Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

We will RAK you: the Freddie Mercury fanatic making fish and chips a hit in the UAE

How a husband and wife team are offering British and Irish nationals a taste of home

Declan and Heidi Sheridan, owners of The Codfather restaurant, are aiming to serve up the best fish and chips in the country. Victor Besa/The National
Declan and Heidi Sheridan, owners of The Codfather restaurant, are aiming to serve up the best fish and chips in the country. Victor Besa/The National

Ras Al Khaimah is renowned for its history, culture and breathtaking landscapes.

It is not somewhere that you would immediately associate with a traditional British-style fish and chip shop.

However, a husband and wife team, who have just opened a restaurant there, are planning on it becoming renowned as the home of the best chippie in the entire country, not just the northern emirates.

Declan and Heidi Sheridan are the owners of The Codfather restaurant, which they promise will offer British and Irish citizens a rich taste of home.

“We wanted something unique in the northern emirates to give people what they were missing out on from home,” said Mr Sheridan, from County Longford, Ireland, who also works in the construction industry in Dubai.

“Loads of people talked about doing it over the years but we were the first to actually open a British style fish and chip restaurant here.”

The duo believed that the restaurant will appeal to a huge audience especially among the large contingent of British and Irish nationals that now call Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) home.

“There is a massive Irish community here alone. We are offering items that you would get back home in Ireland like the Chinese 3-in-1 and spice bag,” said Mr Sheridan.

They are items that are all too familiar to anyone who has frequented an Irish chip shop in recent years.

The first dish, Mr Sheridan explained, consisted of Chinese style chicken curry, egg fried rice and chips.

I decided to put Freddie on the wall, he’s a British icon and we’re a British chippie after all

Declan Sheridan

The spice bag has proved a smash hit with customers, outselling the restaurant’s signature dish of cod and chips.

“The spice bag has taken Ireland by craze, it’s basically chips with fried onions, peppers, chilli and chicken,” said the 33-year-old.

“It’s proven to be just as big a hit here too.”

There is a huge British flavour to the restaurant too with cod and chips and roast beef dinners being staples on the menu.

Declan and Heidi Sheridan have found a recipe for success with their eaterie in Ras Al Khaimah. Victor Besa/The National Section: 
Declan and Heidi Sheridan have found a recipe for success with their eaterie in Ras Al Khaimah. Victor Besa/The National Section: 

The Codfather opened its doors at the end of April and Mr Sheridan said he was delighted with how it has been received by the local community.

The secret, he said, was giving people what they wanted.

“We had people asking for Irn Bru and we got it for them, we had others asking for Lucozade and we delivered,” he said.

It is not just the menu that reminds people of home. When The National visited, a local artist, Eugenia Silvania, was putting the finishing touches to murals of Freddie Mercury and Queen Elizabeth.

“I am a big Freddie Mercury fan, I watched the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody, recently and I decided to put Freddie on the wall, he’s a British icon and we’re a British chippie after all,” he said.

Mr Sheridan is serious in his adoration of the Queen frontman, as his pregnant wife Heidi revealed.

“He is telling everyone that, if it’s a boy, his name will be Freddie,” she said.

So why choose Ras Al Khaimah over other locations?

“It is an up and coming emirate and we thought it would be a great venue to create the best fish and chip shop in the country,” said his wife Heidi, who said the restaurant had already been making waves across the country.

“People will drive for home comforts. We had a bus of 15 people from Abu Dhabi one night and a stag party popped in another evening to eat here.”

The couple, who have four children, were not content to rest on their laurels and have big plans for the future of The Codfather.

“We want this to be the first of a franchise,” said Mrs Sheridan, 39.

“We’re going to expand what we are offering as well as we’ve been approved for an alcohol licence so that will be available soon.

“We are going to install a juke box, arcade machines, offer brunches and give people an experience they can’t get in other places.

“We want to push boundaries and get people talking about us.”

Updated: August 8, 2019 02:43 PM

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