I never want to grow up to the extent that I no longer appreciate the joy of eating chips in a bus stop. Takeaway chips eaten in a bus stop is one of the simple pleasures in life. It transports me back to my teenage years and the feeling of decadence and esprit de corps felt while sharing chips wrapped in newspaper with friends.
One of the first road trips Phill and I went on was a journey down the coast from Scarborough to Skegness. One evening in Cleethorpes I had my first taste of fish, chips and mushy peas, wrapped in paper sitting in the darkness wrapped up in a thick coat and scarf, in a bus stop-like structure (it was actually one of those concrete beach promenade things that looks like a bus stop) watching the lights of the trawlers in the bay.
Bus stops and chips are a match made in heaven.
I’ve been meaning to try Frites 33 on Upper Parliament Street in Nottingham since it opened last year and only got around to it last night. We’d been to Cucamara; carbs were needed to neutralise the cocktails.
Frites are a Belgian invention. Say the words French fries in Belgium and you are likely to get jailed for treason. Belgians are so proud of their creation, there is even a Frites Museum. Not sure it’s top of my bucket list.
A good Belgian chip is far more substantial than those piddly thin French fries – but not as chunky as fish shop chips. And they’re double fried. That’s important.
To date, Frites 33 is in Nottingham, apparently has plans to open in Derby and, according to its website, has the ultimate goal of world domination – ie a Frites 33 on every high street.
The store is open fronted. Heading there if you’ve had a few too many, however, could prove problematic because of the nice trippy step at the front. I wonder how many cones of delicious frites have been strewn all over the pavement as a drunken diner has failed to negotiate that.
You chose the size of your cone – we went for medium – and then select from the sauces and toppings with which to crown your frites. You can create your own, adding from the list of toppings and sauces for a bespoke experience or, as we did, choose a tried and tested combination.
Here’s our master frites maker. He had great hair.
My frites were topped with a delicious garlic cheese combo – grated cheese (and it actually tasted properly of cheese) with garlic mayo and a sprinkling of piri piri powder. Phill went for chicken curry frites. The thing about having them in a cone is that despite the fact the sauce and toppings are on top of the cone, the act of eating the chips – with the extra long wooden fork supplied – means that as you remove a frites, the toppings work their way downwards through the rest of the cone. It’s called physics and it works.
Frites 33 has a few high seats that you could use to enjoy your purchase, if you’re happy to sit next to the Deliveroo riders waiting to collect their orders. But where’s the fun in that?
There’s a bus stop just outside that is a much better option and you can sit in comfort, watching the world wander past and enjoying the passers-by trying to avoid tripping over your feet.
The frites were good – although a medium portion was too much for me. They were crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and the garlic mayo was fab. The piri piri powder gave it a little kick and the cheese, as previously mentioned, tasted cheesy. Don’t sniff the aromas of the cones though, for some reason Frites 33 sticks a dirty great skewer through your meal to the bottom of the cone and it’ll take your eye out if you’re not paying attention.
They ain’t the cheapest chips in the world – our two portions cost just over £10 but were they worth it? Yes, definitely. I would certainly visit again.
Ok fine dining this isn’t but it was warm and delicious and a fair price, served by a bloke with great hair AND I got to sit in a bus stop and eat them.
Yep, I was happy.