Shopping for fish at Gurneys


Twitter reminded me about Gurneys. More specifically that it had been voted a very good fish shop. One of the best. It was listed, in a piece in one of those Sunday Supplement magazines. Raffi’s in our nearby hometown of Sudbury won a mention as the best place to go to for Indian spices in all of East Anglia (and is where I go). Gurneys got the gong for best fish shop in the whole rump of England.

When we’re up in Norfolk, we get some fish in either from Gurneys, or a little garage/shed on the coast road – mainly we go there for mussels and crabs, Gurneys for everything else. Years ago, Annie and I first lost our bowls of Moules Mariniere to the inquisitive children in one of the sheds on Mersea Island (we had to eat their children’s portions of Fish and Chips). Ever since then, mussels have been one of their favourite seaside dinners.

Another thing Gurneys do very well are the bits and pieces that come in pots. Things like potted shrimp, mackerel pate, crab pate, and dressed crabs, plain crab-meat, English fish cakes, and Thai fish cakes. And an invention – I think – of theirs; cray’n’aise. I think you can figure that one out. (I must say though, that the crayfish in the last one I bought were so overcooked everyone refused to eat them. Previously, it has been spot on.)

They have one counter for all those things, and another for wet fish. The wet fish is spanking fresh, and the shop certainly has the turnover to keep it that way.

There’s the full spectrum of smoked fish too. Inevitably, you can get all the extra bits and pieces for your fish frenzy: lemons, garlic, onions, homemade mayonnaise, pink sauce, tartar sauce, various exotica in jars and vast bunches of flat leaf parsley.

Gurneys Fish Shop, Market Place, Burnham Market, PE31 8HF, 01328 738967

Breakfast at the Deepdale Cafe


It’s the curse of the internet. Now that everywhere has wifi you can take your laptop with you on holiday and do some work if you need to. You never get to switch it off and switch-off properly.

With Annie having to do something for a client that hadn’t been done by the time we packed the car up, I took the three children to the Deepdale Café for breakfast on Monday morning. We’ve been many times before. It is a real holiday luxury having someone else cook breakfast, especially a big proper cooked breakfast, before we head off to the beach for the day, or a long walk out to the coast, or something else that’s unfamiliar and wholesomely outdoorsy.

The place quickly filled up with people on holiday: a couple in their thirties without children or conversation, a grandfather and grandson – the older of them with a half-term excuse for a vast cooked breakfast (the full English, with extras), and a couple of other families on half term breaks.

Two of the children had hot-chocolates, the Starbucks variety; spray cream, sprinkles and marshmallows. One had a cup of tea, I had a limp cappuccino. To eat, two of them ordered stacks of pancakes with maple syrup (hold the cream, please), one had an egg and bacon sandwich. I didn’t have the appetite for a fried meat feast, so had two poached eggs on wilted spinach on granary toast with hollandaise sauce. If the hollandaise sauce had been a little better made, mine would have been perfect. As it was all the plates were cleaned. It’s friendly waiter service but you pay at the till on the way out.

The Deepdale Café serves breakfast between 9 and 12, then lunches and teas. It opens earlier at 7.30 on “high days and holidays” – on such days you may want to book a table, which seems odd for breakfast. Nobody told them we were on half-term, we had to wait for the doors to open at 9.

For breakfast for four we got a little change from £25.

The Deepdale Café, Main Road, Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk, PE31 8DD, 01485211055