Anchor Fish and Chips

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http://www.theanchorfishandchips.com/food-truck1.html

https://twitter.com/AnchorFoodTruck

Main Location: Breweries, Events, Etc

              A subset of their successful British-based restaurant, Anchor Fish and Chips launched their Truck of same menu around 2011. Offering traditional British Street Foods, Anchor serves, as you’d guess it, Fish and Chips. Alongside these, one can also purchase a couple Pasties, Battered Sausage, traditional Sides, and a couple sauces.

            Somewhat flexible, all Main items can come with or without Chips, which on their own can come plain or topped with Gravy or Curry (See Potter’s Pasties for a review of Britain and Curries). Eaten with a beer at whatever Brewery they park next to; one can find that almost-traditional British experience right in the city.

            And without having to go to a restaurant.

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Food: 6

            The Fish is HUGE, you definitely get the bang for your buck on that. Batter is crispy, thick, and flavorful, covering the still-juicy meat completely, resulting in a very well done fried fish. Drip some of that Vinegar right over the top, you get that salty-tart heavenly goodness, and that’s without the Tartar Sauce. I haven’t had the Sausage or Pasties, but I imagine they’re both almost as good as the fish. Though, I would somewhat doubt their pasties’ overall flavor to be better than Potter’s.

            These are where the Highlights end.

            For a place where Chips/French Fries embodies half of their name, I find the potatoes sorely disappointing. Unevenly cut in a noticeable way, they are also unevenly cooked, any crispiness from the friar is lost after a few seconds. Bigger, “steak fry” sized cuts are the norm, resulting in that soft, potato-y flavor to them; but not the good kind. Worst of all, they have a habit of absorbing that strong, not-so-pleasant flavor of used oil. Not so bad at first, but as you’re working your way through them it starts to grow and become noticeable.

            Ultimately, mediocre chips at best, nothing to really proclaim about. Makes me wonder and doubt what their other sides are like.

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            I find the curry a bit unsuitable for the menu as well. A Yellow variety, it certainly has a nice flavor to it, though I do think the spices are used a little lighter than they should be. It should really have a much stronger, richer curry to handle the potatoes which they go with. My main issue is consistency; when I saw “Curry Chips” on the menu, I imagined it made more like a thickened sauce, Gravy-like if you would. But really it is more along the lines of a clinging chunky soup. Can’t really “dip” the chips in with that much success, and I don’t think I’d want it poured over either.

            I’ve actually had the good fortune of eating Indian Curry in Britain, and I will tell you that the sauces they use don’t look at all like Anchor’s.

Holdability: 7

            Depends on what one gets, I have actually found it not too difficult to walk around with the Fish and Chips, even with its size. Only real issue I’ve found is residual heat. The main consideration is if one wants to get a side or sauce to go with; or possibly a beer (I would actually suggest it, as the Fish and Chips really need some drink to cut the Rich Fat and Saltiness). Find a place to sit is then imperative, but no real worry; Anchor usually shows at places with tables and other sitting spots.

            A good idea if you want to get curry or gravy; just get the Curry/Gravy Chips, and then order any fish/pastie/sausage on its own to put on top. They don’t charge any differently than if it was on the side.

Price: 5

            They charge you if you want tartar sauce. I’ll say that again. They CHARGE YOU if you want TARTAR SAUCE, with your FISH AND CHIPS. It’s only 50 cents, and at least it isn’t one of those tiny little cups you can’t even use, but that doesn’t matter. There are only a few singular rules that we as of nation have developed when it comes to how we eat fried fish and potatoes. One of those rules is this: TARTAR SAUCE COMES WITH FREE. Whether you have it with or without the sauce, no extra charge is given.

            This isn’t my only problem with the menu prices. If you want a side of Gravy or Curry, which I think is a great thing for people to try on their first trip, it costs an extra $3. For a menu soup or snack item, that’s cheap. For a little SAUCE on the side, on a Food Truck? It is simply ridiculous. I couldn’t fathom how they could charge more than a dollar for it, then I finally ordered one and understood; they give you an entire soup cup’s worth, maybe even more. WAY more sauce is given then is actually needed, and because of this they deem that they can charge more (despite the fact that the actual COST of what was given is only a few cents more than if they had given you half).

            What’s most annoying is they offer no way of skirting prices through different menu options, combos, etc. Every single combination of food costs the same as if you got all the items individually. So no matter what one does, they end up paying in full whether they agree with a price or not.

            Now, as for the entrée items, they all range between $5 and $7, with an extra $2 added if getting with chips. For how much you get, that separately can come in at a pretty decent price. Just don’t get any sauce.

Speed: 8

             Average speed, mainly just have to wait for Chips and Entrees to Fry, sides and sauces being pre-made.

The TOE: 5

           Bringing a Truck like this is a great idea, offering all the main British Street and Comfort Foods outside of just the restaurant. They have some of that feeling of a Food Truck, and reading the menu almost transports you to a British Stand.

            At the end of the day though, this Truck is based off of a Restaurant, and the way they handle their foods and pricing are reflective as such. There are many factors within a Truck that, even if practically nonexistent, doesn’t affect the feeling you get when you visit; that’s just their style, or they might just need time to improve. But pricing is the one thing I will NOT budge on, as you will see, because THEY are the ones who make the conscious choice of what they put on the menu and what they charge for them.

           True Food Trucks do not practice ways to sneak you out of the extra dollar here and there in such obviously unneeded ways. A True Food Truck is about giving you what they can, having extra sauces and pickles on the ledge to dress your taco however you want, and offering that little special something that makes you want to come back. If you spend an extra $3 dollars whenever you go to a Truck, it’s because you’re buying something that you REALLY LIKE and that actually DESERVES to cost that much, if not more.

          This may be just my opinion, but it is strong, and I do not think little of it, especially when it comes to our Food Trucks. Just because you are based off of a Restaurant, does not mean your Truck should be designed in the Exact Same Way.

                       Tally: 31/50

Final Thoughts

            Really good, enjoyable Truck for the sit-down lunches. I would suggest visiting them on the days that they are next to Fulton or one of the other local Breweries, because it just makes the experience.

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            The Fish is a must-have on your first visit. Sadly, I must say to avoid the Chips, they just aren’t that worth getting; there are a lot better fries throughout the City. Though, if for some reason Anchor and Neato are nearby each other, go buy yourself some Duck Fat Fries and make your own special experience.

            Alright, you’re gonna have to buy the Tartar Sauce; I think it’s stupid myself, but at least it’s only 50 cents, and you should really have some with your first Fish. If you’re looking for a Side, Coleslaw or Heinz Beans (Mush Peas are rarely good even in England).

            After that, maybe try the Sausage or Pastie, see how they relate to Potter’s. But personally I have no real urge to go back here again, price or not.

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