The dish names made as much of an impression as the food. Everybody wanted a Feastie Boys box. Fish and chips had suddenly become cool.
In 2015, the trio behind it – Jonathan ‘Ozzie’ Ozwald, Luke Stocks and Holly Robson – went full-time with their chippy venture. And they worked their socks off.
They secured a year-long contract to trade at pop-up incubator The Kitchens in Spinningfields, and in 2016 they began a weekday pitch at MediaCityUK outside the BBC and ITV offices.
They did a residency at Kosmonaut in the NQ, and have traded at over a hundred events and festivals including Manchester Food & Drink Festival and Kendal Calling. They’re a popular choice for wedding catering.
In 2017 they won the best mobile fish and chip operator award at the National Fish & Chip Awards, swiftly followed by the best street food award at the Manchester Food and Drink Festival.
Now, the trio have opened their first permanent bricks and mortar 35-seat restaurant in up-and-coming Ancoats.
It’s a suitably hip space, with music at its heart – the walls are adorned with rap memorabilia, independent art, and vintage flyers from hip hop nights in Manchester.
As well as serving soft drinks including Vimto, dandelion and burdock and Steep sodas made in Manchester, the place is also fully licensed.
Draught beers come from Huddersfield brewery Magic Rock, and there are other assorted cans and bottles plus a small wine list and spirits from raspberry gin to bourbon.
The casual dine-in menu includes the quirkily-titled dishes the trio have become known for, such as Salt ‘n’ Pepa chips, Shell L Cool J (Louisiana spiced crab cake), and Kiddie Smalls (a range of children’s meals).
Portions are enormous.
I try the Feastie Boys (£10), piled high with battered fresh fish biters, chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce. It’s a classic, and deservedly so.
Everything is made from scratch, and you can tell. Batter is crisp and golden, encasing fat chunks of pristine white sustainable North Sea coley.
Skin-on chips are extra chunky and double-cooked, crisp on the outside and fluffy within. Homemade tartare sauce has the perfect tang.
Butties and burgers are served on locally baked buns. The Meat Junkie (£9.50) consists of chilli batter sausage wrapped in bacon with curry sauce, while a new burger, Slick Chick (£12), is a tower of breaded cajun chicken, battered pepperoni, spicy slaw and Manchego cheese.
Generous sides include fat, salty battered halloumi fingers (£5), and deep-fried mushy pea fritters (£3): crisp balls filled with a vivid green mushy pea mixture lifted with well-judged seasoning and a kick of mustard. We can’t get enough.
If you think you don’t like mushy peas, these just might convert you.
Try the gravy (£2), Holly insists. We don’t need telling twice. It’s spectacular – glossy, rich, meaty, and three days in the making. Not a minute has been wasted.
We can’t stop dipping the pea fritters and chips in the meaty magnificence, with big fat smiles on our faces throughout. They do a vegan version, too.
Order the gravy, you won’t regret it.
The food makes you feel good in more ways than one, too.
Every time you order an item marked with the Foodinate symbol, they’ll fund a meal for a local person in need thanks to their partnership with Manchester charity Mustard Tree, who provide help and support to people trapped in poverty and homelessness.
In their first month since it opened, the restaurant has already donated 170 meals to those in need.
Welcome to the neighbourhood, The Hip Hop Chip Shop. A chippy tea doesn’t get any better than this.