In Australia Bondi’s considerable Irish community now has its own chipper and, according to its owners, The Traditional Chip Shop is starting to batter the opposition. Owned by Meath-man Will Dolan and his wife, Suzanne, the Traditional Chip Shop has been packing them in since opening its doors in October. The top sellers so far have been cod and that old Irish favourite, “battered sausage”. Also on the menu is haggis, deep-fried Mars Bar and something called Paul’s Jammy Wotsit. The owners have been delighted with the response to the chip shop.
Manager Clare Dolan, sister of Will, says the shop fulfils a 10-year dream for her family. “Will and I both worked in a chipper back home when we were younger. Will came out here in 1998 and I followed him out in 2009. It’s been something that he’s wanted to do for a long time. So many people out here miss the taste of food from a traditional chip shop so we were just waiting to find the right building in the right place.”
Now the Irish brother and sister have picked up a big business award in Australia after their chip shop chain came up with the brainwave of deep-frying a jam sandwich — which contains 800 calories of mostly fat and which has been slammed by health experts. Will and Claire Dolan, from Kells, Co Meath, hit on the idea of deep-frying the jam sambo in their Traditional Chip Shop near Sydney’s legendary Bondi Beach. They now have such a hit on their hands that they have added two more shops to their chain, with another to be launched in early 2016.
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Will and wife Suzanne own the business, while Claire is general manager. The siblings’ brainwave has proved so successful that last week they won Best Start-Up at the Irish/Australian awards for Irish-owned businesses. “It’s our biggest seller and it’s a pretty basic idea, a plain old jam sandwich deep-fried a few times with some icing sugar sprinkled on top,” she says. “One of our food suppliers came up with the idea and we called it Paul’s Jammy Wotsit after him. It’s a real sugar rush and it’s not just the Irish who love it — the locals are big into it as well and a lot of expat British people love it.”
Health experts have declared the deep-fried speciality a health hazard. Dublin-based nutritionist Orlagh Walsh said: “It’s not the healthiest option on the menu that’s for sure, it would have a minimum of 400 calories in it and when you deep-fry it then, there would be double that. It’s not heart-attack food but it’s certainly health-hazard stuff.”
TV celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge was on hand at the official opening before Christmas and gave the venture his blessing. Fassnidge, from Castleknock in Dublin, has become a familiar face on Australian TV screens in recent years through appearances on Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules. He also runs two restaurants in Sydney’s eastern suburbs – Four In Hand in Paddington and 4Fourteen in Surrey Hills. The Dubliner recently returned from Ireland where he shot a two-part TV special for the Seven Network, which will go to air in March or April.
At the moment there are long queues for the Traditional Chip Shop and no doubt they will pick up on other chip shop aberrations from the UK such as deep fried donuts or bags of scrapings. But for Dubliner’s the real test will be Walsh’s Spiceburgers and our local North Dublin favourite from Macari’s, deep fried smoked cod in batter. Yum, yum, I can feel my arteries furring at the very thought!