If clever naming goes a long way toward the success of a food truck — and I suspect it does — then cheeky British food lorry God Save the Cuisine might be on the right trizz-ack. Painted to resemble a double decker bus, the “Keep calm and eat well” mobile kitchen serves casual English fare ranging from the traditional (think fish and chips or bangers and mash) to the old empire’s favorite colonial imports (hamburgers and curry)
Operated by a pair of brothers who are themselves British transplants, what’s immediately striking — and maybe a bit surprising — about the food is these guys source organic and locally raised ingredients. They get produce from Suzie’s Farm, fish from Catalina Offshore, use grass-fed beef, and have bangers made to order by local sausage maker Johannes’ Brats.
I for one will be on the lookout for Johannes’ Brats around town, but when I paid this truck a visit at South Park’s regular Tuesday night Curbside Bites food truck event, I had fish and chips on my mind. How could I not? This night’s menu did feature spiced lamb served on naan, but if I’m going to get jolly and anglophile with this, it had to be the British mainstay.
For this particular fish and chips recipe they were frying up rockfish, a vague descriptor that around here is sometimes called rock cod, typically line-caught in local waters. It didn’t render as flaky as cod or halibut might have but held a decent texture with not-too-fishy flavor that certainly worked with the lightly seasoned batter and homemade tartar sauce.
The hand-cut chips — aka fries — were medium thick and not especially crispy (crisps are potato chips in English-speak, so mind the distinction I guess). However, they were dressed with malt vinegar and sea salt, which negates the need for ketchup, which would appear to be one of the few remaining distinctions between British and American culture.
If I’d paid better attention to the menu I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a bed of coleslaw beneath my fish and fries. The cool and refreshing slaw proved a great palate cleanser for the otherwise salty meal.
I tend to be hard on food trucks because I’d like to see the mediocre ones stop pretending there’s any added consumer value to cooking in a tiny kitchen a few hours per week. But in this case I’ll concede that $9.25 for fish and chips of this quality, made with plausibly sustainable ethos, justifies the clever concept. Or as a British slang dictionary might say, scrummy food and in no way a damp squib. Plus, I give them extra points for skirting the lack of a dining room issue by offering blankets to customers interested in eating their food picnic style.