[Wells Next The Sea, Norfolk] Wells Crab House

I suppose if you’re visiting a crab house for the first time, there’s almost an obligation to order crab even if some of the monthly changing short menu has a good offering of other seafood dishes, supplemented by a several specials, at starter and manin course.

For one starter, it’s a simple bowl of shell-on prawns in a sweet chilli sauce. Yes, it’s messy to eat but it’s absolutely lovely. Maybe the best prawns eaten in the UK. I find it hard to resist game, even in a specialist seafood place. And, here, a couple of pigeon breasts are carefully cooked, so they’re still soft and juicy. They come in a light tomato and coconut curry sauce. Just a little hint of chilli to wake things up but not enough to kill off the tastebuds. Which was just as well, as we both ordered local dressed crab as the main course.

It’s as light, delicate and summery as you like, the balance between white and brown meat just perfect. A little bowl of mayo moistened the flesh just a tad. Also on the plate, a handful of dressed salad leaves (straight out of a pillow pack), slices of tomato and beetroot, new potatoes and a little dish of home made dill pickles. Not to forget the thick slices of bloomer bread to help it down. Everything was absolutely spot on. And, to think, we were eating this probably a matter of yards from where the crabs were landed.

We passed on dessert but coffee was decent.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold