Fork In Chips Loughborough Review

There’s been a flux of new restaurants and fast-food places opening in Loughborough lately and being as we hardly have any shops to browse around it means that I’ve spent a fair few lunchtime dates with the husband popping into cafes or coffee shops. We’ve been trying out different spots to occupy the baby in whilst the eldest is at school and then treating ourselves here and there whilst he naps. Date night is now date afternoon with two kids and we’ve been trying our best to squeeze conversation in that doesn’t involve nappies or the KS2 curriculum over something delicious to share and we’ve got our pick in Loughborough now.

As soon as I spotted it’s quirky name on a local Facebook group I was already planning a visit to Fork In Chips. This eat-in or takeaway venue serves Belgian-style chips with whatever combination of seasoning and sauce available and made to order.

Greeted by a couple of artsy potato bags as you walk into the restaurant there’s an immediate large board above the counter displaying all of the chips and flavouring options available as well as a fair few customers milling about waiting for their orders. It’s a bit tricky trying to make your mind up on what you’d like when someone is tapping their foot impatiently next to you and hustling around the counter whenever a staff member looks up. Although there’s such a huge open doorway to get into Fork In Chips it’s usually full of other people vying for their food.

The few times we’ve visited I’ve felt a little out-of-sorts as there doesn’t seem to be a clear sense of direction from whomever is running the till at that time or any conversation coming from the those preparing the food. I’ve visited similiar-styled venues in other cities so I get how the ordering and then queuing works so a little wait is expected but the slow-paced staff is a bit off-putting. It’s great when you get there and you’ve made your choice but then you have to hang out with a warm soft drink and a soggy straw until your food is ready whilst everyone else looks and feels awkward because it’s taking an exceptionally long time.

Sadly we’ve waited up to fifteen minutes for our food to be prepared which feels ridiculous for just a portion of fried chips with seasoning and sauce dumped on top but the staff have been apologetic on serving and we’ve even had a couple of freebies from the milkshake bar for the inconvenience.

You won’t get much change from a fiver for a meal at this joint and the teething problems this new restaurant suffers from can make that sting a bit. The milkshake and hot drinks bar feels misplaced against the seating area which, although nicely decorated and clean, didn’t feel inviting to us as a family to sit in. Only on our second visit was I told that there are toilets and baby changing facilities because there were no signs whatsoever and there also wasn’t a highchair to be found about the place. There isn’t a children’s menu because it isn’t the sort of place to be formally family-focused but the inclusion for those of us who lug our babies around with us is always welcome.

On speaking to whom I assume was one of the friendly management staff they do have highchairs on order which is a positive so I’m not sworn off of the place at all. Fork In Chips seems to be finding their feet on the sort of footfall customers that come through their doors rather than what they may have aimed for – which I theorise as being Loughborough’s student population – so these sorts of issues are no shock.

What really shines for Fork In Chips is the food. It’s a simple concept – chip shop-style chips with extra flavours, and it works.

Yes, the portions may be pricey but for a large you do get an entire newspaper’s worth of chips wrapped and ready to go. I’ve spied a couple of inner-town workers in their lunch break walking through the town centre with wrapped bundles thinking they’d purchased a bouquet of flowers to see their chips steaming and smelling delicious as they walked by. Their milkshakes are also a luxury not to be discounted – we’ve tasted some of their menu and we both agree that wouldn’t mind bypassing the chips next time and heading straight for the sit-in area for a drink to share.

Generally the staff are really friendly and the place is welcoming once you’ve overcome the large menu boards, steaming food preparation area and the awkwardly-waiting stranger. I hope that service can improve in time as the staff settle into a more comfortable rhythm to speed things up a bit because that’s the primary let-down for this place when everyone we encountered has been so polite.

All in all I hope that Fork In Chips can get through the initial ropey stages and survive on Loughborough high street for the time being because those chips are sinful yet delicious and really add something a bit different than what the town has on offer before.

I mean, if I have to inhale another cold Greggs pasty when I walk through the market I might lose it so anything new is always welcome.

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