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Cockney Kings, #poutinechallengeyvr

Today we were at the newest location of the Cockney Kings Fish & Chips franchise, opened in Kitsilano as of 2023. Truth be told I have been avoiding this chain since my initial taste and visit many years ago, where I got food poisoning from improperly fried oysters. Since then they have been a no go, until today.

This, the Kitsilano location is inviting and more modern than its predecessors, sprinkled with historic nods. White painted brick and a blue-grey wall hung with black and white photos of the Cockney area of England. Adjacent a set of wooden theatre seats and an ornamental gum-ball machine.

Our visit brought the original paper menus out, which we took the time to read with Cockney slang on one side and a kids play sheet on the other.

The intention of our visit was to taste and judge their poutine creation as part of the Vancouver Foodster’s annual Poutine Challenge. One of handful of restaurants competing to see who has the best combination of potatoes, gravy, and cheese over them all.

This was the “Bill Murray”, a modern take on the old cockney slang “Ruby Murray”, which means curry. This poutine is classic cheese curds, their homemade curry sauce, and a drizzle of their signature “What-What” sauce; all topped with a sprinkle of green onions and ‘scraps’ (which is what they call crispy batter bits). This item was cleverly added on the menu just in time for Groundhog Day (which is also the title of one of Bill Murray’s break out movie roles).

As a dish, this was one of the loosest interpretations of poutine. No gravy, just the spice similar to Indian style curry. Personally, I would have liked it as a sweeter Malaysian-style curry to better match with the starch of the potatoes. As is I found that the flavour got dull and I was left searching for more fresh onion and some acidity to break bites apart. It would have also been nice to use paneer instead of the traditional cheese curds, as this could have better compliment the flavour profile and fitting of the current, instead of having the concept feel a little scattered.

The rest of their menu and their classic fish and chips options went over better. This was OG cod and fries as a platter. It comes well balanced with sides and sauces to keep bites interesting from start to finish. The crispy fries with a mashed centre was best with a drizzle of vinegar. Add a creamy slaw for freshness, ideal for in between all those deep fried bites. You can also add on a serving of their new garlic mayo for another dip on the side to utilize. But the highlight is definitely the fish: crispy, light, not overly greasy.

The tacos had the same fish, in smaller pieces, sandwiched between a soft flour taco with fresh toppings like tomato, onion, and slaw greens. Here both the tartar sauce and the garlic mayo were excellent accompaniments.

I have never tried Steak and kidney pie before, so seeing as it was on the menu today, I figured now was as good as any to try this British delicacy. I grew up on and like liver, so thought I would have liked this more. However, the organ meat had such a dominant gamey flavour to it that I couldn’t get past. The distinct irony finish permeated into the flakey pastry and was hard to dodge as large chunks, intermingled with the thin (by comparison) shreds of steak meat. I am glad that I tried it, but I don’t think this is for me. Maybe with some pickles on the side or a thicker red wine gravy baked within, I wouldn’t have found this more palatable.

The Oyster burger on the other hand, I couldn’t get enough of. Although I couldn’t necessary tell it was oyster under all the light and airy breading. It and the thick cut onion ring added an enjoyable crunch, in contrast to the fluffy buttery potato bun and crisp greens.

Everything about this was light despite it being a fried burger. Once again I recommend the garlic mayo as a dip to inject some moisture as a common pairing with fried onion rings and seafood.

And as a bonus, we were treated to a first taste of their upcoming, and not yet released secret menu item. These are Deep fried Oreos that will not be advertised on their over head menu. But only available for order when a green light is on, and you need to know, to know to order. Crispy battered and powdered with sugar to balance out the sweet cookie underneath. A tried and true treat that hit memories of childhood and the summer fair. Very nostalgic, we were just missing the hand squeezed lemonade.

In closing, a great option for fish and chips, and the location that had redeemed them all for me. Especially after I confirmed that they all use the same recipes and the food from location to location should be the same. Minus not offering the chowder or the all you can eat option at this, the Kitsilano location. They are a great addition to the neighbourhood and a soon to be popular destination for grab and go fish and chips that you can take out and enjoy at the beach nearby, come summer.

Cockney Kings Fish & Chips
1935 Cornwall Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1C8
(604) 566-3474

1 thought on “Cockney Kings, #poutinechallengeyvr”

  1. A delicious culinary competition awaits! Thanks for inviting us to indulge in this savory challenge. Let’s dive into the world of poutine and embrace the flavorful journey ahead!

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