Sunday, 7 September 2008
The vocal demands of a couple of readers meant that Armstrongs of Prestwich was to be my next port of call. Though it doesn’t have an eat-in section, Armstrongs is no humble back street chippy, not only does it have a website but it also has a USP. Armstrongs is the home of the Jumbo Cod. I'd been once before a good while ago and do remember that my portion of chips was huge and even though I'm the proud holder of a Harry Ramsden’s challenge certificate, I couldn’t finish them all. This time however the late Don Revie would have been proud of my preparations. A game of carpet bowls and a trip to the cinema to see The Odessa File the night before, then a strenuous workout at the gym to work up a healthy appetite followed by a short drive up to leafy Prestwich to tackle the fabled battered behemoth. Armstrongs offers a huge selection of soft drinks including the perennial favourite Ben Shaw's Dandelion and Burdock, there’s nowt better to wash your grub down with in my humble opinion.
The boy, who has displayed expertise at scrounging free meals since he first latched onto his mother’s tit 20 seconds after being dragged into this world, came along for the ride too. He chose Cod and Chips (£3.45), whilst I selected the Jumbo Cod and Chips (£6.35). Armstrongs has a unusually large menu for a take away including Prawns, it also offers a choice of Pies (Hollands and Greenhalghs) so it can’t be faulted for variety. I had to wait five minutes for my Jumbo, no worries.
To establish a sense of scale I am now employing the patented Bic Biro technique as you can see the boy’s "normal" Cod and chips was a fair size specimen so I waited with some trepidation for the arrival of the house special.
Whilst waiting I pondered a road sign outside which informed me that Simister was one and a quarter miles down the road on the left. I’ve always liked the sound of the name Simister, I think it’s a shame that Morrissey couldn’t have worked it into a Smiths song somewhere along the line. After all he namechecked Whalley Range and Rusholme amongst others. Maybe he’ll work it into his solo stuff? It’s got great lyrical possibilities...Stella the sinister Simister spinster, hmmm sounds more like a Fall lyric maybe. Mark E. Smith is a local lad of course, The Fall filmed this video up the road in the Woodthorpe Hotel, a cracking Joseph Holts pub which once used to be the Holts family’s home . The song’s not a patch on the R. Dean Taylor original mind.
Anyway my reverie was shattered by the arrival of my Jumbo cod. As you can see from the picture it’s up there with Ron Jeremy when it comes to man-sized portions. The chips once again were a huge mound and whilst me and the boy managed to wolf all the fish between us, the jockeys defeated us. So no doubt about it when it comes to value for money, Armstrongs is hard to fault and scores 10 out of 10 on that score. However if I'm being ultra-picky (which I am) I'd say the batter was a little on the greasy side and some of the chips were a little "bitty" which means I'd award Armstrongs an eight out of ten rating overall. Still definitely a top chippy and undoubtedly one worth going the extra mile for.