New in-house chippy

Enjoying a pint and a portion of ‘popcorn cockles’ is hoped will catch on at a Churchdown pub.

Not only does the Bat and Ball, in Church Road, now boast its own posh chippy, but it was declared open by the lead singer of the Chip Shop Boys last week.

Singer Tommy Lewis, who lives in the village, performed at the pub, which wants to move away from the “deep fried Mars bar” image.

Chef Chris Lovell said: “The idea is that somebody can come and have a pint and a fresh fish nibble.

“We are trying to take it down a fresher route and get away from the deep fried Mars bar image, if you like. But this is without being pretentious and the prices are exactly the same but we are trying to bring something in a little better.”

Fresh fish from Brixham, in Devon, is being prepared with a range of batters which are made with a range of ingredients including guest ales and sparking spring water which results in a crispier finish.

Deep fried cockles are also on the menu as is the ‘day boat board’, a platter of “more expensive” fish including sea bass and mullet.

Angie Burdus, landlord at the Bat and Ball, which she has run for 15 years, said: “We had the Indian restaurant in here and it has just been sat vacant for a while and it was about doing something with it.

“There is a need in the village for a fish and chip shop down this end. We have an Indian and a Chinese, but nothing here fish and chip-wise.”

She said her customers are enjoying the range of fish and chip products, including the popcorn cockles which are proving popular.

Angie added: “I have seen them but I have not been brave enough to try them; they are the chef’s own recipe.”

She said the pub “was rocking” when Tommy Lewis turned up.

“The Fish and Chip Boys are a very, very popular local band,” she added.