The Crown and Anchor is a friendly local pub in the centre of the village, with a restaurant area at the back in which we ate. This area is a pleasant space, if less cosy than the bar, which is full of interesting pictures both old (photos of island life in the past) and new (good paintings by a local artist, all for sale). Our waitress was friendly and helpful, and made us feel very welcome.
We'd been advised to make a reservation but the dining room was by no means full so we would have got a table without booking - however if you're keen to come here it might be best to book as it may be busier when you visit.
Favorite Dish: The menu here consists of pub classics, local seafood and some daily specials. I chose a venison and cranberry paté with toasted bread as my starter, from the regular menu, and goats cheese and red pepper risotto from the day’s specials, for my main. Both were good, but the paté was outstandingly so! Chris’s starter came from the same specials menu, a grilled feta salad, which he followed with the steak and ale pie (a huge portion!). With two glasses of wine and a pint of local beer (Tyneside blonde – recommended by Chris as having a good taste, and refreshing), our bill came to a reasonable £38, without service.
We also came here for a drink one evening, this time in the welcoming bar, and again found it very friendly – a good down to earth local pub. Recommended!
Another good restaurant is the subject of my next tip.
Most of the places to eat dinner on the island are either pubs or hotels – this centrally located small restaurant is the exception to that rule. It’s also a little smarter and more pricy than many of the other options, but from our experience here, worth it for a treat. It is run by the sister of our host at the Bamburgh View, Carole, so we were assured of a friendly welcome, but I am confident this is extended to all who eat here.
Tables are set in two small rooms either side of the front door. We were in the one on the left, in a lovely table by the window with a view over the small village square. We were served mainly by the owner, which gave a personal touch to the whole evening and meant that we were well-informed about the menu and the day’s specials.
Favorite Dish: I chose the crab cakes with chilli dip to start with. They were well-flavoured (that is, they tasted properly of crab, as you would hope on this crab-fishing island) and the dip was hot and fruity, and in a generous portion. The bed of salad on which the crab cakes sat was fresh and lightly dressed. Chris had the soup of the day, which was tomato and lentil, and was served in a generous bowlful. He enjoyed it a lot and said it was pleasantly spicy.
For my main course I chose one of the day’s specials, wild sea trout served with new potatoes. It was listed as coming with pea puree and as I don’t like peas I asked for this to be omitted, which was not a problem – in fact, the chef suggested substituting the sauce vierge that he had prepared for another dish, baked haddock. This was excellent and went really well with my trout. I also really liked the bed of warm cucumber (similar to a German cucumber salad) on which the dish was served. Chris chose from the regular menu, Northumberland chicken breast served with tarragon sauce and crispy bacon, which he enjoyed. And we were given a bowl of nicely cooked vegetables to share – carrot, cauliflower, courgette and cabbage.
We both decided that we could manage dessert and both chose the day’s special – a brandy-snap basket filled with delicious local strawberries and a dollop of really good cream!
Our bill (with a large glass of wine for me and a bottle of a local beer for Chris) came to about £80 – not as cheap as the island pubs, but worth the extra we felt. And if you really want to splash out, the restaurant often has local lobster available – a whole lobster (with accompaniments) will cost about £23. But do make a reservation, if only earlier the same day, as the restaurant is small and like others on the island will be fully booked by the evening, at least in summer.
But if all you want to eat is some local ice cream, my next tip will help you to find the best!
Serving snacks, light meals, home-made cakes, coffee, tea, soup and other hot/cold drinks.
Very friendly staff, pleasant walled garden with tables, as well as tables inside of course.
I enjoyed a very decent mug of proper coffee in the garden, watching the birds and almost entirely sheltered from the nearly-gale-force wind.