Happy Haddock Kirkwall

The Happy Haddock is a fish and chip shop, or a chipper where I’m from, located on Junction Road, Kirkwall. It has a very prominent position, and during our recent trip we seemed to drive past it no matter where we were going. That’s why, when we decided to have fish and chips for tea, we didn’t bother looking anywhere else. There is car parking beside the shop.

The menu is more or less what you would expect from a Scottish chipper. The usual choice of fish (haddock, cod, etc) and a few specials – if I remember correctly scallops was on the board when we were there. This will vary I would imagine, dependent on season and the days catch. There was also a selection of sausages, puddings and pies, but there was one glaring omission – no macaroni pies! How could that be? I commented to my dad that maybe macaroni pies were an Aberdonian rather than Scottish “delicacy”, but then remembered I had had one from a chipper in Edinburgh. Maybe they are just not popular with Orcadians – which is fairly incomprehensible given how tasty they are.

In the end, we all decided to have fish suppers. The service was reasonably average – not fast but not slow either. We waited around 10 minutes for our order, with three other customers in at the same time. The staff were efficient and polite although not overly chatty.

Once we got the food back to the house, the first thing I noticed was the wrapping, which I hadn’t really paid attention to in the shop. Instead of being wrapped in paper, or in a box as some places do, each supper was in a medium sized paper bag, which was then rolled over at the top to close it. This in itself was not an issue, it was just a bit odd, but some of the fish had broken up while being put into the bags. Again, this is not really an issue, it’s an aesthetic thing, but just something I noticed.

The chips were, in my opinion, perfectly done. Everyone has their own preference for how chip shop chips are cooked, but mine is erring on the squishy side, not crunchy but soft so they sook up lots of vinegar. And that was exactly how the chips from the Happy Haddock were.

The haddock was also very good, the fish itself well cooked but not overdone. The batter was light and very soft, and could perhaps have done with being just a little bit crispier, but that really is a small criticism.

All in all, the meal was delicious, and exactly what we wanted after a busy day traipsing round Neolithic sites in the open air. Fish and chips is such a standard British food that it seems simple and you don’t think about it much, but believe me it can go badly wrong. The Happy Haddock’s offering was, however, more than good enough, even though it probably won’t be making it onto any Best Chipper lists.