First class fish and chips on the coast

Eric’s Fish & Chips restaurant and takeaway in Thornham is a blend of everything – modern, traditional, retro, old fashioned, high-tech – a 21st century chippy. With food this good, it’s no wonder they’re opening two new restaurants this summer!

We arrived on a glorious sunny day at lunchtime, hungry after a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Sandringham House, and slightly frazzled due to a busy coast road full of Easter holidaymakers.

Drove Orchards in Thornham is a small collection of shops and eateries, a play area, plus 40 acres of orchards and a glamping site. There’s a farm shop and fishmongers, a couple of lifestyle shops, a yurt restaurant and Eric’s Fish & Chips. You can’t miss it, bold, bright green and stark white with striped deckchairs out front.

Inside, like outside, is colourful and minimalist with the green theme continuing. Splashes of yellow spice things up – the counter, chairs, tabletops. All very simple yet stylish.

The place was packed, barely a free table anywhere – a good sign. The long counter was well staffed with no queues, and the menus on the wall were retro black and white peg boards – a nice touch.

We chose cod and chips twice – large for him, medium for me, beer battered and cooked in beef dripping. Extras were mushy peas, curry sauce, battered gherkin and two pots of tartar sauce, plus a couple of drinks.

Certainly the priciest fish & chips I’ve ever bought, but I’d done my research and was fully prepared, so no swooning necessary. We were given a little black beeper device that would flash and buzz when our order was ready – no yelling your name here.

We settled ourselves outside in the sun and waited to be buzzed. Ten minutes later we were opening boxes like excited kids on Christmas morning, and tucked in greedily.

The rest is a blur of flaky fish and fluffy chips, but it was quite possibly the tastiest fish & chips I’ve ever had. The cod was generous and juicy, the batter crunchy and crispy, and the tartar sauce was divine – creamy, chunky with a good dose of dill.

The curry sauce was unlike any other curry sauce we’ve ever had, in a good way. It had a festive flavour, like cinnamon – whatever it was, it was very moreish, and luckily my partner was happy to share. I’m afraid my mushy peas were largely ignored, the lure of the curry sauce too strong.

The chips were just right in every way – colour, texture, taste – even better covered in salt and vinegar. The battered gherkins were also delicious and again, the portion generous. Even the can of Vimto went down well.

We didn’t explore the bar and ice cream station outside, but the prospect of a build-your-own sundae, where you’re given your own condiment caddy full of sauces, sprinkles, toppings and treats to customise your ice cream, is reason enough to return.

Finally, a quick trip to the toilets to wash our hands. Loos can really let a place down, but these didn’t disappoint – chipboard walls and doors and exposed pipes for taps – industrial chic at its best!

All in all a great lunch, with more on the menu that I can’t wait to try, and a curry sauce calling my name. I’ll be back!

Eric’s Fish & Chips
Drove Orchards
Thornham Rd
Thornham
PE36 6LS

T: 01485 525886
www.ericsfishandchips.com