[Bamburgh, Northumberland] Potted Lobster

This is one of those places that you come across on holiday which you wish you could uproot and replant near wherever you live, so you can become regulars. It pretty much has everything you want from a neighbourhood gaff – a nice room (in this case, quite rustic and seasidey, befitting its name and location), a good menu supplemented by daily “specials” and friendly and efficient staff who know what it means to work in the hospitality industry.

There was no need for me to have a discussion with myself about a starter. A called the Potted Lobster serves potted lobster? Deal done!. They describe it as “posh potted shrimps” – it’s shrimps, crab and lobster, bound together with seasoned butter and served with toasted baguette. It manages to be both light and rich. My main course was one of five specials, all of them seafood. In this case, linguine topped with big chunks of monkfish and a scattering of chorizo, and dressed with a light seafood broth to which a touch of cream had been added. Again, it manages to be a light, perfectly balanced, dish.

My companion if life always reckons a tart or quiche is a great way to start a meal. But it’s comparatively rare that you come across one on a menu. So, as with my selection, there was no debate to be had – a leek and gruyere tart will do perfectly. There’s crisp pastry, a flavoursome filling enhanced with a topping of Parmesan crumble,. That was followed by a classic dressed crab salad. The shell filled with white and brown meat, as you’d expect. And they leave you the claw to tackle yourself for some more white meat. Also on the plate, some salad leaves, new potatoes, baguette and a little bowl of mayo. If ever there was a dish that said “English summer”, this was it.

As often the case, desserts were not as good as the savoury courses. They were OK, of course, but you wouldn’t really have missed out if you’d passed. A lemon tart could certainly have been more lemony. And a Pimms jelly knickerbocker glory looked atreat but really only tasted of cream and a generic sweetness.

If you’re in the area, don’t miss out on this place – there really aren’t too many others of this quality round there.