A Wiltshire fish and chip shop has been named as one of the best 50 in the country.

The team at Harlees Fish & Chips, in Westbury, were overjoyed to hear they were a winner in the Fry Awards 2021's takeaway category.

The awards followed an unannounced mystery dining visit, and the shops and mobile units were marked on over 40 aspects of their business, from the quality of the food and customer service to their social media presence and their Covid safe practices.

Food remained the main focus, with all outlets assessed on the flakiness of the fish, the crispness of the chips and the crunch of the batter, alongside value for money.

And even despite the challenges and restrictions posed by Covid, entrants didn’t let standards slip with the benchmark to pass set at 97% for takeaways and 92% for mobiles - the highest in the awards’ history.

Patricia Hoare, store manager at Harlees Fish & Chips, paid tribute to the 10 staff members who had helped make the win possible.

She added: "We hadn't known that the owner had put the shop forward, and only found out ourselves on the 6th.

"it's been a real boost for the staff and a nice surprise. The person who was working when we were visited had only been here for about two weeks, so it was great news for him as well."

The selection of ingredients played a part in setting blank apart from the others, Patricia added.

The quality is really important in everything we do and everything is prepared fresh.

"Everything is cooked to order rather than left out, and that's not common in other shops."

Commenting on this year’s awards, Reece Head, competition organiser, says: “Without doubt, the last 12 months have been tough for fish and chip operators and many will not have dealt with this level of crisis management before.

“Allowed to operate during the pandemic, there was a lot they had to implement in a very short space of time to operate in a Covid safe manner. Many takeaways had to flip their businesses to click and collect and delivery, serve at the door, introduce card payments and work in much smaller teams. Likewise, mobile units introduced pre-orders and added new routes and additional vans to keep the nation fed.

This Is Wiltshire: Photo by Trevor PorterPhoto by Trevor Porter

“During a time of uncertainty, these operators have helped maintain a sense of normality. They’ve been at the heart of their communities, with a smile on their faces and hot food in their hands.

"And the fact that we’ve had our highest pass mark ever is testament to their hard work and dedication, and we would like to congratulate each and every one.”

All takeaways and mobile units that entered will receive their mystery dining report and competition packs over the next few days.

The Fry Awards 2022 will be open for entry in May when the 10 Best Restaurant category will return too.