Whelans (April 2005)
This is an archived article from 2005.
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Rick Stein recommends it. Gordon Ramsay celebrated his 40th birthday there last year. But you can banish all thoughts of fancy Modern British cuisine and exalted Michelin star status. It's a humble fish and chip shop, a fixture of Lytham high street for many a year, that's been drawing all of the plaudits.
If you've never been there, Whelans (view 360 movies) is a little more that your average chippy. After a recent renovation, even regular customers will notice the difference - a modern façade, brand-new computer-controlled frying range, expanded menu and a bright, airy upstairs restaurant to complement the existing downstairs eaterie.
Whilst the takeaway counter does good business (as the long queues at lunch and teatime bear witness), more and more people are looking for a more upmarket fish and chip experience in the form of a proper sit-down meal. Whelans caters for diners now on two floors with the original restaurant area past the takeaway counter and the new bright and airy upstairs dining room offering a more relaxed experience away from the hustle and bustle. Both are simply but smartly furnished with light wood tables and chairs, wooden floors, and mirrors and paintings adorning the walls.
The real giveaway is the Whelans wine list. Forget about your can of Tizer or shandy, here you can wash your meal down with a bottle of Louis Dornier champagne (£23.50), the most expensive choice of 11 wines that start at £8.50 and two of which are available by the glass (£2.65). Foodwise, as in most northern fish and chip shops, haddock is king, with cod close behind. Other options include John Dory, halibut and salmon. A meal with fish, chips, bread & butter and a choice of soft drink, tea or coffee starts at £4.75, rising to £12.95 for a large halibut. Cheaper options are available for kids and senior citizens -- people who don't like fish are catered for with a selection of Holland's pies. Whelans also do there own gourmet fish cakes and a small selection of desserts including lemon meringue pie and tiramisu.
Fish and chip shops this side of the Pennines tend to use vegetable oil, whereas dripping (less healthy) is more common in Yorkshire. Whelans has a state-of-the-art computerised system that uses vegetable oil that's filtered twice a day, ensuring what ends up on your plate is top quality. Take a leaf out of Rick Stein's book (literally) and try out the only fish and chip shop in the northwest recommended in his Seafood Lovers' Guide.
26 Clifton Street
Tel: 01253 735188
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