Mr. Cod, 67A Whitley St, Reading, RG2 0EG.
By Reece Doughty
It’s 1am. You’ve been up the town, failed to excite anything pretty, and now you’re heading up towards Basingstoke Road, probably because you got lost, or maybe because – like me – you’re unlucky enough to live up in this shithole.
It probably conjures up awful memories of that one time you were daft enough to go in The Pheasant. And now you’re thinking you need some weight in your stomach to hold down the inevitable flood from emerging.
That’s okay, though. Only there’s about 15 kebab shops here just waiting to give you salmonella. Great! But wait, what’s that?! A chippy with sea waves all over the counter…? No, it’s not drunk flashbacks to your Year 6 panto, it’s something special known as ‘Mr. Cod’. At least that’s what I think you’d be thinking. This is definitely not based on my own past experience or anything; it’s purely hypothetical. I don’t have any troubling memories from my school days whatsoever and you can’t prove that I do.
Anyway, this time, I went into Mr. Cod sober. At social eating hours. I know, I know – I must be mad. But hear me out: I actually quite liked it all, all things considered.
Who is Mr Cod? Why does the bloke behind the counter have such a huge stain down his shirt? Why the Hell is it still open? Many questions emerge from the presence of this mystical chippy. You could even say that it’s all a bit fishy… 🐟
My research actually found that Monsieur La Morue – as he’s known in France – gives his name to a franchise (which explains why there are a more than a few Mr. Cods about the place – The Occy Road, London Road, etc.). Not only that, but it’s one that’s been around since 1979. The Whitley Street branch (‘Mr Cod 16’) even has its own glorious Twitter account, which has a mighty 76 tweets, each urging you – quite cleverly – to get a takeaway… all to their zero followers. What a ratio. Bless ‘em.
What They Sell: It’s mostly chicken stuff, burgers, chips and all that lovely gunk. There’s surprisingly little emphasis on the fish in their menu given the name, though.
In Their Own Bullshit: ‘Always fresh, always tasty!’ and ‘The best bite in town!’ The latter sounding like an excerpt from a vampire, reviewing one of his victims.
‘Restaurant’ ‘Décor’: Amazing. Stunning. Breathtaking. I felt like I was on Brighton Pier. Is that the sea breeze? A really oily, humid, sea breeze? Oh, and by the way, the shoddy bar stools just out of shot want to kill you. Avoid sitting on (unless, y’know, you want to die).
What We Ordered: A veggie burger meal and a sausage meal.
Price: Their prices went up a few months ago, I noted. Fiver for each of those meals, so £10 all in all.
What We Received: Same as we ordered. Burger/chips/Pepsi, sausage/chips/Pepsi.
Number of Mistakes to Order: None.
The Taste: The chips were disappointing. Soggy. That said, they’re usually pretty smashing here. Burger was bloody massive, though. And not half bad, if you’re a horrible bastard like me and you’re into these things. Big portions all round.
Service: The chap behind the counter was actually quite chatty. “Ha ha, the veggie burger tends to take longer!” “Ha ha – yeah!” Great patter. At least they’re bloody ‘fresh’ from the freezer. That being said, it was still only a couple minutes wait, and yeah, he was a nice bloke. 9/10. Would chat again.
Clientele: Mostly just sorry-looking blokes with Deliveroo bags.
Highlights: Incredible sea-themed ambiance. Large portions. Quick service.
Lowlights: Soggy chips. A wee bit pricey.
Digestive Impact: Instantaneous food coma induced. Considered exploring potential medical applications.
Would We Go Again? Yes. Endlessly. I have no shame. I love it. Don’t tempt me, you bastards.
Recent TripAdvisor reviews:
‘sunday night lazy dinner – the staff our polite always good atmosphere for a chippy, staff very alert and always happy to helps’ (Daniel S)
‘Terrible service!! – Waited 1hr 30 mins for food to be delivered. Absolute joke. Food was cold and soggy when I received it. No apology about the delay. Avoid this place at all costs!!’ (Sarah C)
‘Great takeaway – Food is always fresh, good price. Meals can be customised to what you want. Staff always appear friendly about this.’ (Ed Pritch)
‘Absolutely disgusting – Hair in burger cold food rude staff would not recommend eating here I will never use again disgusting staff are so rude and put phone down on you.’ (Si S)
Monday: 10:00 – 23:00
Tuesday: 10:00 – 23:00
Wednesday: 10:00 – 23:00
Thursday: 10:00 – 00:00
Friday: 10:00 – 01:00
Saturday: 10:00 – 01:00
Sunday: 10:00 – 23:00
Yeah, that’s right. Fucking 10am.
Would have been more impressed had you visited the Mr Cod in Kabul.
Kabul isn’t Reading though, IS IT?
No, it’s not. I don’t think. I dunno, I’m not Michael Palin.