When you find a gem of a place to eat, the temptation is to keep it to yourself – no point having to wade through the crowds the next time you return. But the news has already spread far and wide about Eric’s Fish and Chips, located just off the A149 coast road at Drove Orchards near Thornham in Norfolk.
Since it opened in June 2015, Eric’s Fish and Chips has proved popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. And, at first bite, it is obvious why. On this, our first visit, it was a beautiful early September evening, the thermometer still fired up to 20C, so we opted to sit on the rear patio, and Roma was happy to sprawl beside our table after a long day at the beach.
I ordered the beer-battered, line-caught cod with chips (£9.00) while my wife, a vegetarian, went for the halloumi and spinach arancini, also accompanied by chips (£6.00). The premises is also licensed, so you can have a beer or a glass of wine with your meal should you want one.
Co-proprietor Eric Snaith is an award-winning chef at nearby Titchwell Manor, so our expectations were high.
First, the fish – delicious, meaty, pure white cod cooked to perfection in a thoroughly crispy beer batter and accompanied by perfect home-style chips, beautifully cooked and without a hint of grease. I never thought I would see the day when I tasted better than the offerings at Rick Stein’s fish and chip shop in Padstow, but Eric’s place is a notch above.
As for my wife’s halloumi and spinach arancini, she had similar misgivings about ever seeing the day when a fish and chip shop offered anything more than the ubiquitous piece of cardboard that is the standard veggie cheese burger. She said the arancini balls were delicious, her only complaint being that three balls in one serving was too much for her.
Dogs are welcome on the front and rear patios of the restaurant, but not inside. And you can always take your meal home with you, the pristine cardboard packaging ensuring everything remains crispy and warm en route.
For the food alone, Eric’s Fish and Chips would attract a five-paw rating from Shake Paws. But because dogs are not welcome inside we have dropped it to a four-paw rating. We do not understand why the proprietors decided to bar dogs. The polished concrete flooring of the interior should be equally welcoming to muddy boots and paws alike. Even Stein’s new fish and chip restaurant at Fistral Beach in Newquay, Cornwall allows well-behaved dogs inside.
Eric’s Fish and Chips is open daily 12.00–9.00pm. For more information, visit ericsfishandchips.com or call 01485 525886.
Shake Paws’ rating: ••••