With friends visiting from darn sarf, we spent an excellent day and night at Kasia's folks caravan in Northumberland recently. Being right on the beach it's perfect for strolls along the sand which can often be beautifully and eerily lonesome affairs, as tourists eschew this particular stretch in favour of the better known destinations such as Bamburgh and Seahouses. Fine by us. A hard day's paddling demands the cadence of a decent feed, one which we hoped to find at Hooked in the ever-pretty village of Alnmouth.
When eating out in this part of the world previously we've always headed to Beaches restaurant, just over the road, and the promise of freshly caught lobster. But with variety being the proverbial spice, and with Hooked's website boasting a menu speaking of good taste and sense we changed tack.
Things got off to a slightly surreal start once seated when we realised that all our chairs emitted a comical squeak at the slightest shift of weight. We'd had a couple of drinks by this point, so cue much squeaking and puerile giggling. Also, the table had a right wobble on it, although this was easily remedied by some of the contents of my Costanza-style wallet.
|Craster Kipper Pate|
|Roast rack of lamb, new potatoes, sauteed green beans, redcurrant jus|
|Fillet steak, onion rings, triple cooked chips, garlic tomato, watercress|
|Orange pancakes, chocolate Sauce, whipped cream|
|Apple crumble, custard|
I had high hopes for Hooked. The website makes all the usual noises about seasonality and provenance but unfortunately the standard of cooking the night we visited just wasn't up to it. Shame, because they're using some really great ingredients and there was some evidence of solid technique, but not nearly enough. I've read some favourable words about them elsewhere so perhaps we caught them on an off night. Saying that, I've got to question anyone who thinks that what a fillet of beef needs more than anything is a bed of stickily-reduced balsamic vinegar. Cost-wise, with most main courses registering in the high teens, you'd hope for better.
We still had a fun night, but the company rather than the food takes most of the credit for that. We didn't say anything negative at the time, probably due to being big scaredycats not wanting to cause a scene. Not, in fairness that we were given specific cause to think there would be a problem with less-than-stellar feedback; service was cheery and friendly throughout.
Looks like it will be back to the lobster next time. There are worse fates.
Hooked Restaurant, 25 Northumberland Street, Alnmouth, NE66 2RA
01665 830 335