If it’s coley, then we want to know

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Sustainable, that’s what it is’, chortled Luscious Lez (LL) for the umpteenth time.

‘I know’ I grumped.

‘I may be somewhere between juvenile and senile, but I know what sustainable is.’

The girlie banter had kicked off between us last Friday evening at the opening of The Boat Deck on South Parade Pier, Southsea (night’s profits going to the RNLI).

First, I’d like to congratulate Owain and Rosie for opening up a fish and chip establishment in a recession – and on the dilapidated pier.

But I’ve got to say it as I see it. What does fish and chips mean to you folks? It means cod to me.

So when I ordered two portions at the counter, I inquired: ‘Is it cod?’

‘No, it’s coley’ came the reply.

‘Well you should have written coley on your menu chalkboard. I don’t like coley’ I complained.

So off I stomped back to LL, grumbling that the last time I bought coley was in the 1950s when my Roman Catholic fire and brimstone Scots gran sent me to the fresh fish shop for threepenn’orth of coley for the cat.

LL reminded me - again - that the The Boat Deck’s produce was sustainable and locally-sourced.

Yes, yes, but to most Brits I maintain that fish and chips means cod. They’re not paying attention to the sustainable bit – yet.

I’ve asked loads of people what fish and chips is to them and they have answered COD.

So I ordered goujons of lemon sole and chips and LL had breaded king prawn scampi and chips.

Twenty five minutes later, my name was called and I collected two brown takeaway-style cardboard boxes of food.

My goujons of sole were delicious, as was LL’s king prawn scampi. But my chips weren’t warm enough.

Over the week I’ve spoken to lots of local people who really want The Boat Deck to succeed. And believe me, so do I.

But I maintain that all fish and chip shops need to tell people exactly what sustainable locally-sourced fish they are serving.