[Craster, Northumberland] Jolly Fisherman

“Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside. I do like to be beside the sea.” Although not on a wet and miserable midweek evening. What I really wanted to do was settle down in front of the TV, with something warm and comforting. Instead, we honoured our reservation and made the 20 minute drive to this harbourside pub in a neighbouring village. We had a great table, looking out to sea, towards the next bit of land, in Denmark. It was a grey sea and a grey sky, the two merging into each other. The pub has a good reputation for its seafood dishes, so there’s a classic Moules Crème to start. Plump, juicy mussels, the basic mariniere sauce enhanced with a glug or two of cream. You could be in Belgium – which was the previous time one of us had the after effects of a dodgy mussel. Nuff said! There’s a thick slice of brown bloomer bread for dunking. Sacrilege , I know, but I went with a non seafood dish. A tasty ham hock terrine, which would have been even more flavoursome if it hadn’t been fridge cold. It comes with toast, salad leaves and, in a nod to the region’s food heritage, a dollop of pease pudding.

Crab salad was a very generous portion of both white and brown meat, with a scattering of samphire for crunch. There’s new potatoes, more leaves, hard boiled egg and bread. A special featured half a lobster, landed at the harbour in the village. It’s grilled and served with salad and chips. It was fine and, of course, it wasn’t a matter of food miles but food yards. So, it was a dish to enjoy but also to feel smug about, even if there wasn’t much meat in the shell.

We didn’t bother with dessert.