No.1 Cromer, Norfolk UK
No.1 Cromer, 1 New Street, Cromer, Norfolk NR27 9HP - 01263 512316
We could've picked a better day to visit Cromer on the North Norfolk coast. The freezing wind grit blasted hail stones into our raw faces and the rampant waves were the colour of builders tea. I began to regret my choice of venue for a Valentines Day lunch with Helen so the pressure was on to redeem myself and Number One, Cromer, had better deliver or I'd be in the romantic deep fat fryer myself.
I know what you’re thinking - you took your lovely wife for fish and chips on Valentine's Day?
Before berating me as a bit of a meanie, this is no ordinary chippie. This one is the bright idea of Galton Blackiston, the Michelin decorated owner of Morston Hall, our favourite restaurant in all of Norfolkland. He claims to have brought a little bit of fine dining panache to the humble British classic. We were intrigued. That’s like asking McDonalds to provide silverware, or getting your local bin men to wear suits, isn’t it?
Don't let Number One's uninteresting exterior put you off, Inside is a pleasant place to be. Upstairs is the restaurant, downstairs, a takeaway with seating. The restaurant menu has a little bit more suits and silverware than downstairs so I went for the fish stew, whilst my Valentine chose the traditional cod and chips. Hungry and cold, our faces still stinging, both represented the perfect remedy.
I'm pleased to say both unequivocally met our expectations. The stew had tangible quantities of each of the fish listed on the menu and the bisque was bold, rich and filled your mouth with flavour. You needed the garlic bread to soak it all up. Although not delicate to eat, this had the magic Blackiston touch.
The fish and chips were equally as impressive. The large cod was delicately wrapped in a crisp, tissue paper batter that melted in the mouth and the chips had none of the greasy look or stale after taste of many a chip shop oil bath, often resembling the drained residue of a high mileage engine. You could tell the oil they both emerged from was clean and fresh. The mushy peas and tartar sauce crowned this meal the new King of the great British favourite. Harry Ramsden? Who’s he?
You'll love the staff too - they care about you and they care about the menu they are serving. We could've been in any decent restaurant, not a weather embattled seafront chippie.
With smiles all round, my valentine gamble well and truly paid off, we vowed to return to try the rest of the menu - the paella is top of my list. We may leave it until the spring though, when we wont be quite so horsewhipped by the fury of the east coast winter first.