Fish finger sandwiches surely have to be the one foodstuff that brings the largest wave of nostalgia for those who are lucky enough to have one for tea. This childhood favourite has garnered cult status thanks to its perfectly crafted holy trinity of ingredients: hot crumbed or battered fish, soft bread and a good dollop of tangy sauce. It’s this satisfyingly savoury combination that has encouraged its rise to the top of many a pub menu, where it's elevated into a thing of beauty (a far cry from your mum’s emergency dinner solution of a few Birds Eye beauties smooshed into a couple of slices of white bread, although we’re into that too).
When it comes to the fish fingers sandwiches London dishes up, there is quite the range of options. With truly something for everyone, there are fish butties disguised with Mexican flavours and served as tacos, slabs of fish topped with tempura prawns for something a little bit extra special, and even fish finger wraps from Highstreet crowd-pleasers Leon who have ensured this treasured British tradition is available for lunchtime hoards each and every day. Thank you, Leon, thank you.
Whatever mood you’re in, we’re feeling pretty confident that we’ve got you covered. We challenge you to have a scroll below and not fall in love with one of the options on offer.
Why: Nestled in the legendary Borough Market, Fish! deals in all things seafood, sourcing its ingredients directly from fishmongers. This delicious fresh catch is served up in a fish finger sandwich, should you wish it. The classic interpretation of this sarnie sees a few succulent pieces of flaky fish caught in a squishy bloomer and topped with tartare sauce or ketchup – dealer’s choice. At £13.95 it’s not a bargain, but the quality makes it worth a splurge, plus dining here gives you the option to enjoy a Bread Ahead doughnut for dessert.
Where: Borough Market, Cathedral Street, SE1 9AL
Why: We tried to find a picture of the fish fingers at Bellamy’s and spectacularly failed. Famously the only restaurant HRH the Queen has dined in (twice!), this old-school London stalwart is a hub of exclusivity and privacy, hence the lack of pictorial evidence. They do however serve up fish fingers, in a truly honourable nod to the common man. Should you be lucky enough to bag a table here you can expect to enjoy perfectly fresh fish fingers served up with the flourish of silver service standards.
Where: 8 Bruton Place, W1J 6LY
Why: Sure, lobster is nice, but when there’s a fish finger sandwich on offer, we know which we’d pick (ok, yeah, maybe the lobster actually). If you can tear yourself away from the thought of lobster for tea, you’ll find Bob’s serve up a pretty good fish finger sarnie that shouldn’t be sniffed at. Beer battered haddock pieces are combined with spicy wasabi mushy peas and a fried caper aioli in a brioche bun for a fun twist on this classic dish.
Where: Unit 71 St Thomas Street, SE1 3QX
The Virgin Queen Pub
Why: A pub that specialises in fish and chips is genius, so we’re surprised The Virgin Queen is such a novelty in this city that loves a niche dining concept. Alongside their fish and chip mainstay items, The Virgin Queen also deal in fish finger sandwiches. Their weapon of choice is cod, which is prepared into homemade fingers and topped with herby tartare sauce, gherkins and lettuce before being engulfed in a buttery brioche bun. With this serve you also get chips, which is always, always a good thing.
Where: 94 Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QY
Why: If your love of fish finger sandwiches is a secret affair, lunchtime is the perfect time to indulge, without having to expose yourself to family and friends. Leon’s fish finger wrap is made from breaded fish fingers (which are happily sustainably sourced), crunchy cos lettuce, thick slices of tart pickles and their homemade tartare sauce. Also, there is the option to add Leon’s baked fries, which we can only conclude is the right thing to do in every single instance.
Where: Various locations across London
Why: Created by the team behind Wahaca, DF Tacos may not sound like the obvious spot to enjoy a lovely fish finger sandwich in London but stay with us. Okay, it’s not strictly a sarnie in the classic sense of one, but what about broadening your horizons, hey? The fish tacos here add a little spice to proceedings with some sustainably battered fish, a red cabbage ‘slaw and a good whack of chipotle mayo all tucked up in a tasty taco. Can you say ‘arriba’?
Where: 28-29 Tottenham Court Road, W1T 1BL and The OldTruman Brewery, Hanbury Street, E1 6QR
Kerbisher and Malt
Why: There’s something to be said for a fish finger sandwich that just knows what’s right and proper when it comes to tradition. The offering at Kerbisher and Malt will give you childhood flashbacks with its soft, sliced bread and crispy breaded fish pieces that they even cut into triangles for full-on familiar feels. At only a fiver this could probably just about replace your daily Pret lunches should you have the pleasure of working close by. Consider the idea condoned by us.
Where: 164 Shepherds Bush Road, W6 7PB
Why: Old breakfast favourite Bill’s actually do a half decent job at fish finger sandwiches too, who knew? They’ve given their iteration of this iconic dish a few modern updates by packing the toasted sourdough sandwich with avocado and tempura prawns as well as the usual suspects of cod goujons, crisp lettuce and tartare sauce. At £11.95 it isn’t the cheapest fish finger sandwich on the list, but you do get chips, so…
Where: Various locations across London
Why: Where else would you head to get a food fish butty than a proper chippy? This Soho old-timer serves up piles of golden (no false advertising) fish and chips throughout the day, and their offering includes a fish finger sandwich. The fish itself at Golden Union is battered, a la chip shop style, and squashed into a soft bread roll for a satisfyingly indulgent treat. Salt and vinegar is optional but very much encouraged by us.
Where: 38 Poland Street, W1F 7LY
Why: If there’s one thing we love more than a good pun, it’s a good restaurant that makes good use of a good pun. Cheers to you, Chipping Forecast. This highly regarded fish and chip shop caters for both takeaway and sit-in and has quite the posh fish finger sandwich on offer. Cornish haddock is battered and sandwiched between two lovely slices of bread with minted peas, tartare sauce and pea shoots for company. Kind. Chipping Forecast also deal in the rarely-sighted-in-London battered Mars bar, the natural dessert following a deep-fried meal.
Where: 29 All Saints Road, W11 1HE and 58 Greek Street, W1D 3DY
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