Ucluelet: Jiggers

September 22, 2008

After a long day of kayaking in Barkley Sound around the Broken Islands Group, we wanted a substantial meal. As we drove back to the kayak HQ, Ben, our tour guide pointed out Jiggers along the side of the road.

“That’s the best fish and chips in the world,” he proclaimed as we drove by a little white truck. It was enough of an endorsement for us. We were tired, hungry and damn it we burned a lot of calories that day and deserved some deep fried comfort food. Besides, we had not yet tried West Coast fish and chips during our vacation and didn’t want to think much about where we should find dinner.

By the time we cleaned ourselves up and walked back to the fish fry joint, they had run out of cod but still had my favourite fried fish: halibut. Instead of getting two separate meals, H and I shared a two-piece platter which came with bed of fries, coleslaw and a hearty glob of tartar sauce.

Although I enjoy a good coleslaw once in a while, it’s rarely something worth raving about and unfortunately, Jiggers’ creamy version was no different. I suspect it was just a store-bought dressing poured over shredded cabbage, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t go there for coleslaw.  We went for french fries and fresh fried fish and that’s where they excelled. Our two pieces of fresh halibut were gigantic and covered in a lightly herbed batter. Even better, the fish was not greasy. Jiggers did a fine job of allowing the oil to drip off before serving.

To top it all off, Jiggers remembered they sell fish and chips. Unlike Chippy’s here in Toronto, they weren’t soggy potato clumps at the bottom of a cardboard box. Lightly seasoned and crispy throughout the meal even after a generous spray of malt vinegar, the french fries were the best fries I’ve had in a long time. Jiggers won me over. They may not have the “best fish and chips in the world,” but they’re the best I’ve had in a long time.