The lemon sole had been poached and plumped up with a lemon and chive hollandaise.
Turbot caught off Scarborough has been steamed with Shetland mussels.
The specials continue: gorgeous Shetland scallops with a pepper and chilli jam; ling fillets jazzed up with a Cajun spice…
But it isn’t. All of this wonderful seafood, 20 different varieties, is being served to punters at a fish and chip shop in Oldbury, not a place known for its fruits de mer.
This is Fishy Friday, a special event staged at the foot of the entirely land-locked Wolverhampton Road.
Shaw staged a 365-mile round trip, leaving Oldbury, on the edge of Birmingham, after service at midnight in order to get the pick of the catch from the boats at Whitby, North Yorkshire. He managed to steal an hour’s kip in the car.
The last fish came off the boats at 8.15am before Shaw returned to the West Midlands, contacting his kitchen brigade on the way so they could devise some of the dishes on the hoof. Shaw and his team weren’t sure what species would be among the day’s catch so they had to improvise.
Shaw arrived back at Chamberlains at midday and the first dishes were flying out of the kitchen half an hour later. It doesn’t get much fresher than that.
It doesn’t tend to grab the headlines but fishing remains the most dangerous peacetime occupation in the UK.
Shaw also hopes the charity fish frenzy, which raised £400 for the Fishermen’s Mission, will show what can be done, in terms of sourcing a variety of fish, if the will is there. He is in no doubt the demand exists.
Shaw says: “It was the busiest Friday evening we have had since we opened two years ago, beating Good Friday.
“We served 130 covers during the day, the majority having the tapas-style menu, choosing an average of three dishes each.”
Shaw says: “It was a great way to complete the cycle from fisherman and merchant to restaurant and customer and give money back to the fishermen.
“We will we do it again. Certainly, our customers want us to.”
And do you know what? There wasn’t a single Boden jumper in sight at Chamberlains. That’s what I call the democratisation of food. Bring on the ling.
8 Wolverhampton Road, Oldbury, Birmingham B68 0LH
Tel: 0121 429 7709