THE folks at Hooked on the Heath know about fish and chips. 

Located in a former public loo on the edge of the town centre, this multi-award-winning chippy has scooped just about every important industry award regionally, and even ranks high among competitors nationwide. 

So, with high expectations and robust appetites, my brother and I crossed the heath last Sunday afternoon.

Knutsford Guardian: Cod, chips and peas will set you back £11.70 - dearer than some places, but definately better valueCod, chips and peas will set you back £11.70 - dearer than some places, but definately better value (Image: Newsquest)

We found everything you’d expect of a traditional chippy, and a little bit more. The short menu (which is as it should be) is displayed on TV screens alongside guides to ordering online and requests to follow them on social media.

We arrived about ten minutes into their service and there were already other customers ahead of us. The staff –  young and conscientious -  were hard at work preparing for what was bound to be a busy service.  

After a generous couple of minutes to make our minds up,  I ordered haddock, chips, and mushy peas. My brother went for the cod. Battered halloumi is available for meat-free punters, and Wednesday's - FYI - is gluten free night. 

And get this – it’s not just ‘salt and vinegar?’ It’s ‘salt, vinegar, and lemon?’ Well, this is well-heeled Knutsford, after all.

Knutsford Guardian: Hooked is an effortless blend of traditional and modernHooked is an effortless blend of traditional and modern (Image: Newsquest)I’ll get the one thing out of the way first. My haddock – fresh and top quality - had been in about 45 seconds too long. I wouldn’t even use the word ‘overcooked’. It had just lost that unctuous, pearly quality of good white fish just slightly under, which is when its at its juciest. 

My brother’s cod, which was just that bit thicker, was spot on, and the batter on both shattered wonderfully under the lightest pressure.

Twice-cooking chips is all the rage these days, but what's it all about? In my experience, the first fry at a low temperature drives out moisture, leaving the chips apt to crisp up nicely with their second, much hotter plunge. Some varieties of spud have less moisture anyway, so the same effect comes from a single dip. Whichever method Hooked on the Heath uses, it really works. Theirs are dry without being desiccated; rich without being fatty; and had a tang of the earth without being earthy. An excellent, honest, well-to-do English chip.

Knutsford Guardian: Efficient and friendly Leah Whiteside (left) and Dylan SpraggEfficient and friendly Leah Whiteside (left) and Dylan Spragg (Image: Newsquest)

The mushy peas were tasty and well-seasoned, but why do chip shop peas have to be so vivid? They should be the colour Kermit the Frog if he had norovirus. Take heed, chip shop owners everywhere: We’re not children. They don’t need to be brightly coloured.

I live around the corner from what’s widely rated the best chippy in a city with literally hundreds of them. And I’m a loyal customer. But I can say, without a doubt, my local isn't in the same league as Hooked on the Heath. These folks understand real quality, and they know how to achieve it. 

With you Knutsford folks, I know I'm preaching to the choir. But for those who just happen to be passing within about 10 miles - I encourage you to make a detour.  You won't be disappointed.