Reviewed in Feast issue 38 – July/August 2019
Posh or gourmet fish and chip restaurants and takeaways are quite the rage with fine dining chefs taking to opening them. In our region, we have No1 in Cromer, which is connected with Galton Blackiston of Morston Hall, while Eric Snaith of Titchwell Manor opened Eric’s Fish & Chips in nearby Thornham a couple of years ago.
Eric has since gone on to open a branch in St Ives in Cambridgeshire, with another opening in Holt, too. They offer all the old school classics and a bit more – something to get you excited about, like battered king prawns and Kansas City wings. The wine list is another indication that you’re somewhere a little different as there are bottles of Prosecco and Champagne available, plus glasses of decent reds and whites – I enjoyed my French Gerard Bertrand, Terroir Picpoul de Pinet very much.
Eric’s Thornham branch is at Drove Orchards, a nice little shopping and eating set up just outside the village. There’s a farm shop, a fish shop, a clothes shop, the Yurt restaurant, plenty of PYO in the apple season and a glamping site. Plus, of course, Eric’s Fish & Chips. You can eat in the trendy canteen style restaurant, with its bold green and yellow colour scheme, make use of the tables outside, or simply clear off home with your goodies.
We ate outside as it was a mild evening and we, as ever, had the dog with us. It was fairly chaotic as we visited during the school holidays but the young staff kept smiling and delivering order after order. You place your order at the counter and you get your drinks straightaway so you can simply sit and chat as your supper is prepared, or have a game of table tennis. There’s a play area, too, so children are kept very happy. And there’s a children’s menu.
I played a straight bat and simply ordered cod, chips and mushy peas. Himself had the same with curry sauce. They come in little cardboard boxes, with a slice of lemon, and are super fresh.
The fish, from sustainable sources, is fried in beef dripping, or norfolk rapeseed is an option, in a batter made with Green King IPA. It is all very yummy, with the fish holding its shape and the mushy peas excellent – the curry sauce was reported as good and spicy, too!
Signature dishes include a Japanese style fish burger, and gruyère and spinach arancini, all accompanied by homemade sauces. Other options are battered Dingley Dell sausage, black pudding fritters, battered squid and even battered pineapples. In the past, I’ve tried the fish cakes – which come with a sharp parsley salt, too.
There are lots of fun, deep fried desserts which change with the seasons – there was a creme egg available at Easter although I tried the battered Double Decker which was, well, very sweet indeed. I quite fancy the fried jam sandwich next time. Less naughty scoops of ice cream are also available to round off your supper.
Standards and, equally importantly, consistency, are high and it’s great to see one of our wonderful British institutions changing and developing with
the times. Eric’s is certainly fast becoming a modern day must.
Eric’s opens from noon to 9pm every day.