Fish and chips by Rockfish

Coley and chips


There’s no denying, that cod is a glorious fish. Wars have been fought over it. Civilisations built off its consumption. Mythologies eulogised the world over. There’s something about its fat, white, boneless flesh that sends us all giddy. 

As a nation, we eat over 200 million portions of cod and chips every single year. The problem is we’ve become love blind. Our cod obsession has stopped us from seeing that there are other gorgeous fish out there. Even flaky, white ones that taste just as good with chips and a blob of mushy peas.

One such is coley. To say it’s identical to cod would be a crime to both fish. But it is in the same family! Its flesh is still just as meaty and melt in the mouthy.

Without wanting to toot our own horn, at Rockfish we’ve won numerous awards for having the Best Fish and Chips nationwide – and even we’d put these all on the line to say, that coley is a kick-ass challenger to the traditional cod and chips – and it’s certainly easier on the wallet!



Somewhere between a cod and a pollock in taste, texture, and biology. It’s one of those fish that has somehow slipped from our national consciousness. Only a couple of hundred years ago it was so important to the British diet that we had over 50 regional names for it including, coalfish, gilpin, greylord and sillock.

In Scotland, they call it saithe. According to legend amongst Scottish island dwellers a saithe when split, salted, and smoked over a peat hearth, will glow. Supposedly the fish whilst drying will emit a phosphorescent glimmer that some say is even bright enough to read by.



 Coley is a hugely versatile fish, that can be easily baked, roasted, grilled, steamed, poached, or fried. Like cod, it can be a wonderful vehicle for adventurous flavours, or simply on its own in a crispy batter.

Abroad in Norway, Germany and France, coley is big business. A German fishmonger would trade his kidney to get his hands on some of the coley we have here. This glowing fish is a shining example of just how glorious the seafood in our waters still is. And yet, so many of us haven’t even heard of it!



In short, it’s exceptionally abundant and not many of us eat it. The MSC good fish guide has coley regularly rated 1-2 ‘best choice to eat’. Stocks are healthy and well-managed.

It is for exactly this reason that we’re able to offer 25% off coley this month.



Fish and chips are certainly our go-to comfort food, and coley works particularly well. Here are our top 10 pro tips.

1. Make the batter the night before and refrigerate.

The more you let the batter rest, the crispier it will be. The colder it is, the more it will react to the hot oil and create bubbles!

2. Always season your coley first with salt.

When fish is placed in hot oil, the moisture is drawn out of it spoiling the batter. Salting first draws excess moisture out early.

3. Make sure to pat down your fillets with a tea towel before battering.

Again, wet fish = bad. Dry fish = good!

4. Flower your fish before battering.

It’s all about locking that moisture in the fish and not letting it affect your batter. 

5. For deep frying make sure your oil is hot (175 degrees Celsius).

The longer the fish fries the more grease it takes on. Especially if you’re using wheat flour and gluten is absorbent.

6. If you don’t have an oil thermometer in your kitchen drawer, you can use the ‘wooden spoon method’.

Simply dip the handle of a wooden spoon into the hot oil, if it starts to bubble, you’re good to fry!

7. Add vodka to your batter. Vodka has a high alcohol level.

That means when it hits the hot oil it evaporates immediately giving your batter next level crunch.

8. Add beer to your batter if you like the flavour. Use baking powder if you don’t.

9. Don’t splash your coley directly into your hot oil.

Instead, gently hold it in the oil until it starts to fry then allow the end to gently sink away from you.

10. Once your coley is bubbling away, drizzle the remaining batter over it.

This will give your fish those delicious shards of crispy golden batter.

 However, if all this feels like too many shenanigans for a Friday night supper the solution is simple: book yourself into Rockfish restaurant where we can satisfy all your deep fat frying wants, hopes, and dreams!