An urban steeple-chase through the food stalls of Camden Market with its litany of greasy noodle bars and the mystical all-you-can-eat buffets is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking Camden Town. Resist the bright lights of fake Dre Beats headphones and hilarious cheap t-shirts of Harry Styles taking a selfie and take the short stroll down Parkway to the newly opened Hook. An ‘anti-traditional’ fish and chip shop going for the hipster carpenter cum fisherman’s cabin look. Stripped back tables with steel chairs sit under hanging bulbs in wire cages that wouldn’t look out of place on the HMS Belfast. Communal tables hum with communal ‘oooos’ and eclectic music soundtracks your evening. Take pleasure in your fellow diner’s faces as you curiously watch them receive wooden boxes filled with generous portions. Order a drink and enjoy the maritime atmosphere.
Cast your preconceptions aside as this isn’t your stereotypical fish and chip shop. Steering clear of the usual fish shop tropes, Hook sources all its fish daily from Cornish fishing boats and the menu is dictated by what sustainable, fresh catch is landed that day. Although it may sound like a law firm, you can expect Pollock, Whiting and Gurnard to be popping up on the menu along with numerous other sustainable fishies. The fish is then cooked in bespoke recipes of either panko breadcrumbs or tempura batter, mixed with specific herbs and spices to give incredible depth of flavour. Share one of each to get the true Hook experience. The Classic Panko Crusted Cod with Seaweed Salted Chips and Homemade Tartare is a delicious entry-level fish for those testing the waters, whilst the Lime, Mint & Wasabi Tempura of Sea Bream with its crispy, spicy batter provides a kick for those looking for some heat. Specials pop-up on the menu and the Ethiopian Berbere Spiced Ling, as tender and delicate as a first kiss, needs to find a permanent place on the menu. Hook’s own Sea-weed Salt and Sherry Vinegar served in an atomiser (nice touch) season the chips perfectly and is a talking point. The chips are ergonomically shaped for dipping and the sauces are where Hook takes it to even greater heights. Sell your granny for a serving of the amazing Garlic Truffle Mayonnaise (this is not advisable on a first date, mind). Local brewers are showcased monthly, and there’s a strong wine-list to keep you suitably moist whilst enjoying the fantastic food & date chat.
In the summer head for the Edinboro’ Castle for its expansive beer garden which has the sun blazing down on it all day. If the weather isn’t kind, head over to the happy hour at Bar 55, lasting 3 hours (obviously) with a cocktail menu that is similar in length to the Yellow Pages, but be sure to get there early to snag a table before the rush descends. FUN FACT: Camden is actually an ancient Latin word which means ‘late night boozing’ and there are plenty of options to keep you going into the early hours. After enjoying the amazing food at Hook, mosey on down to the Blues Kitchen on Camden High Street where late night Rock and Jazz gigs, served up with the finest Bourbon Whiskeys will make you feel like you are in the Deep South. Alternatively, head up towards Chalk Farm, take a pair of seats at the bar in Q Grill and order the Honeycomb Old Fashioned and chat late into the night. Camden is high energy so with the 24 hour weekend tube chugging over the horizon dance until the early hours at Joes 78 where you can practice your best Lindy Hop and Hand Jive!
3. Higher points for the panko and tempura ensuring you don’t have the usual post fish and chips regret.