Crab On Chips in Ventnor in a Vintage Gown Dreaming of Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Grazing on fish and chips beside the sea is as British a pastime as flocking to the Proms, strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or the reassuring sight of seeing our Queen at Windsor Castle in a Hermes headscarf, surrounded by a brace of naughty corgis…. doing what she does best, being Queen-like!
So, with a note of culinary rebellion, and an eternal, Breakfast at Tiffany’s love affair with glamour… I am going to dare to suggest something different in these sustainable, fishy, sink or swim times. How about Isle of Wight crab on chips in a wil o wisp, vintage ball gown?
I know it sounds like fish and chip treason, until you try it! If you are visiting the Isle of Wight this summer – make a beeline for the fish and chip kiosk at pretty Ventnor Haven, and order Ventnor Bay crab on chips. (Ball gown optional). Then go and dangle you feet over the majestic stone steps and gaze out over the glittering English Channel, as you unwrap your posh, magnificent, al fresco supper. Then tuck into the sweetest, freshest, glittering crab, pulled up from fishing pots landed at daylight that very morning by the Ventnor Pride catamaran.
Let me describe what happens next. The brown crab meet melts into the fat, hand cut chips… the snowy white meat sits proudly on top, and the effect is something approaching fish and chip nirvana. This is decadent, sustainable, fish and chips comfort food! Imagine crab that is so fresh, it has that fleeting, elusive seaside sweetness, that doesn’t last, the moment food miles come into the equation. The chips are plump, and just the right balance of crisp, and melting, fluffy bombs on the inside. Of course, the view is absolutely essential for heightened levels of happiness, taste and novelty. Oh, you need to eat this seaside delicacy with your fingers! Just don’t forget to ask for napkins. It will and should get messy.
The Blake family have fished the waters off Ventnor Bay for more than a century, and they are a hardy, ruggedly glamorous bunch, at home in all elements. Geoff Blake goes out fishing everyday of the year except Christmas, and wouldn’t look out of place in a Ralph Lauren ad. His wife Cheryl is a doe-eyed, black lashed beauty, and once upon a time she was a Benny Hill girl. Cheryl describes the moment they discovered a new national dish. “ We had just opened the fish and chip kiosk, and the crab is so plentiful and sustainable, we didn’t know what to do with it all. We are used eating a crab salad, so why not crab and chips? So we tried it, and it was absolutely delicious. In fact, it is becoming so popular with visitors and locals, that we now have a kiosk at the Isle of Wight Festival, just selling crab on chips – it’s the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrate on the move.”
Alison Jane bought crab and chips at the Ventnor Haven on the Isle of Wight for £8.50. The fish and chip kiosk is open at lunch time – Monday to Saturday and evenings, until 7.30pm.
Vintage tulle and net prom gown bought in a flea market in Berkshire for £100. Alison Jane’s Hair by Organic Hairdresser – The Hairshack Ventnor – www.thehairshackventnor.co.uk For more info – Tel 01983 852568
About artist Abbie Falkner, the photographer on our guerilla fashion shoot
Abbie has just completed her A- Levels at six form college in Euston, London. She will now go on to take a foundation diploma in art and design at University of Arts London CCW. She says – ” I have always really enjoyed art and design but never really considered it to be a career option until I went on to study it at college. I found a love for photography when I studied it as an AS level, I haven’t really taken it further I mostly just enjoy doing it as a hobby and I find it very relaxing and almost quite therapeutic! I really enjoy shooting candid moments of my friends or just strangers. My main focus in art and design is painting which I hope to do as a BA, I just love the freedom to express yourself through any means. I relish in the fact that art is open to interpretation and I find it interesting hearing how people interpret something that I have created. In the future I would love to have my own artist studio/ gallery and be able to paint all day everyday!!”