I have always been a lover of fish and seafood, so when we saw the ‘fish board’ and all it offered outside the Hope and Anchor on a sunny Sunday, our dining choice was made.
Recently refurbished inside, the Hope and Anchor bar/restaurant is actually called the Crab and Lobster, with the former name attached to the rooms they provide. And they also own the Italia restaurant next door, so it’s just a little confusing.
The sign outside may look a bit dated, but inside it’s a different story.
The owners have clearly spent a lot of time and effort on creating a welcoming and inviting place for customers.
Big oak tables with chunky chairs contrast well with the pale walls that have a hint of the sea with wooden panelling on the lower half.
Chalkboards on the walls tell you the specials and desserts and above the bar, boards list the variety of wines on offer.
Another big plus was four hand-pulls of real ale, three of which were from a North East brewery.
With a husband who is a beer fanatic, that is always a good thing.
Perusing the menu, it was clear that they like to use local ingredients – Boulmer crab and Craster kippers featured, as well as Boulmer lobster on the specials.
We decided to share a portion of calamari (£6.95) as a starter, while I chose the Boulmer crab pancakes (£6.95 starter/£12.95 main) for a main and the other half went for the scampi-style breaded monkfish (£10.95).
The calamari were perfect. Coated in a light, crispy batter, they weren’t too greasy and the squid inside was cooked just right, not rubbery or chewy.
They came with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and a garlic mayonnaise, which had lovely chunks of proper garlic in it, as well as a bed of salad.
Not only were we impressed, but our almost two-year-old wolfed them down as well.
The mains arrived quite quickly and my crab pancakes were piping hot.
A decent serving of crab, which was as fresh as could be, was wrapped inside two pancakes and coated in a creamy spinach sauce, topped with loads of parmesan, which was bubbling away.
It was divine. There was enough crab to properly taste it, but it wasn’t too overpowering. The creamy sauce matched perfectly and the parmesan added a little saltiness to the dish.
The monkfish also received the thumbs-up.
Chunky pieces of fish, which were lovely and moist inside, were cooked in a breadcrumb batter and served with hand-cut chunky chips.
I am led to believe that the lemon and pink peppercorn mayonnaise that accompanied the dish was also a hit.
The toddler had bits of both mains, as well as her own bowl of chips (£2.95) which were cooked just right.
However, we did think we’d missed out when we saw the roast dinners coming out.
The Crab and Lobster Sunday roast is different to others.
For £10.95 per person, you get three mini-joints – beef, pork or lamb (or a combination) – to carve at your table, served with a heap of vegetables and gravy.
They looked amazing and the smell wafting from them was even better.
Other lunchtime options included Craster kipper pâté (£5.95), king prawn tempura (£8.95/£15.95) and steamed Scottish mussels (£6.95/£12.95).
For those wanting a lighter bite to eat, a selection of sandwiches was on offer, priced between £5.95 and £7.95.
After hearing the dessert menu, we also decided to indulge.
I chose the mascarpone and ginger cheesecake (£5.95)while my husband went for the Doddington’s ice-cream selection – with a scoop of ginger, crème caramel and vanilla.
The cheesecake was sublime. A thick, gingery biscuit base was topped with a light and creamy, almost mousse-like ‘cake’ and stewed plums on top of that.
The ice-cream was rich and creamy and it came with a couple of wafers.
The Crab and Lobster does fish and seafood very well, and their Sunday lunches also seemed to go down a treat – something for which we will be back.
It is also another great player in the Alnmouth food scene.
My only critique would be that other than the roast dinners, there were very few meat or vegetarian options on the menu – which is fine for me but others may want more.
More on offer for evening customers
The Crab and Lobster is a top choice if you want fresh, well-cooked fish and seafood that is locally sourced.
It is in a great location at the top of Northumberland Street in Alnmouth and while there are numerous pubs and restaurants in the village, it certainly stands out for me.
Work is currently being done to refurbish its outside area as well, which will make it even more desirable for visits in the summer. The outdoor area will be closed this year and reopen for next season.
SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Local crab soup......£4.95
Wild mushroom ravioli......£6.75
Traditional fish and chips......£8.95
King prawn tempura......£15.95
Steamed Scottish mussels......£12.95
Spicy marinated chicken......£12.95
Boulmer crab and rocket......£7.95
Own-cooked ham with cheese, mustard or tomato......£6.95
Cheddar cheese and onion......£5.95
Prawns in pink sauce......£7.95
Hand-cut big chips......£2.95
Potato skins with sauces......£2.95
Fisherman’s fish goujons......£5.95
Quality of food......9
Value for money......8
Use of local food......9
Access for disabled (a couple of steps)......5
Toilet for disabled......Yes
Verdict: Fantastic fish and seafood with a good use of local produce.
Contact: 01665 830363