A few months ago, we made the pilgrimage to Eric’s original Fish and Chips shop in Thornham. A buzzing chippie, jam packed to the rafters with delighted eaters.
You sea! – It’s just so original, yet classic and vintage. With the seaside yellow walls, quirky coastal colours and brick tiles with green grout (yes, I noticed that grout). Comfy American style diner chairs and benches. Black menu specials with those little letters meticulously placed one at a time to make up the menu.
And what a menu – of course there is the usual (well I say usual, it’s made with Green King IPA) battered Haddock, Cod or Plaice with proper ‘fried in beef fat’ chips (they do serve rapeseed and gluten free options in Thornham) but they also offer some exciting additions & alternatives – keep reading.
It’s the sort of food that excites – – it’s the sort of food that delivers.
Of course, you can also take away but why would you when you can help yourself to Eric’s house sauces – Kansas Spiced BBQ, Seafood, Chilli and my favourite Black Garlic Mayonnaise. Of course, there is also Heinz on the table with Aspalls vinegar plus you can order a side of Tartar for 75p. And all polished off with great attentive service.
It’s the whole package that make the experience.
The Thornham Eric’s was so successful they opened up a second in St Ives, then 3 weeks ago came Eric’s in Holt.
Eric’s is named after Eric Snaith the executive chef & owner at Titchwell Manor, North Norfolk (3 AA Rosette). He began his catering career in his teens as a chef in what was then their family hotel, later traveling around Australia, then back to Norfolk gaining more experience.
He then returned to Titchwell Manor as Head Chef, in 2016 he progressed to Chef – Owner, supporting Chris Mann as head of the kitchen.
(Chris might not like me saying this, but I knew him as a lad – he’s the nephew of some friends and when I first offered Cookery Classes from home, they brought him along to a few of my classes. They often talked about him when he later went to City College to train as a chef, then I later heard he’d got a work placement at Marcus Warings restaurant in London. He was so impressive they offered him a full-time job. Yonks later I notice Chris popping up on my social media account as the Head Chef of Titchwell Manor – – so you could say I was the first person to teach cookery to Mr Mann – sorry Chris, had to be done!)
Anyway, Eric opened Eric’s Fish & Chips in 2015 celebrating what is quintessentially a Great British classic with a few modern twists. Winning several awards along the way.
Which brings me to my Chippie extravagance in Holt – me and my hubby were invited along to try what was on offer. I certainly wasn’t going to say no – plus it gave me the opportunity to try something different.
We could not NOT have the Fish & Chips, after all my hubby’s a Northerner, they practically spoon feed their babies from birth and of course it has to be Haddock (it’s a Northern thing!)
Flaky fresh white fish, caught locally and sustainably, coated in a crispy beer infused golden batter served hot (and not lathered in grease) with perfectly cooked chip shop beef dripping chunky chips (£12.25 large & £8.50 small) (Small haddock & chips is £6 as takeaway).
I wanted to try the prawns as I’d seen them on social media.
Ohhhh – king prawns juicy and tender in crispy batter – simply lovely. (£6.50) We then had a side of pickled gherkins for a mere £2 plus a side of proper mushy peas (£2) (when I say proper I mean soaked dried green peas, slow cooked until tender when they break up to mushy green splendor – – not bloody tinned or squished frozen ones!!!) and white bread and butter for £1.50 (triangles – – come on Eric, to make chip butties you need rectangle – didn’t you watch the ‘Royal Family’) but despite the angle in which it was wrongly cut it came with lovely fresh local butter. I nearly forgave the triangle thing! (but of course, I didn’t entirely).
Other delicious additions to the menu include
Spicy BBQ wings in lashings of spicy sticky sauce, battered black pudding, hallomi & spinach aranchini, homemade Cod Fishcake, battered Dingly Dell local sausage, cod nuggets,
battered squid, Pineapple ring, IPA pickled onions – get this baby gem with salad cream (why didn’t I get that, so retro its actually cool) plus a very good curry sauce.
There is a children’s menu starting from £5.25 – – so all in all I think it’s very reasonable.
We actually had a little wander around Holt afterwards and looked at the other 2 chippy’s prices in town and found them all roughly the same price. And even though Eric’s was a tad more on some items – you’re getting luxury, quality and very fine food.
Because you know – you really know, that everything is made fresh – I don’t imagine for one instant that the Cod fishcakes come from the freezer from a local frozen food supplier, you’re not going to hear PINGS. There is no ‘bang in the Daloon spring rolls’ here. But rather nice cheffys cooking it all out the back.
I like the way Holt is set up they have this monstrous stainless-steel frying machine, with a secret hatch allowing the serving staff at the front to plate up the food or serve it for takeaways, at the same time acting as a maestro as they shout out the orders. Meaning the chefs are left behind the counter to just cook.
Another quirk of Eric’s is its licenced so you can get local Norfolk Gin and tonic, Aspalls cider, ‘Session Pale Ale’ made for them by Craft Brewery Brew Board. Plus, wines, ready-made cocktails and champagne – – – champagne and chips, well ok.
But I had the homemade lemonade which was a very pleasant drink to have with fried food.
But back to those desserts we tried a Fried Jam Sandwich – – just the thought of a fried jam sarnie makes me smile. It could have been bigger but it was only £3.50 and came in a neat round, jam packed, dusted package. They also had bettered mars bar on the menu – – for £2 you might as well for two squid. But the desserts aren’t really for sharing, so get one each. But that said we did have ice-cream too – East coast Gelato is good stuff especially when your friendly server brings you a tray of toppings. The toppings did need topping up but we still got glace cherry’s, marshmallows, 100’s & 1000’s, strawberry sauce and nuts if you fancied it. Glorious for the kids or the kid inside us.
All in all, we loved it, we would go back and we would definitely recommend it.
Next time I’m on that 70’s gem and salad cream, I’m on the battered mars bar or two and I’m going to try one of those Aranchini or – – errrrrm, maybe the battered sausage, if hubby gives me some of his fish.
Until next time.
Eric’s Fish & Chips Holt
4 Fish Hill, Holt, Norfolk NR25 6BD
F: Ericsfandcholt | I: @ericsfandcholt | T: @ericsfandcholt
Titchwell Manor, Titchwell, Nr Brancaster, Norfolk PE31 8BB
By Zena Leech-Calton ©
It’s all about the food – #lovenorfolkfood