The Coastguard Café on Hayling Island has been in the same family since 1942, situated on the south side of the island at Eastoke corner with the beach just across the road. Elliott’s Restaurant & Coastguard Fish & Chips is an essential part of the summer holiday for generations of families, young and old alike.
Open seven days a week and 52 weeks of the year, only shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the Coastguard Café has a loyal local trade. In the summer when the sun shines, queues appear because of the hundreds of customers who want to enjoy eating top-quality fish and chips by the sea.
Jeffrey explains: “ I love the trade but without doubt, it’s hard graft. The queues don’t necessarily demonstrate the work that goes on behind the scenes to make it all pay off. Customers can come from miles away and we do not want to disappoint. A portion of cod and chips is priced at £5.60 as I only buy the top quality fish and serve it cooked in a top-quality batter to make sure that we are offering a far superior product. “
“Customers will soon tell if quality and taste isn’t up to scratch. This is certainly the case with batter. The wrong batter can ruin the flavour of the best fish. I was interested in finding an alternative batter mix but I had tried other makes and nothing came near to what I was looking for. We had been making our own batter mix for a number of years but when different staff make it up, it isn’t always consistent.
“The flavour, colour and volume proved to be second to none. We have been using Ceres Natural Batter Mix for over two years now, it is very consistent and so easy to use. I have taught 80% of the staff how to make the batter as it is so easy to train someone how to use the mix.
When we are busy, we get through a tremendous amount of potatoes. This summer we were using 36-38 sacks of pots a day at 25 kilo sacks a day that’s a lot of chips! We have used 78 bags of Natural Batter Mix since June 7th, so that’s 78 in 5 months, so an average of nearly 4 a week, but in the busy summer season in July and August it more than doubled to about 9 a week.
“I introduced homemade fish cakes to the menu this year using Ceres Fish Cake Mix. They have proved very popular with our restaurant business and as they are so quick and easy to make we have now put them on the takeaway menu.
We mix half of fish and half Fishcake Mix together. We add milk instead of water for extra flavour, then we simmer on the stove. When cool we shape into 4 oz fishcakes, place in the cold store, chill, then add breadcrumbs and they are ready to go. They have been a big success. We have found that we can add a bit of fun and topicality to the menu.
We always have very good responses from our customers. We received a great accolade from one family group who had visited Rick Stein’s famous fish restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall and said that we were probably better!!”