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Cromer’s Number One chefs’ five tips for perfect fish and chips

PUBLISHED: 13:47 23 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:50 23 October 2017

Head chef Jimmy Preston with general manager Wayne Blackham. Picture: Staff pics.

Head chef Jimmy Preston with general manager Wayne Blackham. Picture: Staff pics.

Archant

Cromer is well known for its top-notch fish and chip restaurants and takeaways.

No 1 CromerNo 1 Cromer

Mary Janes on Garden Street has been a firm favourite for decades, but a new kid on the block has built up a strong following, too.

The restaurant Upstairs at No.1 and the No.1 take away occupy the old Melbourne Hotel and were established by TV chef and Morston Hall owner Galton Blackiston.

It has been shortlisted in the top 20 for the fish and chip restaurant of the year in the National Fish and Chip Awards, and Enjoy Cromer More took a trip to the restaurant to see what the chefs there thought made the perfect fish and chips.

General manager Wayne Blackham and head chef Jimmy Preston came up with their top five must-haves for the perfect fish feast.

Galton and Tracy Blackiston and staff at the No 1 Cromer which has been ranked previously in the UKs top five chippy restaurants as part of awards organised by Seafish. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYGalton and Tracy Blackiston and staff at the No 1 Cromer which has been ranked previously in the UKs top five chippy restaurants as part of awards organised by Seafish. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

“The top one has to be the quality of the products,” said Mr Blackham, 56. “Fresh fish, fresh potatoes, of top quality.”

“Our second would be the quality of the batter,” said Mr Blackham. “People are really, really concerned with the quality of the batter. Often they’re more concerned with the batter than the fish itself.”

“I think service has to come into it here,” added Mr Preston. “You can have the best food in the world but if you have a bad customer experience then people won’t want to come back.”

“Sustainability is a huge thing for us, so that would be number four,” continued Mr Blackham. “Fish prices are going up year by year and we don’t want to contribute to making fishing less sustainable. We order a lot of our fish from the Barents Sea, as it’s sustainable there. We also use a lot of local suppliers such as John Davies’ crab, Icarus Hines’ butchers, we use the Cromer bakery. Pretty much everything is locally sourced.”

“I had a special on last week based on some of the stuff one of our chefs was growing in his allotment and bringing in,” Mr Preston added.

“The final one would be location,” Mr Preston said. “You can sit here and just look out and you know you food’s coming from out there.”

The pair are hoping for success at the awards as they have nominated their upstairs restaurant for the first time in three years.

“We’ve reached the top 10 before, but they only announce a winner and don’t tell the runners up where they came,” Mr Blackham said. “We serve about 3,000 meals a day in the height of summer, and the winner only had about 20 covers so you can’t really compare. We just don’t have the capacity to perfect every presentation and meal that way.”

No.1 and Upstairs at No.1 can be found in New Street, Cromer, overlooking the pier.

■ Want to read more Cromer stories? Visit our new website www.enjoycromermore.co.uk, as well as joining our Facebook page and following @EnjoyCromer on Twitter.

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