A couple of months ago I was scoping out Seamart in Mt Albert for my monthly column in Metro, Food Neighbourhoods. Overhearing ‘Metro’ and writer’ a nearby customer piped up, “Ah – you write for Metro? You must come to my fish and chip shop in Epsom! You must come and judge it for best in Auckland!”
This chap, Thomas, had done his research – I did indeed help judge the best fish and chips, and the best burgers in this city back in 2011, in a frenzied week of gluttony. But Metro hasn’t run that particular ‘best of’ since. I assured the very eager chip-man that I would come and visit his shop and see for myself whether I should keep it mind the question arise once again of who makes this city’s best fish and chips.
I’ve now visited Thomas’s fish and chip shop, Greenwoods Fresh Catch, twice, and can happily agree with Thomas, that he may very well be in charge of a best in show. He and his wife Lillian, Singaporeans who moved out here half a century ago or more, owned an award-winning fish and chip shop in South Auckland before opening up in the small but increasingly interesting Greenwoods Corner shops in Epsom last year.
As evidenced by my bumping into him at Seamart, Thomas treks out there each day to get his fresh fish. He buys tarakihi, snapper and hoki, and offers them either battered (crisp and light) or crumbed (though not the hoki as it won’t hold together for crumbing). The rest of the menu is brief – it’s mostly about the fish and chips here, and getting them right. But you can order burgers, and crumbed squid or prawns, which are all very good, too.
It’s not the closest fish and chips to where I live – we have one just two minutes walk down the road, but that’s nothing to rave about. And equal distance from me is the winner of that 2011 Metro best fish and chips title, The Mt Eden Village Fish Shop. And while I do like the beer-battered fish and chips from the village, I have to say they’re heavier and more oily than at Greenwoods. And for a friendly welcome, Thomas and Lillian cannot be beaten; they’ll send you off not just with a hot, expertly packed parcel of goodness, but with a smile on your face to boot.
Greenwoods Fresh Catch, 1 Pah Rad, Greenwoods Corner, Epsom. Phone 631 0111.