Saturday, 28 January 2012

Review: Jolly Fisherman, Craster


The Jolly Fisherman is located in the beautiful fishing village of Craster, which just happens to be the starting point for one of my favourite walks. Nothing can beat a ramble along the rocky outcrops to the majestic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle and on to the beautiful sands of Embleton Bay. On a crisp day the views are simply stunning, but you'll probably need to sit by a roaring fire afterwards to help thaw out your limbs.

This is where the Jolly Fisherman comes in, it's right on the harbour and has fantastic clear views out to sea. When we arrived the fire was indeed roaring and there were many walkers warming themselves (and their dogs - allowed in the bar) with a hot drink and a meal.  The menu, as you would expect, consists mainly of fish dishes and seafood. If you're not a lover of the fresh catches from our great seas I would recommend you look elsewhere, I counted two options that didn't contain fish. We were looking for a light lunch so we ordered fish goujons with chips (£8.50) and the pea and leek soup (£3.95) with a side order of chips (£2.95) and took a seat by the window to admire the sea cascading over the rocks by the harbour.

It genuinely is a wonderful vantage point and we did enjoy the uninterrupted views, unfortunately the food couldn't quite live up to the surroundings. I'm afraid to say there is no other way to describe the soup presented to me other than 'poor'. It was essentially a bowl of what tasted like luke warm tinned peas with two strands of leek running through it, it even tasted as though the tinned pea juices had been used as stock. The chips came in a separate bowl, were meagre in portion size, slightly undercooked and oily. The cost for these two items alone came to £6.90, simply not good enough quality to justify half that price tag.  The fish goujons were a vast improvement over the soup and were tasty, but did come with the same oily (and often black) chips.

Unfortunately after a few mouthfuls of peas I couldn't stomach any more and had to leave half the bowl (and I really hate to leave food to go to waste). I can only hope that the other fish specials on the board are of a much higher quality than the food we were given. We went to the bar to pay and I was ready to give honest feedback about the quality of the meals we had been served. The bar staff however didn't ask if we had enjoyed our meals or if everything had been OK, they seemed very keen to take the payment without conversation. We left still hungry, with a slightly bitter taste in our mouths and a much lighter wallet.

Highlight: The wonderful vantage point that the Jolly Fisherman offers and the warm and cosy (dog friendly) bar area.
Lowlight: Disappointing food quality and service.

The Jolly Fisherman’s Scores
Venue: ***1/2
Ambience: ***1/2
Service: *
Presentation: *
Taste: *
Value for Money: *1/2

Overall Score: I would recommend the Jolly Fisherman as a brilliant stop off point after a bracing walk along the coast. A warm drink by the fire or sitting and watching  the waves crash over the harbour walls with a pint, it doesn't get much better than that. However, based on what we ate I couldn't honestly recommend the food, it was in my opinion of poor quality and didn't represent good value for money. *1/2

My scoring system explained:
***** Outstanding **** Excellent *** Good ** Average * Poor

1 comment:

  1. I think That this is an excellent way of getting our local eating spots to take a little care with quality of food and presentation. We are new to the area and astonished at the wide variety of quality and service, price doesn't seem to dictate that you are in for a good meal and pleasant service either.
    Well done Andrew for your great review.