Beer Batter Fish N’ Chips
Beer Batter is everything you want a 21st century fish and chips spot to be. It’s modern — using Amsterdam Brewery beers for batter — while still paying homage to the old school simplicity that comes with a plate of haddock and chips.
Everything about the restaurant, from its blue and white exterior to picnic benches and nautical motif inside, feels like cottage country.
Even the soundtrack (lots of Sam Cooke and some Bill Withers) will make you feel like you just got home from hanging out lakeside, complete with quintessential bottles of Dad’s Root Beer.
The same husband-and-wife team behind Beer Batter also operates Irv, the gastropub literally right across the street. Regan and Jacklyne Irvine have honoured their presence in the neighbourhood with a whole wall of vintage Cabbagetown Festival posters acquired from the BIA.
There’s also an old school popcorn machine at the front of the store where you can load up a small bag for yourself while you wait for your food to come. It’s by donation, and all proceeds go to the Cabbagetown Youth Centre.
The defining feature of Beer Batter is the fact they use three different types of Amsterdam Brewery beer to fry their fish: the 3 Speed lager, Big Wheel Amber, and the Cruiser Pale Ale.
You can pick which batter you want for a dish of halibut ($18), cod ($15) or haddock ($14) that comes with really delicious fresh cut fries or greens. Coleslaw comes with two options: the traditional kind and one with purple cabbage and jalapeno for a less creamy option.
Whether it’s because Amsterdam’s beer is good or because there’s vinegar cooked right into the batter (rather than making it soggy after the fact, smart) the haddock with Cruiser Pale Ale batter is one of the crispiest and flakiest fish and chips plates I’ve had.
Chef Chris Mentier also delivers a super hearty and flavourful salmon chowder ($8) that they make a few times a week, accompanied with a handmade roll from nearby bakery Absolute.
If you want to opt for the entire fish and chips experience in sandwich form, there’s the fish sammy ($13) which comes with haddock on a brioche bun, tartar, slaw, and your side of choice.
The blackened catfish sandwich ($15) is also a hit with homemade avocado mayo and a side of kosher dill pickle from the popular Quebecois pickler Mrs. Whytes.
There are ample options here for the lobster lovers: the Atlantic lobster roll ($17) is refreshing and tangy with a housemade citrus mayo, shallots, pickled onions and fries.
There’s also the lobster poutine ($15), a mouthwatering affair of lobster atop fries doused with French bechamel sauce with lobster stock, swiss, creamy havarti and feta cheeses.
Beer Batter is one of those low-key spots that unites fish and chip lovers together, regardless of style. It’s definitely cooler than the old fry spots your grandpa used to go, but still simple enough for him to enjoy if he visited for a plate of fish ‘n’ chips.