The Sunken Chip: Paris’s First Fish & Chip Shop

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The Sunken Chip, Paris
The Sunken Chip, ParisCourtesy of James Whelan

Paris has finally got its first fish and chip shop. We give you the who, what, why.

Who? Two English men – James Whelan and Michael Greenwold – opened up Paris’s only Fish & Chip shop this weekend. It sits proudly alongside French cuisine, and comes complete with kitsch British favourites like sherbet dips, Wham bars and dandelion & burdock drinks. Whelan owns and runs L\Inconnu bar in the 10th district, and Greenwold is a chef at the award-winning restaurant Le Roseval. Over the last two years we have become good friends, and the goal was always to try and set up something together that was a little different to the rest of what was on offer in Paris,” explains Whelan. “We're hoping that with The Sunken Chip, we have managed to do that.”

"The goal was always to try and set up something together that was a little different to the rest of what was on offer in Paris"

What? Using classic recipes that haven’t been tailored to a Parisian palate, Whelan and his business partner hope to ensure that Paris’s first experience of fish and chips is an authentic one. “The past few months have been spent imagining the endless array of childhood sweets, obscure drinks and silly names that could be bestowed upon the place,” says Whelan. “Finally, we have settled on what we like to think is a particularly fine range of old English classics, and a name that to us represents the spirit of the seaside fish and chip shop with a touch of English humour.”

Why? “The plight of the fish and chip shop in England has been a sad one to witness,” sighs Whelan. “As quality and interest have decreased since the post war years, many have become little more than pit stops for the drunken English on their way home from the pub. We always saw this as a sad state of affairs, and something that needed to be rectified. We wanted to bring classic English cooking to the French – something they probably say with a touch of Parisian snobbery. The Parisians look at it [the fish and chip shop] fondly and many of them see it as a first point of call when they get off the Eurostar. Hopefully, we have eliminated that need, yet I hope we are offering something better than they have tasted before. Ultimately, our goal would be for it to the first point of call for the English coming across the other way too!”

The Sunken Chip can be found at 39 rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris.

Text by Laura Havlin