A POPULAR fish and chip shop has “battered the competition” and been named among the 50 best in Britain.

Fry Magazine has named Henley’s of Wivenhoe as one of the top 50 takeaways in the UK as part of its Fry Awards 2021.

Industry expert mystery shoppers marked the firm on more than 40 different aspects of its business - ranging from the quality of its grub to its Covid-safe practices.

And the chip shop is clearly the plaice to go for fish and chips in north Essex as it was the only takeaway in the area to make the list.

David Henley, who owns the business with wife Lisa, said the award was a huge honour for the firm.

He said: “There are more than 13,000 fish and chip shops in Britain, so it is quite the achievement.

“The competition is independently audited by a mystery shopper.

“You do not know they are coming in and it is done by a person in secret who judges you on all aspects of the business - the service, the quality of the fish and chips and loads of other stuff.

“We scored 97 out of 100, which meant we were among the top of the top 50.

“We were very pleased and you could say we ‘battered the competition’.”

Delighted - David and Lise Henley, own Henley’s fish and chip shop in Wivenhoe

Delighted - David and Lise Henley, own Henley’s fish and chip shop in Wivenhoe

Henley’s, which the Wivenhoe residents set up in 2002, is no stranger to awards.

The chippy has previously been named the best in the region before in the past and is the highest-rated takeaway with at least 100 reviews in the Colchester area on Just Eat.

David said: “It means a lot to make the top 50, particularly as it has been a difficult time for hospitality generally.

“People seem to be very conscious about where they are spending their money since Covid and seem to be keen to support small independent businesses.

“The judges also assess your work on things like sustainability as well as check what your involvement is with the community.

“It is about the whole package, although ultimately the standard of the fish and chips is the most important thing.

“Part of the criteria looked at how Covid secure premises were and they were obviously impressed.”

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Next year will mark the firm’s 20th birthday and David said he hoped to hold some sort of celebration to thank the community in Wivenhoe for their decades of support.

He said: “We hope to have a special celebration next year to mark the occasion.

“Wivenhoe had such an amazing community and it has the feel of a village still despite being a town.

“Everybody you meet stops to say hello and we really love being part of the community here.

“This award is really down to our staff who have been incredible, particularly in difficult circumstances.

“My manager Dave has been with us for 20 years and his son Ryan has worked with us for 12.”

He added: “To me staff retention is a good sign of how you are doing as a business.”