Wednesday, July 23, 2014Mostly Cloudy 23°C
Restaurants

Ackroyd's Fish n' Chips

Posted by Joshua Chong / Reviewed on September 4, 2013 / review policy

Ackroyds Fish and Chips TorontoAckroyd's Fish n' Chips is one of those places that has the vibe of a cherished neighbourhood haunt, what with its effortless knack for honest cheer and relaxed charm. The free sample blitz of sugar-dusted, battered Ontario peaches probably doesn't hurt either, especially if you're savvy enough to wed the delicate wedge with a scoop of Tahitian vanilla from Ed's Real Scoop a couple doors down.

Ackroyds Fish ChipsTruth be told though, this spot is not much older than the catch of the day. In some respects, menu and business-wise, I get the sense they may still be finding their gills. For instance, lunch is currently a no go, an oversight they plan to correct come autumn. But chatting with Chef Jenny G. and company, it's at once apparent that as long-time residents of the Beaches, Ackroyd's — after their late mother's maiden name — is the home they've been looking for to pool their time, care and zeal.

Ackroyds Fish ChipsModest digs aside, the Royal York-trained chef has cooked for such luminaries as Al Pacino, Robert Deniro, Nelson Mandela, and billionaire Mitchell Goldhar, which could make her seem grossly overqualified for something as humble as fish and chips. But a big-fish-small-pond mentality couldn't be further from the case. What might seem a familiar, worn-out motivation of getting back to one's roots actually carries a practical edge: when so many in the city are tripping over each other to ride the wave of the newest food trends, often simply in the business of making a quick buck, it can be easy to write off classic favourites as overdone, or worse, bygone. Ackroyd's, on the other hand, is looking for something more sustainable as the basa fish they fry up.

Ackroyds Fish ChipsIt would be inaccurate to say, however, that the chef's training has gone to waste. Getting a demo behind the scenes, there are plenty of subtle flourishes in the recipes that make them quality, one-of-a-kind, and return-worthy. The oil in the deep fryer, for example, is darn near virtuous, filtered daily and changed every few days depending on traffic. Triple-pass reverse osmosis water is used for the batter, the slaw is made twice daily, and the potatoes for their chips are cut in-house (they've switched from Russets to Yukons). In sum, it was one of the more notably clean tasting fish and chips eating experiences I've had in recent memory.

The straight-up combos are plain and simple, four options in all, each served with fries, homemade tartar sauce, simple slaw, pickle and pop: halibut ($12), cod ($9), haddock ($10), or basa ($8), and it's the batter that really makes these cuts swim versus sink.

Ackroyds Fish ChipsThe chef's diverse cooking background includes baking, and her knowledge of leavening agents is a boon, I'm convinced, to the batter recipe. Made by the bowl to order, again, to ensure maximum freshness, the mixture is worked into a bubbly froth using baking soda, and is pretty much the antithesis to the lifeless goop you'd find in many fridges elsewhere. Once fried to a golden brown, it rides the line between crispy and cakey. A gluten-free version is available, too.

While the cod I tried was quite delectable, if you're willing to shell out more clams, it's the halibut that was the more luscious and buttery. Breaking convention, I actually preferred the Spanish onion rings to their fries, the former besting most I've had in other venues with their irresistible crispy sweetness, while the latter were pretty much on par.

Ackroyds Fish ChipsWhereas I think their fish recipe is near perfect, I tend to be fussier about my slaws. It was by no means second-rate, but I could've gone more punchy and acidic than the neutral, creamy profile offered. A preference, really, and still, they're brand new. Another admirable trait about Ackroyd's is their willingness to customize, so next time, I'd request this minor adjustment as well as not to forget to indulge in their deep fried pickles ($4.50).

If you live in the area, fish and chips aren't the only comfort foods available. They also have frozen foods that regularly sell out. Everything from lasagna, shepherd's pie, and gluten-free macaroni, to buttermilk chicken, wraps, penne with sausage in a marinara sauce, and apple & peach crumble are on hand. They have plans to experiment further in this regard, and Chef Jenny G. also mentioned the possibility of starting cooking classes in the fall, for those looking to learn the basics.

Ackroyds Fish Chips

Discussion

17 Comments

tnt / September 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm
user-pic
You mean the Beaches residents didn't complain and petition against the smell of fried fish?
matts / September 4, 2013 at 12:28 pm
user-pic
"The oil in the deep fryer (...) is darn near virtuous"


WTF?!
fisheater / September 4, 2013 at 12:46 pm
user-pic
Basa..... No Thanks! That sh*t will FYU!

http://www.oceanwise.ca/seafood/catfish/basa
Jon / September 4, 2013 at 01:12 pm
user-pic
I don't think they could have made that menu board more of a confusing mess if they tried.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Jon / September 4, 2013 at 01:29 pm
user-pic
No wonder that guy sitting under the sign looks doubtful. What
are deep fried pickks? Elastics ice tea?
Thomas / September 4, 2013 at 07:12 pm
user-pic
Chalkboard menus are standard for a place like this, but please hire someone to write the menu. Ugly handwriting and obviously didn't plan ahead is such a turn off.
Jack Beanible / September 4, 2013 at 09:14 pm
user-pic
really, Thomas. If you make observations like that, you might be a pretentious loser.
Denise Mitchell / September 9, 2013 at 07:51 pm
user-pic
The fish is great here and I really want this place to be successful but please get your act together. One day you are apparently open 3-9 and then when I go by you're closed. I will continue to recommend your establishment to friends but I'm not sure they will get to experience how great it is if the lights are out.
FRBYWA replying to a comment from tnt / September 14, 2013 at 09:45 am
user-pic
tnt...you are exactly right.

And good gosh, don't call it the beaches! It's T H E Beach, you know. It is the one-and-only, super-precious, mine is better than yours, oh super-glorious, B-E-A-C-H. Get me a BEACH sticker for my car, and for my other car, and thirteen pieces of clothing that all say BEACH on it.

I live in the beaches and I love it. But some of the people....holy Toledo!

tnt replying to a comment from FRBYWA / September 17, 2013 at 01:52 pm
user-pic
Lol...funny "i live in the beaches and I love it. But some of the people....holy Toledo!"....see you called it 'the beaches" too...
Castro replying to a comment from FRBYWA / September 30, 2013 at 11:45 am
user-pic
Haha FRBYWA! Don't forget the family stickers for the back of yr vehicle. Ugggh!
Brent / October 31, 2013 at 03:01 pm
user-pic
This place rocks !!! The fish and chips are awesome !!! Especially the onion rings MMMMM !!! Plus they now serve gluten free batter which is great ... I have been reading some of the comments here and like most they are not a review of the food ... My stomach doesn't give a flying fish fuck about the chalkboard ... You want good eats ??? Ackroyd's baby !!! 9/10
Amanda / November 15, 2013 at 01:40 pm
user-pic
WOW! What a ridiculous disappointment. First I need to be clear that I have NEVER written a review before, but I am so flabbergasted by the poor quality of this establishment that I had to speak up. I'm $30 poorer, not remotely filled up and feeling like I just bathed in a vat of grease. My boyfriend and I decided to try the place out finally - despite it's fairly unwelcoming atmosphere - and although it smelled delicious when we walked in, when I opened my take-out box at home I was outraged. I decided to splurge and go for the pricier $12 halibut with a side of onion rings while my boyfriend got the less expensive $9 cod and chips. My $12 got me 3 small "chunks" of deep-friend fish that were so thick in batter that I honestly couldn't taste the fish at all. My onion rings were 6 or 7 thick donuts with a sliver of uncooked onion in the middle. I couldn't even get around to them because the pieces of "fish" made me feel ill. My boyfriend's cod was at least passable - but was still a miniature portion and heavy on the batter and grease. We're from Newfoundland and we love fish and chips, but we're also not fish snobs. Fact of the matter is, I didn't get any fish - I got fried batter with a few scattered fish flakes. Thanks Ackroyd's, I will certainly not be returning.
Esther D / November 16, 2013 at 05:20 pm
user-pic
I had the complete opposite experience from the first reviewer. I had the haddock combo and it was the best fish and chips I have ever had.. Newfoundland included. The batter was light and fluffy and the fish perfectly cooked and of a good size. The fries were perfect and I got the "frings" option meaning half fries and half onion rings. The rings.. OMG.. best ever. The batter is out of this world surrounding a sweet onion ring. I was so stuffed but I ate them all anyway.

The meal came with vinegar-oil based coleslaw that was so good that I ate every morsel and ordered a large container to home. The homemade tartar sauce was also perfect. The only thing that was "ok" was the pickle spear, which was more sour and mushy than I would like.
We were served by James who was exceedingly pleasant and his service was prompt, accurate and courteous. The owner and chef was also in-house and we ended up chatting with them when we were done. We got complimentary (and freaking delicious) vegetarian gravy and hot from the oven pecan tarts.

All in all, a great experience and we will be back and would recommend it to anyone. We are bringing friends next time. No shower for me "to wash off the grease," I'm going home and slipping into a food coma!
Anthony / March 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm
user-pic
Wow, I can hardly fathom the positive reviews I'm reading for this place. At best the fish and chips are average. It strikes me as though the whole fish and chips menu was an afterthought a secondary consideration designed to keep the doors open on a fledgling frozen take out business

Let's break it down:

The fish: small portions, tasteless. You could have told me I just ate deep fried tofu and I would have believed you.

The chips: Standard, nothing special.

The rings: Quite good.

The bater: tasty but way way too much of it.

The slaw: Also quite good, although almost entirely cabbage a little boring in that regard, tasty dressing though.

Tarter sauce: Also good.

Portions:
We bought two orders of halibut and chips/rings. The portions of fish and slaw too small, chips/rings are good size.

The price:

Two orders 35$ way to much money to end up with bland, greasy food. You would think they would at least throw in a couple of cans of pop with that. How about slaw in a larger portion the size they give you is a joke.

Do yourself a favour and pass on this place, I know we won't be returning.




It cost us 35$ to feel
Guyo replying to a comment from Amanda / March 28, 2014 at 03:31 pm
user-pic
Never written a review before Amanda? You have copy and pasted your "review" to every social media outlet you can find !
I don't know what this establishment did to slight you but your slander campaign, which includes facebook along with five of your buddies under the names Skeletor, Alan Brickrock and the ten randoms you enlisted to "like" your comments, borders on criminal harassment ! Dont know what your problem is but you are messing with the livelihood not only of the owner but her entire family which have invested 100's of 1000's of dollars to keep that place afloat. Not to mention the countless hours of devotion and buckets of blood, sweat and tears required. If you don't like your dog walking business then save up and do as this person has done: build something. Do something with your life instead of dedicating your time to disgracing the dreams of others.
Shocked replying to a comment from Guyo / April 21, 2014 at 10:24 pm
user-pic
Sorry, Guyo. Not everybody who shares an opinion are guns-for-hire cronies who work as a "dislike" army to dismantle some crappy fish n' chips spot in the Beaches.

I live in the Beaches, just around the corner from the shop, and not only am I shocked that you're making such horrible accusations and assumptions (both on here and on Facebook) towards another reviewer, I'm also shocked you have said nothing about the food itself. Probably because it's mediocre - I happen to agree with some of the negative comments put forward. Oh, look, there's other reviews and comments and dislikes - it must all come from the same source, right? Are you a conspiracy theorist of some kind? You sound completely mental.

It is certainly not criminal harassment to post reviews to one or two social networks, especially when they're food-related, especially when the reviewer feels as let down as they did. Calling this person a dog walker is especially funny, because not only is it an assumption, it's a weird, cruel dig at non-business owners. All the while you're supposed to be crusading for "fairness"? You're a nuisance, and that's the end of it.

So with YOUR harassment of these people with opinions, paired with the overall mediocrity of the establishment, why would I venture back? I even considered giving it a chance, as I do love fish and it's so close, but with this sort of stuff going on I'd never step foot in there again.

For anybody that cares: on Facebook Guyo said there is "investigations" into A COMMENT (an opinion) about how this person didn't like their food, and then they deleted the comment anyway. Such a humble and reasonable crowd, right?

Total insanity.

Add a Comment

Search

Find a restaurant

Or use the options below to assist you in locating a restaurant in Toronto.

Search Results

Please select criteria from the dropdown menus above to start your search.

Reviews

Recent Reviews

Refine the list using the categories below:


Loading...
Other Cities: Montreal