2017 has already become the year that Mr M and I rediscovered how beautiful the British seaside is. We’ve always loved Cornwall but so far this year we’ve already broadened our UK holidaying horizons more than we have in the entire decade we’ve been together.
You’ll remember we recently tootled down to Dorset to visit the Lord Bute at Highcliffe. While we usually have one destination in mind for these little jaunts we do, we like to leave a certain amount free to spontaneous adventure, including the food choices. Yes, this has resulted in us having a New Year’s Eve meal bought from a local garage or camping suppers made up of only wine and a cracker, but more often than not it yields a few gems.
For our Dorset trip we hadn’t done loads of planning of where to eat, especially for lunch, as we hoped to just grab something as we walked along the beach. And then, as if by fate, at the same time we were Googling where might be nice, a text buzzed from a pal telling me we simply HAD to try the Noisy Lobster. A quick look online and I could see she wasn’t the only one who rated it, so we tootled down Avon Beach to find it and take a look.
I wouldn’t say the Noisy Lobster is the most salubrious of buildings, especially compared to the picture-perfect (and apparently rather expensive) beach huts nearby. But hey, who needs a lavish exterior when you’re so popular the queue is falling out the door? I’d say the Noisy Lobster can save a fortune in swanky signage just with that kind of free advertising.
While there was a queue to sit inside (it seems the most popular tables are those by the big glass windows so you’re protect from the elements but still have that lovely reminder that you’re having lunch right by the sea), since we had Brandy with us we decided to brave the slightly grey day and take a seat outside.
Sometimes if you sit outside at a busy place you risk being ignored or getting service significantly slower than indoors. Not so here. We were very quickly helped to two very drinkable glasses of wine – red for him and white for me – while we decided exactly how we were going to escape without devouring the whole menu.
From the ‘Noisy’ Platter to fish burgers and classics like fish and chips, dressed crab and meaty offerings like burgers and cider-glazed pork belly, there’s plenty to suit any appetite. We decided to go for some ‘Beach Nibbles’ that we could snaffle between us and have as many Noisy Lobster tastes as poss.
And oh, what a spread we chose. We’d been tempted to pick pretty much everything but stuck to three with the obligatory portion of chips. This Lymington Crab, Chilli & Parmesan Scotch Egg was not just stunningly pretty but tasty as hell.
Look at that egg, perfectly runny and yummy, with delicate crabmeat emphasised and brought to life by the warmth of chilli and a nice classic hint of dill. The kohlrabi and beetroot coleslaw added both colour and crunch and a nice refreshing bite to the dish.
Salt and pepper calamari is one of Mr M’s favourites so we had to give it go and it was everything we hoped and more. Tender inside with a crispy coating and brilliantly well seasoned. The homemade tartar was a treat too and a million miles away from the stuff you get out of a jar or a sachet.
And my fave, the badboy on the right, was the Tempura Soft Shell Crab with homemade chilli & lime syrup. I’ve only ever had softshell crab much much smaller than this, but it was still soft and delicate and the chilli syrup was piquant, sweet, spicy and generally marvellous.
We should have stopped there. Shouldn’t we always? And do we ever? Nope. I was tempted inside by the promise of a big old dessert cabinet creaking with all sorts of sugary offerings. And once there, the Rocky Road cheesecake just screamed at me to order it.
We made ourselves feel better by sharing but there’s no getting away from the fact that there must have been at least 150,000 calories in just that one slice. Creamy cheese goodness packed with fruit, chocolate brownie, marshmallow and all slathered on top of a buttery, buttery, buttery, buttery (please tell me you’ve seen that Gregg Wallace remix?), buttery biscuit base.
If we’d been feeling virtuous for sticking to a few nibbles for our main, we ruined it all with just a few spoonfuls of that decadent dessert. Luckily we had a walk back down Avon Beach to burn off maybe a fraction of those delicious calories and muse over what a fab find the Noisy Lobster really is.
And it’s not just a lunch stop either – the dinner menu looks fabulous, as do the cocktails, so it’s definitely one for the ‘let’s go back there’ list. Good service, fab food, nice wine and a lovely setting. Ticks all the boxes for me. Who needs beaches in far-flung countries when you’ve got such fabulousness at the good old English seaside?
We paid in full for lunch at the Noisy Lobster. They didn’t know I was a blogger.
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