I couldn’t put it off any longer; Norfolk needed to be nipped in the bud (there’s a pun on local CAMRA there somewhere).
Yes, I feel the same way about the North Norfolk coast as I do about France. The locals are fine but the (mainly North London) visitors are generally ghastly. Think of my worst experiences in West London gastropubs with scarf-wearing middle-class table reservers standing at the bar indecisively. Burnham to Brancaster make those look like Wigan boozers.
“Search for the Hero inside yourself” sang Heather Small, on possibly the worst record to ever come out of Manchester. Clearly a reference to my need to show inner fortitude as I approached prime coastal gastro on a Friday lunchtime in November.
Most of the visitors arrive by boat from their Chateaux-en-le-Loire, and head out across the sands, at funereal pace, counting down the minutes till they can respectably head to the Hero for lunch and Pinot.
I think you’re supposed to enjoy this scene, you know, but to me it’s a third-rate Pin Mill or Wivenhoe.
So I head to the pub, which promises beer from 9am.
The best that can be said for these “Dining with Rooms” type places is that they’re often open all day, and not just for coffee.
“Are you open for coffee” ask the folk in Barbour, Helly Hansen and Oakley sunglasses, recovering from their 1.75 mile walk. No, just beer, mate.
“Do you have decaff ?” What is the point of decaffeinated coffee ? It’s the pashmina of hot drinks.
On finding out they weren’t yet serving lunch, the child shouted “But why not ?”
Because it’s Norfolk, child.
It took ages to get served, which can be quite useful when you’re setting up shots of blue Nelsons and sugar cubes on the bar.
Can’t fault the simple beer range, either. Clearly you don’t always need home-brew from Madame Jo Jos or whoever to get in the Guide.
I retired to the table near the bar with an earthen jug on it. If I’d taken the candle out I could have poured the beer away, but it wasn’t that bad (NBSS 2). Just that dull Norfolk Wherry that ensures cask sales will continue to slide round here.
Two members of staff stood at the corner of the bar, ignoring customers and chatting loudly about WiFi and tips, while toddlers ran around unchecked. Simon will love it.