05.08.2007 - 05.08.2007 25 °C
There is really not much to make you go to Salthouse, a tiny village on the Norfolk coast, except for the annual art exhibition at St Nicholas Church and Cookies Crab Shop of course. It is not the sort of place you just happen to be passing but with some local guides (Chris and Richard), with inside information and transport this was a very pleasant day. This week Cookies made it into the Guardian’s (newspaper) 100 Top Alfresco Venues in the UK but by the number of customers there last Sunday, people already know.
It is a tiny wooden shop with tightly packed outdoor tables under a canvas awning on gravel. The tables are booked all through the day allowing you 1 1/2 hours to eat and move on before the next occupants arrive. It is simple, unpretentious and very inviting. There is even and a fishing boat leaning by the small front gate that looks very much at home.
Inside the Cookie’s shack, the menu and rules are tacked on the walls: Please do not bring your own food or soft drinks, as we serve these here. Please bring your own wine glasses, there have been many breakages. We are not a tea room, we do not serve teas or coffee. Closest toilets are in the pub around the corner.
The only things on the menu are salads - Crab Salad, Crayfish Salad, Salmon Salad, Lobster Royal Salad, King Prawn Salad and on and on, all fresh and straight from the fishing boats. They were generous servings and quick - great big meaty servings of fish and shellfish surrounded by slices of tomato, cucumber and beetoot, and spoonfuls of coleslaw; and all the dishes came with faces on them. I noticed the pâté smiled with a tomato face. The salmon looked at us with olive eyes lined with pink shrimp eyebrows. There were sticky toffee puddings and icecream sundaes on the menu, I wonder if they had faces too.
Luckily we had parked the car at the top of the hill and walked down so we were able to walk off some of our lunch then The rest we walked off along the beach from Sheringham to West Runton and back along the cliffs with the precarious caravan parks gradually falling into the sea. It was a perfect, warm summer day, (one of the few we’ve had this summer)– we even swam!