours.
As a keen foodie (in this job, you have to be) I know exactly what I want before even looking at the menu. I order the saveloy and chips (£4.45), fish cake (£1.10), breaded mushrooms (£2.50) and a can of Coca-Cola (£1.20).
This is all quite reasonably priced – but I can’t help but notice that the children’s menu is a similar price. To me, if they’re getting smaller portions it should probably come a bit cheaper than the adult equivalents.
But when the plate arrives, I am in for a real shock.
The saveloy and chips is, in fact, two saveloy sausages – plus the chips. It is a revolutionary moment and puts me in a genuinely good mood. It’s the little things in life, I suppose.
The saveloy itself is actually pretty good. The secret to a good saveloy is the consistency of the meat; it has to be cooked thoroughly enough to stop it feeling rubbery, but not so much that it becomes slop. In this case, it rides the line perfectly, and has a decent spicy heat to it as well. My only criticism is the size compared to other chip shops – but I get two, so feel like that would be nitpicking.
As for the chips – I prefer mine not to be as crispy as some others might like. Therefore, this chippy suits me perfectly. The chips are soft and fluffy, and are piping hot, just as all chips should be. However, for those who expect more of a crunch to their chips, I’m afraid you may be a bit disappointed.
Unlike a takeaway chip shop, the salt and vinegar hasn’t been put on by the staff; in a way I see this as a positive as it means I can season them myself, rather than getting a mouthful of salt for my troubles.
Also, for those who like the crispy bits at the bottom of the bag, they are in abundance on the plate too.
The fish cake is arguably the crowning glory of the meal. It has a beautifully crisp exterior, but is so soft and tender inside – it practically falls apart on my fork.
The flavours dance around my mouth when I bite into it; there is a wonderful balance of seasoning, and not just salt and pepper either. There was parsley and I’m convinced there may have been a tiny bit of spice in there too.
Arguably, the fish cake tastes better than those I’ve had at other chip shops around the Solent.
The mushrooms are a bit on the small side, but keep their heat and are as crisp as you would expect – and aren’t dry on the inside either. They aren’t anything special, but also aren’t a detriment to the meal.
Overall, Frydays is a good experience for the high street shopper looking for a decently-priced chippy to fill them up.
Aside from the fish cake – and the world-changing idea of serving two saveloys – the restaurant isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, but it does its job and does it well.
Next time I find myself looking for a bit of grub across the harbour, Frydays will certainly be sitting further up my list of options.
I think I’ll have mushy peas next time, though.