PipsDish is a funky independent restaurant housed in a former Citroën garage on Upper Street. It is owned and run by a polymath, Philip Dundas who is an Oxford graduate, senior project manager at the Royal Opera House, education czar and food writer. Philip and his partner Mary Doherty serve simple and homely British food from a pared down menu.
They have a bring your own policy with no corkage (with a couple of fridges to keep your drinks cold) and the fixed dinner menu is priced at a reasonable £30. There is an open kitchen backed by a wall of cookery books and fronted by tables bursting with fresh produce. All the heavy machinery has been removed from the garage and only the hydraulic car jacks remain; a bright red Citroën bread van has been disemboweled and now doubles as a dining area for 5 or 6 (try to get a table here if you can, but you’ll need to ask for it specifically). Unfortunately, before you are able to eat Philip subjects all diners to a rather supercilious speech about the soullessness of modern restaurants, his manner and tone betray his background as a management consultant: this attempt at anti-pretentiousness came across as rather self-important and snobby, thankfully this was the only black mark of the night (but those of a vaguely cynical persuasion be warned!)
After a rather bland canapé, we started with a fresh, clean vegetable soup which was simple but very well executed. The main course was a wonderful fish stew – the star of the show being large, sweet mussels, supported by meaty tuna chunks and morsels of fatty salmon. They do fish nights on a Thursday which will be well worth going along to. Dessert was seasonal and extremely tasty – a mishmash of tart rhubarb, cream and light meringue.
Verdict: great value hearty food in a really fun venue.