Fish Central is the sort of restaurant that everyone should have within walking distance: a place where, if you can’t face cooking and don’t want to break the bank, you know you can have a good meal in lively surroundings. Don’t be put off by the location – it’s set in a grim, grey and very concrete estate between City Road and Goswell Road, but is actually only a 10 minutes walk from the Angel. One side is a proper fish-and-chip shop, the other a restaurant that’s always packed. Décor is serviceable, service is brisk and friendly, and the clientele couldn’t be more diverse. Last night there was a large party of girl students, the usual table of cabbies, a trio of local girls bantering with the cabbies and on the table next to us a couple who were deciding whether to give the Renaissance sketches at the British Museum a miss in favour of the Greek statuary. And it’s always like that! The fish and chips (and there’s always a good mix of the standard haddock/cod/hake type as well as plaice and skate) is excellent – crisp, ungreasy batter, very fresh fish, and chips that look like they’ve actually been peeled on the premises. Probably best avoid anything too complex, but the Dover sole, simply grilled (£17.95), is always good. There are plenty of traditional sides (the salads are fine if a little unimaginative) and the mushy peas the real thing! The wine list is well priced and it’s impossible to spend more than £25 on a bottle (at £23 there’s a very quaffable Gavi di Gavi). One word of warning, it can get very noisy – so probably not the best place if you’ve life-or-death news to impart to your companion, but I’m very glad to have Fish Central a brisk 15-minute walk away!