London chippy adds MSC Cornish hake to the menu
Article Date: 2016-05-17
A South London fish and chip shop has taken its first delivery of MSC certified Cornish hake this morning, taking the number of certified sustainable species on its menu to ten.
Olley’s Fish Experience in Herne Hill has been serving Cornish hake for some time, but it was only in June last year that the fishery received the MSC stamp of approval. Ever since then, Olley’s owner, Harry Niazi, has been working with his fish merchant, Southbank Fresh Fish, to secure a supply of this ever-popular species.
Harry explains: "Although Olley’s has MSC chain of custody, the fishing boat has chain of custody and our fish merchant has chain of custody, there was a break in the chainbetween boat and London arrival and, for us to be able to promote the MSC status to our customers, every part of the supply chain had to be certified. We’ve been pushing from day one to have that broken link closed up and I’m delighted to say that it has and that we can now serve our customers with this fantastic product.”
The MSC certified hake being served at Olley’s is caught by the Cornish fishing vessel Ajax PZ36. Based in Newlyn, Cornwall, the boat’s skipper, Alan Dwan, and five crew fish short trips of between four and five days using gill nets in the North Atlantic.
Already holding a Three Star SRA rating and a 4.5rating from fish2fork (almost the highest rating possible), Harry hopes this latest move will help in communicating the restaurant’s sustainability credentials to customers even further. He adds: "For us, the MSC logo offers reassurance to our customers that we do what we say we do and source our fish sustainably and responsibly. When customers see the ecolabel on our menu, they know they really can enjoy their meal with the peace of mind that it has been sustainably sourced.”
When cooked, hake has flaky white flesh very similar to cod and haddock but is much sweeter in taste and more delicate in texture. A popular species in Spain and Portugal, it is gaining more prominence on restaurants in the UK, although many fish and chip shops are still to embrace it, making Olley’s one of only a handful to offer it.
Giving its customers the choice of having their hake fried, grilled or steamed, to eat-in or takeaway, Harry is keen to encourage more customers to try it, adding: "Hake is a beautiful fish. It is so sweet and delicate and we get it delivered within 24 hours of it being landed at Newlyn, so it’s as fresh as it can possibly be without us fishing for it ourselves!
"A lot of restaurants that have hake on the menu will be using a variety from South Africa, but for me I don’t think it compares to the quality and taste of Cornish hake. And for something to make it on to the menu at Olley’s, it’s not enough for it to be sustainable, quality has to come first. The fact that we can now offer a top quality product, sourced from British waters, and which comes with the reassurance of being traced back to a sustainable fishery is a fantastic step forward for us and our customers.”
Cornish hake joins nine other MSC endorsed species on the menu at Olley’s including cod, haddock, plaice, scallops and mussels. To find out more about Olley’s Fish Experience, visit www.olleys.info or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.