Ali Meghji owned a doughnut shop, a bakery and a variety store before he trained to be a mechanic. But he has found his true calling with his current restaurant, British Style Fish And Chips.
Ali, who was born in Tanzania, first bought the restaurant two years ago and, with the help of his family, has turned British Style into one of the best spots in Toronto for authentic fish and chips.
Located at 73 Coxwell Ave. at Dundas St. E., British Style Fish And Chips is not typical of U.K. cuisi
ne. Often maligned for their lack of culinary creativity, British people always fall back on their delicious, albeit greasy, staple, fish and chips. Ali has gone out of his way to maintain the wonderful flavour, while cutting down on some of the oil and grease. Ali works on the philosophy that, first, you make the best possible product and, second, you make a profit. It is this attitude that has made his restaurant so successful.
At British Style, the fish is hand cut to order every day, which keeps the fish moist and full of flavour. The batter, made from a secret recipe which Ali refused to discuss, is also made fresh every day. Also, the oil in the fryer is changed daily, something that is unheard of in other restaurants. The result of all of these labour-intensive tactics is a reflection of a commitment to making the freshest, tastiest meals possible.
British Style Fish And Chips offers a variety of fish, including traditional fare such as cod, haddock and halibut, as well as specialty items like the pickerel and chips that my colleague Avrum tried.
Normally, Avrum and I discuss the menu while we eat, but he was far too occupied with devouring his pickerel to tell me how good it was. I sampled the cod and haddock and believe me these fish would make Captain Highliner smile.
Most of the meals at British Style are $6 to $9, and the menu includes more North American fare such as chicken fingers, onion rings and salads, as well as fried clams, shrimps and scallops.
Served with the fish are the chips that are cut fresh daily and are perfectly crispy and golden brown. The plate is finished with excellent homemade coleslaw and, like everything else, it is made fresh every morning.
If you had any doubts about the quality at British Style Fish And Chips you need look no further than the regulars that flock here, many of them three or four times a week.
Neighbourhood folks, local school children and many of the police officers from across the street at 55 Division know Ali by name and that is just the way Ali likes it. Because at British Style Fish And Chips Ali does not just make great meals, he makes great friends.