Sherman's Food Adventures: Mr. Pickwick's

Mr. Pickwick's

Alright, after 2 tries with no success, you'd think I would give up trying to eat at Mr. Pickwick's right? You don't know me very well do you? Even after suffering through some pretty bad fried chicken at Chicken World, I returned to the shopping plaza at 96th and 128th for some Fish n Chips. Alas! Mr. Pickwick's was indeed open today! With such anticipation and expectations, this was probably doomed for failure. However, the other 2 locations in Vancouver are generally rated quite highly and reviews have been positive. I parked my car (facing Chicken World...) and made my way into the restaurant. Adorned with nautical art and artifacts, the restaurant tries to look like a typical fish n chip joint; but I didn't come for the decor. As an added bonus, the very fish n chips I wanted to try was offered as a lunch special for $6.95.

Pretty good price for a 2 piece fish n chip meal. Since the type of fish was not in the title or description, I could only guess what it was. I decided to add some Clam Chowder and Popcorn Shrimp to try out. I got the clam chowder first and boy was it watery for a chowder! They should have called it Cream of Clam. Actually, it wasn't even creamy enough to be called cream. In addition, there wasn't much in the way of ingredients as well. Taste wise, it lacked the richness often associated with a New England type chowder. I did not detect much bacon or clam flavour. This was a disappointing way to start my meal. The only good thing about the chowder was the dried parsley flakes, only because they added colour to the picture. The popcorn shrimp was alright. It was your typical breaded shrimp served with cocktail sauce. Not horrible; but nothing special. I did think that the cocktail sauce needed more horseradish. Now for the main event, the fish n chips. The one I have been attempting to try for the last 3 weeks to no avail. It surely looked impressive when it arrived with 2 large pieces atop fresh cut chips.

Unfortunately, there was more batter than fish. The batter was so thick, I had to discard more than half of it. I just couldn't eat it! It was more doughy than crispy. Honestly, it was truly disappointing. The fish n chips at Ocean Ave and the Dock House are infinitely better than the one I had here. Even the chips were not very crispy. I found the odd crunchy one; but most were just soft. I did like the tartar sauce though. I feel a bit bad for being so harsh on the food since the service was very good. The couple who run the place are ever-so-friendly and kind; however, the food wasn't very good. The bottom line is that I didn't like the fish and chips despite the nice people who run it.

The Good:
- It's inexpensive, especially the lunch special
- Very nice couple that run the place

The Bad:
- They close randomly from time-to-time
- The batter was thicker than paper mache
- Clam Chowder was thin and bland

Mr. Pickwick's Fish & Chips (Surrey) on Urbanspoon

16 comments:

KimHo said...

When a restaurant starts expanding, there are couple of questions that comes to mind. Who is cooking? Can they maintain consistency? The times I have been to Mr. Pickwick's (Denman location) I have seen the owners (well, I assume he is the owner, as it is the one who shows up in the pictures) in the kitchen. The food, in that case, wasn't that bad. I guess the same can't be said of this location...

Sherman said...

That's the problem when restaurants expand or franchise out. For me, I heard such good things about Pickwick's. But this was absolutely horrible.

Chris said...

Besides the fish (which looks depressing), do you think they can jazz popcorn shrimp up in anyway. I swear every time I eat this dish, it's been made in the same factory. I barely even touch them anymore, because of this, and I like shrimp.

Sherman said...

Chris, I didn't want to say it, but I think you're right. The popcorn shrimp looks like the prepackaged frozen variety. The fish was not good.

Anson said...

Hey Sherman,

I have long since quit going to Mr. Pickwick's cuz I didn't need want to eat batter, which grossed me out. It looks like they haven't changed their batter count. :P I gotta thank your arteries for the cholesterol sacrifice. Heh.

Thanks for the review.

I'll stick to Crabshack/shop in North Van or Pajos in Richmond for my F&C.

Sherman said...

Hey Anson, actually, since I didn't eat much of the batter or chips, it wasn't too bad. Probably for the better...

Mia said...

I like fish and chips but I hate eating the batter because of all the calories which is why I actually like the thick coating at this place. It is very easy to take off. I've tried their halibut and it was good, but when is anything halibut not good.

Agreed the fries are soft but they are still tasty and they might be fresh-cut from soggy BC potatos and there's enough fries to feed at least 2 people =).

This lunch special used to be %5.95and it seems the fish portions may have shrunk, before it was generous.

I would not come out of my way to eat at this place but if you are in the area it's okay.

And I agree their tartar sauce is tasty too bad they charge for extra though.

bobloblaw said...

I've been to Mr. Pickwicks Surrey location multiple times. In fact I come from Vancouver just to have the fish and chips as I've found them to be the best I've ever eaten. This includes fish and chips staples such as Pajos and Shady Island.

Each time I go, I am not disappointed and its worth the trek out to that direction even if my gas money is probably half the amount of their lunch special.

We are all entitled to our own opinions, and my opinion is that they have the best tasting tartar sauce and fish. The batter is never too thick and there is always ample amounts of fish.

I might not have the credentials to be a food critic, but I know what I like and I definately enjoy the fish and chips.

Sherman said...

Hi bobloblaw, absolutely... everyone is entitled to their opinions and food is a very personal matter. And honestly, you don't have to be a food critic to say if you like something or not. Now with that being said, if you look at the picture of fish, the batter is quite heavy. So that's what I got and I didn't like it. Maybe it was an off day? I'm game to try it again to make sure though. Too bad it was not so good the time I went.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit further but check out all you can eat fish n chips (I think tuesdays and wednesday)at Al and Jan's in Fleetwood. ~$11.99 lunch or dinner with drinks included.

Sherman said...

Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

The Surrey location is not part of the main franchise. They just have the same name. I asked the Granville location if they were connected and they said no...in name only.

Sherman said...

Thanks for the info! I was worried about the FNCs. It was so bad, dunno how it could be related to the Downtown location!

Unknown said...

You should def go to the graville location. I;ve neve been to the surrey one but ive lived in Richmond all my life and have visited steveston for fnc for decades and truth betold the Mr pickwicks on granville is the best of them all!

Sherman said...

@UKN Yah, that's what I hear too, so it's shocking how bad the Surrey one is.

Tyra Campbell said...

It's not that I didn't like this fish n chips. It's just nothing special. Way too much batter. Chips are too fat and soggy. Coleslaw was very sweet and dripping with mayo. The owner was a very nice man, but unfortunately I won't be returning. Fish n chips is an art. And this place just didn'do it for me. C-Lovers in Horseshoe Bay is much much better, and of course Cockney Kings in Newest.