Yorkshire's Independent Restaurant Guide

Northumberland Foray

Squidbeak’s love of the North Yorkshire coast around Staithes is well documented, but if you care to venture further North up to Northumberland there are plenty of foodie rewards of the piscine variety to go with the wild scenery and empty spaces.

On a recent weekend in Craster, we discovered The Jolly Fisherman in the village – opposite Robson’s smokery which reputedly produce the best kippers in the world – was under new management and is reportedly getting a gastro pub makeover.

It’s still doing its famous crab sandwiches, crab soup and kipper pate. But the sandwiches come on a board, in good bread with a nice bit of salad, and the chips, if you dare to order, are done in beef dripping and are glorious. The soup comes as a handsome portion, enhanced by cream and whisky, which according to the barmaid “fetches the flavour of the crab out” Great food after a long winter walk along the heritage coast and through Dunstanburgh Castle. The beer is well kept with Black Sheep on hand pump. The wine list could do with a refresher.

The rest of the menu is now on a chalk board and looked interesting with lots of local produce. Surroundings seem to be at a half way stage – nice washed wood panelling and a good open fire but still swirly carpets and a wide screen TV dominating the bar. Definitely one to watch.

You don’t go to Pinnacles fish and chips in Seahouses for the decor which is all formica and fluorescent light. But it was too cold to eat them out of the paper sitting on the harbour wall, so we ventured in. Massive portions of fresh as you like cod, haddock or plaice, good chips, mushy peas, and tea. The white sliced bread and butter proved too much for me. And afterwards, if you’ve any room, a pint in the famous Ship Inn, stuffed to the gunnels with seafaring memorabilia.

Whilst Yorkshire seems to have moved with the culinary times, this part of the world is still decidedly old fashioned. Sometimes in a good way like the places above. But on a Sunday afternoon we couldn’t get a simple sandwich, soup or ploughmans in the pubs in picturesque Warkworth. Time to head back to God’s own county.