Original post from June 2013- we are sad to add that Hughes have now closed.
Are we bored of me banging on about local businesses and independent suppliers and the general evil of mass supermarket chains yet? No? Good.
In that case I shall instead cut back to a point in history some ten years ago when I was in need of some fish for dinner and took a quick duck down to that fishmongers in town. You know, the one down Eld Lane, the one that’s been there forever, the one that had apparently shut down while I wasn’t looking. Hmm.
That was a sad day, and not just for my observational skills. Not a fishmonger left in town centre nor, to my knowledge, anywhere within an easy commute. Oh yes there’s Sainsbury’s and Tesco and the frozen stuff in Gunton’s but that, reader, is not the same as a fishmonger. That is not the piles of ice and the and the beaded door curtain and the white coats that denote these professors of all things pescetarian! Ah, fishmongers. Ever notice that grim stink of rotting saltwater when you wander past the fish counter in your mass supermarket chain of choice? I do, and I remember as a child rushing past making lots of comedy ‘peeeww’ noises. Bleurch. Maybe standards have increased since the mid eighties but that particular childhood trauma has stayed with me for a long time and frankly, you can keep your so called fish counter. A proper fishmongers doesn’t smell like that (and if it does for the love of Cod don’t shop there).
I am straying from my point, and my point today is that the fresh fish drought in town is well and truly over and I don’t have to suffer the horrors of supermarket fresh fish any longer, though it was a rough few years with a meat heavy menu for special suppers let me tell you. Hughes Fish Co have been in place for some years now, but I’ve not really had the occasion to bore an audience about it previously. So here I go: Conveniently located at the end of Head Street, you can’t really miss them and yes, yes they do look like a proper fishmongers with a chalk board advertising their briney treats and a big stack of ice and the chain strip door curtain and everything. Hurray!
As you might expect, you can buy fresh fish here, oh yes you can. All the usual suspects plus some less common finds, Christmas specials, BBQ packs, samphire and sauces and frankly the best smoked mackerel I have ever had the pleasure of. Many a time have I considered their special offers, as chalked up on the A-board outside, but the over riding temptation has always been for their seafood platter for two- available on home delivery or store collection at just £18-50. That sounds like my kind of treat, and when I was paid a visit by the mothership earlier this month I decided it was as good a reason as any to succumb.
It’s not as good as it looks. It’s a fair bit better. Your twenty quid plus one fifty change will get you shell on and off prawns, smoked salmon, cockles, mussels, the ever trendy crayfish tails, two perfect fillets of that glorious smoked mackerel and my personal favourite- dressed crab. There might have been a fight over the larger share of that crab between two less skilled negotiators than mother and myself, but the green lipped mussels made for friendly bartering indeed. All of it is ready to eat and all of it of it was fantastic- the mackerel and crab nothing short of exceptional and as a Saturday night treat dinner this couldn’t be easier. Some fresh bread, an equally fresh lemon and some tartare sauce, whip the cling wrap off of your platter et voila! Dinner is served. It is a big old tray of seafood indeed, which we foolishly suspected we might not make it through but there was nary a curled prawn left on that platter by the time we were finished, it was too good for leftovers. Fabulous eating, well worth the money and yes, here we go, well worth supporting a local business in
my your very own home town. The staff are friendly, the produce is reasonable, you wont be disappointed.
You can find Hughes on Head Street in Colchester town centre, close to the corner with Crouch St by Just A Thought card shop and Vinnys’ cafe, or whatever Vinny’s is called at the moment. There’s two other great local businesses you could bless with your patronage while you are there. They don’t have a website I could find but please drop by their facebook page for a nosey.
Hughes Fish Co. Marvellous. That’s all for now.