“ Address: The Moorings / High Street / Blakeney / Norfolk / NR25 7NA „
The Moorings in Blakeney is, in my experience on of those little gems that you come across in Norfolk. The medium sized restaurant is unassuming and does not have a sea-front (or estuary front) view, instead it can be found up the narrow high street. Don't be fooled into thinking that the restaurant is not of a high quality because the location is not prime, what it lacks in location it makes up for in a fantastic dining experience. Although there are no estuary views the Moorings does live up to it's name to a certain extent, it is only about 200-300 metres away from the estuary.
In my opinion the Moorings has a universal appeal when it comes to reasons why you should eat there. The café opens at 10:30 in the morning and serves everything from lunchtime snacks and meals right through to just a cup of coffee. Many people seem to venture in thinking that you need to have something from the menu but in reality it is perfectly ok just to have a cup of relaxing coffee. The daytime menu can be as elaborate as you would like it to be, as it includes dishes such as 'herb crusted local mackerel', 'Norfolk crab cakes' and that most English of institutions, fish and chips. Locality is a key theme throughout the restaurant as is the idea of supporting both the local community as well as local businesses, thus the salads that are on offer throughout the day include the finest Norfolk produce such as Norfolk cheese, local crab and locally smoked fish which I can say from my own personal experience is an absolute delight! I found that the variety in the daytime menu is astonishing because if you don't happen to be a seafood or fish fan then it is possible to have soup, ideal after a long walk on the marshes on a misty winter morning. Further mouth-watering possibilities include sandwiches, baguettes and ciabattas which are all freshly baked and hand made to order. A children's menu is also available although as I have no experience of this it would be wrong of me to comment on how good it is. However the Moorings is popular with families so it must be at least decent quality.
I have to admit that I love all of those food items that I really shouldn't have and on that basis I decided to give the home made cakes at the Mooring's their very own paragraph! The cakes are all home made and wow, they taste awesome! If you are a person who loves food that you are familiar with then the chocolate cake is a must but for those with a liking for the more exotic then various other taste sensations are available. All the cakes are left on display on a table at the front of the restaurant which is helpful when choosing what to have. I have always been of the opinion that when it comes to food it is all about the taste, how something looks is an added extra if you ask me. The cake portions are decent in size considering that they will not break the bank but are not served with any added extras, it is just a slice of cake, a plate and a fork and/or spoon to eat it with. They could easily provide the perfect energy booster for the keen walkers that so love the area or a holiday treat for the whole family.
In the evenings the restaurant takes a whole different form, it goes from being a casual café into a sophisticated restaurant that serves Michelin Guide worthy food. The menu does fluctuate by season, most notably during the winter season there is an abundance of heart warming dishes such as mussels, whereas the summer sees sea bass and crab as popular choices. Whilst you would expect the restaurant to specialise in seafood, in reality there are also several meat dishes such as fillet steak and roast rack of English lamb. The meat dishes are considerably more expensive than the fish dishes, an 8oz fillet steak costs the princely sum of £21.95 which is excessive in my opinion. The cheapest dish for the main course is the risotto which is £13.95. Most of the main courses are priced at about the £17 mark. I chose to have the sea bass which was cooked beautifully and well presented, the vegetables that came with the dish were again well cooked and the timing of the service was about right in my opinion. Starters are also available and these are prices at about £6 generally and include a good selection with everything from smoked duck breast through to grilled king prawns.
If you happen to be visiting Blakeney on a budget I would recommend the Sunday lunch menu as a better alternative as a whole three courses will normally cost you less that one course during the evening. The choice on the menu is undoubtedly not as good as in the evening but it does include the traditional English dishes with a sense of home cooking. The most popular choice is the beef with Yorkshire pudding that is presented without frills but tastes as roast beef should. As always with the Moorings fish is on the menu for any vegetarians. Starters and puddings are also available and they are all part of the £17.50 per person for the Sunday lunch although drinks are not includes. The restaurant has its own wine list and although it is not extensive it does cover most price ranges and has a decent selection of both red and white wines. Puddings are of the sticky variety with both sticky toffee pudding and sticky pudding often on the menu at the same time. My personal recommendation would have to be the apple and rhubarb crumble with custard which I found to be flavoursome but at the same time not too heavy at the end of the meal. A selection of four starters are available and these include a goats cheese salad and a soup which changes by season.
The restaurant is not the largest and this can sometimes mean that during popular times booking is necessary, reservations can be made for most times during the day and I would especially recommend this for large groups of six or more people. The Moorings has a family friendly policy and therefore children of all ages are most welcome, this can make for a noisy coffee break at times although it is generally not a problem. On the other hand bringing the pushchair is probably not a good idea as space it at a premium. Car parking is not usually a problem as long as you are willing to pay, two car parks are located near to the restaurant with one next to the key side. This is good during the day but avoid this at times of exceptionally high tide as it does flood, the other safer option is located further up the high street and all of the proceeds from the car park go to the local parish council. The high street in Blakeney is narrow so it is worth keeping a close eye on toddlers when walking along it as cars regularly have to go very close to the walls of buildings.
All in all the Moorings is a popular, highly rated restaurant that I like because it is so family friendly. Due to the costs I would recommend the Sunday lunch as a more wallet friendly option. The atmosphere at night is good and welcoming and I adopt the opinion that although the surroundings may not be luxurious it is well worth it for the dining experience.
The Moorings has a website which is www.blakeney-moorings.co.uk
Reservations can be made by either telephone ( 01263 740 054 ) or by e-mail (email@example.com)
This review may also be published on Ciao under the username chrisbriers567.