25 Brougham Street
Tel: 0131 229 6820
Prospective chip shop owners should have to undergo a citizenship test before forcing their greasy wares upon the public. If you’re Scottish or Italian, step right up to the hotplate and start shoveling chips. The rest of the world? They’re not fit to batter my Mars bar. Why is it that everyone and their overfed dog seems to think they’re qualified to serve deep-fried potato strips? Chinese, Indians, pished folk at 3am leaving the oven on and burning them to a crisp – everyone likes to have a go, and most fail miserably. You don’t see Scots or Italians attempting to make sushi; we know our culinary limitations, and happily work to them.
Valletta is a Tollcross chipper-cum-kebab shop that commits the cardinal sin of being neither Scots nor Italian. Its Algerian staff can be forgiven for their chip-free heritage however as the food is actually rather good. Of course, let’s not confuse good with healthy – this is deep fried filth of the highest order, and thus should only be enjoyed in moderation as a rare reward for faultlessly taking your five-a-day and gargling with Innocent smoothies. But if you can overlook the saturated fat and sodium levels – a feat easily achieved once half-cut – there’s plenty here to grease up your whistle. And don’t think you’re limited only to those foods that can be dunked and deep-fried – there’s also quality kebabs, pizzas and Ferrero Rocher. Ferrero Rocher? That’s right, the ambassador’s favourite cardboard-flavoured sweets can now be purchased in an Auld Reekie chipper. Those golden nuggets have finally found their true level – they always did look a bit chip shop, in spite of their loftier aspirations. Deep-fried Ferrero Rocher, now there’s a delicacy just waiting for a drunk Scotsman to make it happen…
As if in tribute to the great Italian chip shop masters, Valletta also sell boxed Il Paletone cakes and Super Mario kids’ meal boxes. Eating junk food’s never seemed more appealing. If you just can’t wait to tuck into your battered heart attack, bar seating is provided, though whether you’d want to savour it amidst the rancid stench of grease is another matter. This place smells worse than school dinners.
Like school textbooks depicting British children playing happily with their friend Ahmed, the multiculturalism in Valletta can almost feel forced. French-Algerian staff? Scottish food? With an Italian twist? Woah, slow down – I only stepped in for a packet of fags! For all its cosmopolitan quirks however, the fact remains that if it looks and smells like a chipper, it’s probably just a chipper, and within these agreeable parameters, Valletta does just fine. It might not be the legendary sort of establishment you’d cross town for, but if it’s on your front step, that’ll do nicely.
Try: The special fish or the chicken kebab.
Avoid: Staying too long if you don’t want to smell like yesterday’s news wrapped in tomorrow’s sewage.
Special fish supper: £5
1/2 pounder supper £4.50