Pajo’s Fish & Chips
Posted by Degan on October 3rd, 2012
The weather has turned from t-shirts and flip-flops to boots and sweaters but we’re reluctant to let go of summer’s joys; flying a kite, watching a child play on the beach, motocycle rides and fish and chips. I love fall so much – especially this transition into fall when the weather is cool but the sun is still shining – and I see no reason that you can’t accompany a cone of fish and chips with tea instead of with ice cream. In fact, I prefer it.
Pajo’s on the wharf in Steveston has been a semi-regular destination for motorcycle rides over the years, but this summer I discovered the shop in Garry Park. There’s a nice big parking lot (convenient for bringing small children or my grandmother) and picnic tables, plus a beach to walk where you can watch the fishing boats going out and a grassy area to fly your kite if you wish.
And there are fish and chips, of course. Despite the various types of fish available as well as the whole spectrum of burgers and hot dogs, etc.), I’ve only ever ordered a large fish & chips cone with halibut. They structure it the old-school way, in paper cones – fries on the bottom, fish on top, tartar sauce on the side – and so there are some infrastructure changes to support this. You get a carrier tray to take to your car and or picnic table, and the tables also have cut outs to put the cones in. Presumably if all the tables are taken, there is a kind of balancing dance you’d have to do with the tartar sauce, but that’s just another benefit of not going in the summer.
The fish is thick and soft and breaks apart satisfyingly so that you can dip it into the tartar sauce container (that always seems too small) and it’s not greasy in the slightest, which is my main complaint about fish and chips. The tartar sauce is bright and tangy and there’s lots of it, which is necessary to complete the texture and flavour trinity of fish, batter and sauce. Everything depends on the fish being warm and mild-tasting, the batter being crunchy and salty and the tartar sauce having just the right viscosity and the right amount of lemon juice. Somehow Pajo’s pulls it off and even the fries aren’t greasy, which is saying something. It’s all made with fresh, local B.C. fish and if you don’t like the halibut option you can try cod or salmon.