I want to make a confession: Although this blog is about great things to see and do in Norfolk, I have something of a Norwich bias. Because I live in the city, I sometimes miss new restaurant openings in the county and it’s a real shame, because I’m sure there are lots of great places out there.
That’s why, when when I was invited to try Rocky Bottoms, West Runton’s new lobster shack, I was so excited by the prospect.
And while I’m ordinarily not a huge fan of lobster, when I was informed that it was freshly caught off the Norfolk coast at Weybourne, I couldn’t resist.
So, a couple of weeks back, The Chap and I hopped in the car and headed for the towards Cromer.
At this point, I’d like to point out that I wish I hadn’t followed the satnav. It sent us on a most peculiar route, when it would have been quicker just to take the coast road from Cromer.
Plus, I drove past the restaurant at first because it’s not the only address in that postcode – keep your eyes open for an orange sign if you’re thinking of heading out there.
Thankfully it was a clear autumn evening and Norfolk was bathed a beautiful light, so it distracted me from the deafening rumbling of my tummy!
When we arrived, I was surprised by just how small the restaurant is. Although the former brick kiln has had a bit of an extension added to it, it is still rather wee. In fact, because we arrived a bit early (in spite of the satnav debacle), we waited outside for our table while our table was prepared.
We watched the sun go down over the sea, with the candles flickering in the hurricane lamps, while we sat all warm and snuggled up under the blankets the restaurant had provided. It was rather romantic actually, and we can’t wait to visit next summer after day at the beach.
We were shown to a table for two in the corner of the glass extension, again looking out to sea, which I was really pleased about. The view, plus the soft lighting and the cosiness of the restaurant made the whole experience feel very special, as we watched the lights from the boats twinkling out on the horizon.
Just a warning though, the Rocky Bottoms menu is only small, and if you don’t like seafood then this probably isn’t the restaurant for you. As someone massively indecisive though, it was great for for me. I opted for half a grilled Weybourne lobster with salad and fries (£15.50) in a matter of minutes.
The somewhat seafood-averse Chap found it slightly harder to choose, but opted for dressed Cromer crab salad with new potatoes.
The food came out quickly and was beautifully presented (apologies as my photography skills haven’t really done it justice!). The lobster was surrounded by a colourful salad and seasoned fries, and it changed my mind about the crustacean. I absolutely loved it. It was so far removed from my previous experiences that I was really surprised.
The meat was succulent, moist and wasn’t overly sweet. In fact, the blend of garlic butter drizzled over the top was perfect seasoning. It was all I could do not to inhale the entire dish!
And even though I’m not a crab fan at all, The Chap’s meal was lovely. With a squeeze of lemon over the top, the meat was moist and fresh. And the portion was larger than we’d anticipated too. We needn’t have ordered a side of garlic ciabatta, because there was more than enough food. Plus, it would have been a lot more virtuous without it!
More than seafood at Rocky Bottoms
Truth be told, it would have been a lot more virtuous without the dessert too. But our mains seemed so healthy that I felt entitled to one (yes, some people might think I have an unhealthy relationship with food).
After enquiring what the Runton Mess entailed (Eton mess, but with raspberries), I decided to go with that, and The Chap ordered Rocky Bottom’s best selling dessert – lemon posset.
And I am saddened to say that I can tell why the lemon posset is so popular.
While the Runton mess was indeed scrummy, filled with lots of meringue strawberries and raspberries, the lemon posset was something else entirely. It was so sharp and refreshing that I had food envy almost immediately. Next time I visit, that will be my dessert!
The whole experience was rounded off by meeting fisherman Richard, who co-owns Rocky Bottoms with his wife Alison.
We had a good long natter about the nature of the modern fishing industry, including the fact that I had no idea that lobster lived off the coast of north Norfolk.
As the restaurant is only five months old, we also discussed their ideas for the future and the potential to offer more on the menu. It was so welcoming and friendly that we felt at home right away.
So, as I’m sure you can gather from my enthusiasm, we’ll be heading out to Rocky Bottoms again some time soon. Just remember that it’s a small restaurant, so you might want to make a booking. Plus, it’s not licensed to sell alcohol, so you’ll have to take your own bottle if you want something a bit naughty to go with the meal.
Location: Rocky Bottoms, Cromer Rd, West Runton, Cromer NR27 9QA
Disclaimer: I was invited to try Rocky Bottoms in return for a review.