Every decent girls weekend away has a good alcohol-related story, and for a group of girlfriends and myself, a recent weekend away in the little village of Bacton saw us spend our Saturday hiding from the rain in this quaint local pub. For six odd hours. Yes, six.
Arriving at around 4pm to shelter from the coastal downpour, we started sipping chilled glasses of a deliciously light and fruity sauvignon blanc and ended by leaving gone 9pm, full to the brim with a two course dinner served in their upstairs restaurant. All in all, I felt it was a productive afternoon!
Sitting between the road into the Bacton and the sandy route down to the beach, the Poacher’s Pocket is the perfect local. The staff were incredibly warm and efficient down in the bar area, instantly directing us to a table near the window where we could have a few drinks before the evening dinner rush. The pub had a very traditional feel, with the classic dark wooden beams lined against the whitewashed walls. With a darkly patterned carpet, glossy wooden bar and TV blasting out football, it had a really homely and cosy feel, with regulars bringing their dogs in to sit by their tables, some groups playing cards casually. There was even advertisements for a singing act due to be on that evening, so they even put on entertainment which I thought was something a bit different for a country pub.
Although you could sit and eat dinner at the larger tables and chairs by the bar, the Poacher’s Pocket also had an upstairs dining area that was quieter and more sparsely populated with white linen clad tables and dining chairs. Settling down at a table for four, my friends and I refilled our very enjoyable white wine and perused the menu. Since by this point I had consumed more than the average amount of wine for a Saturday afternoon, I had the fancies for something large, unhealthy and tasty. The menu was full to the rafters of classic pub grub, so when I spotted the battered cod and chips, I knew that would hit the nail on the head, especially as it was served with a generous side of chips.
The fish itself was absolutely huge, I mean massive. It filled one whole side of my large, round plate, the batter beautifully golden with a lovely crunchy sheen encasing the beautifully delicate and well cooked, flaky cod fillet. The batter was just the right amount of crispiness and was also a generous layer too – I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fish was also lovely, as you would expect when near the seaside! The chips were as expected, and since I don’t have chips often, it was a real treat to munch on them. They were a little thicker than skinny fries which I liked, as well as being nice and fluffy. They didn’t have much crisp or colour to them, but to honest that doesn’t bother me. I might have left my peas, but that fish was a thing of beauty!
For dessert, I went for the very traditional bread and butter pudding, served with warm custard. It was really lovely, being incredibly soft and bouncy with lashings of sultanas and currents smuggled between the layers of bread. One thing I did notice was the heavy cinnamon flavour, which must be a trademark of the dish here as it really was a prominent flavour in the dessert, which isn’t that common for bread and butter pudding. It was a decent size too which I loved, as there is nothing more disappointing than a tiny dessert. A spoonful of my friend’s rich and decadent chocolate brownie also proved that all the desserts were a winner.
As well as being impressed by the food, I was also impressed by the price. I knew I wasn’t in London anymore when we paid £30 per person, when the four of us had consumed a bottle of wine and two course meal each. It was a complete steal, especially considering the high quality of the food and also that the wine was really lovely – no bitter house white for us.
If anyone happens to be holidaying in north Norfolk, I would definitely recommend this lovely pub. Simple pub classics are executed brilliantly for full on flavour, great textures and brilliant portion sizes that don’t leave you hungry. Although some of the restaurant staff were a bit snotty, the bar staff were chatty and helpful, instantly making us feel at home in their local. And for those kinds of prices, you really can’t go wrong.