Tuck into our favorite cuisine straight from the British Isles.

The Anglo File

  A little more than eight years ago, Michael Stone opened Stoney’s Pub because he couldn’t find good fish and chips. He’d hoped that, because AstraZeneca was establishing its U.S. headquarters just up Concord Pike, some of the British-based pharmaceutical company’s 5,000 local employees would appreciate his meat-and-potatoes approach to British cooking. They did.
    “If we could make the English and Brits and me happy, I knew we’d have a shot,” he says.
    Whether you’re looking for the flavor of Britain or a piece of Ireland, it can be found right here. The Wilmington area has authentic British Isles fare covered with places such as The Flavour of Britain Tea Shoppe, A Piece of Ireland, Catherine Rooney’s Irish Pub and, of course, Stoney’s.
    “Wilmington is really lucky to have that kind of food exposed in this marketplace,” says Stone. “Most big cities don’t have that kind of food.”
    At the beach, you can also dig into traditional shepherd’s pie, as well as bangers and mash, thanks to places like Stoney Lonen and Go Fish! All places offer more than your standard corned beef and cabbage and Yorkshire pudding. They provide a friendly pub atmosphere that cultivates a faithful cast of regulars.
    As with many ethnic restaurants, the recipes and cooking styles often come from the owners’ families. Stone’s sausage roll came from his grandfather, a master baker in England. All other dishes, including the fish and chips, are straight from his mother’s kitchen.
    The key to proper British cooking, he says, is elementary. “It’s the old adage, let the ingredients speak for themselves. Don’t overcook and keep it simple. I guess it’s a little bit of history handed down from generation to generation.”

    A Piece of Ireland Chesmar Plaza, Newark, Del. 4 and Marrows Road, 454-1900 • You can touch a little piece of Ireland—an honest to goodness street sign that once stood near the village of Clonmellon—that’s mounted near the entrance of this spacious pub. If that’s not authentic enough, note the white stone fireplace and old farm tools. The 40-plus foot bar provides ample space from which to sample classic brews such as Guinness, Smithwick’s and Harp. The traditional dishes such as shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, and fish and chips are also authentic—and tasty. Just ask Nile, a native Irishman who frequents the place. The traditional Irish breakfast—two sausages, two rashers (thinly sliced bacon), grilled tomato, black-and-white pudding, and a fried egg served with homemade brown bread—will stick to your ribs.

    British Bell Tea Room 890 Peoples Plaza, Newark, 836-1802 • Tucked in Peoples Plaza is British Bell. The place is stocked with adorably mismatched tea sets and 32 varieties of tea. Brunch, lunch and afternoon tea—think loads of great homemade pasteries, crepes, quiches, salads, soups and sandwiches–are served on vintage tables and under stately chandeliers.

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    Catherine Rooney’s Irish Pub & Restaurant 1616 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 654-9700 • Catherine Rooney’s puts it all together—traditional Irish fare with flair, a customary mural honoring the local police and fire departments, soccer on the tele, and Irish bands such as Hit the Bottle Boys and Bareknuckle Brawlers jamming on Saturday nights. The fish in these fish and chips is white halibut. The Wexford boil, an Irish version of the London classic, features flank steak marinated in Guinness, then grilled and topped with roasted garlic and mushroom gravy. The Kilkenny medallions of grilled tender pork loin topped with spiced apple cherry chutney are to die for.

    Go Fish! 24 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-1044 • Go Fish! lives up to its name with traditional fish and chips, a battered codfish sandwich called “The Codfather,” fried fish tacos and beer-battered shrimp or softshell crabs. The fish list swims on with flounder stuffed with crab imperial, honey-glazed or horseradish-crusted seared salmon, and macadamia-crusted mahi mahi served with pineapple salsa, cheddar mash and steamed veggies.

    Jessop’s Tavern and Colonial Restaurant 114 Delaware St., New Castle, 322-6111 • Stroll into Jessop’s Tavern and return to the days when New Castle was Delaware’s capital. The original tavern was established in 1724, but Jessop’s was resurrected from a long dormancy only 10 years ago. Each day, Jessop’s serves a different chowder, catch, sandwich, and salad, along with traditional offerings such as fish and chips and its famous bread pudding.

    Stoney’s British Pub 3007 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 477-9740 • Part of the allure of Stoney’s is personable owner Michael Stone. The former music publicist, who worked with everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Spice Girls, exudes a certain charm that sets the tone at his seven-year-old “local,” as they’d say back home. Stone and chef Thomas Darson take their English food seriously. The fish and chips are made of fresh cod from Dawson’s Seafood, a Wilmington fishmonger, as Stone puts it. The batter is flour, water and a couple other ingredients—no beer, says Stone. Darson whips up the traditional Yorkshire pudding every Saturday and prepares daily staples such as steak and kidney pie, bangers and mash, country ham soup, and desserts such as bread and butter pudding. Check out the  impressive list of single-malt whiskeys.

    Finbar 316 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-1873 • Finbar brings a classy touch of England (and Scotland and Ireland) to Delaware’s resort. It’s a fine place to grab a pint and a hearty meal. The original chef returned to his native Dublin, but not before sharing a few recipes. The cod used in the fish and chips is coated in a batter made with Harp and covered with an Irish whisky cream sauce. The cottage pie (beef, not lamb) is topped with a crown of champ (potatoes and scallions). Due to the popularity of Indian food in England, tikka masala (chicken marinated in yogurt and spices and served in tomato cream sauce) was added to the menu. For something different, order a Strongbow cider. The U.K. import is a rare find on tap in these parts.

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