Last August we celebrated my wife’s birthday in Great Yarmouth. This year we revisited Great Yarmouth as part of my birthday celebration. We again stayed at the Nelson Hotel, and took in the early summer beach and seaside activities.
One of the first things we noticed was that Yarmouth in the early evening on a Monday was “closed.” Unbeknownst to us our arrival corresponded to the very time when food is least available along the seafront. Looking for someplace for a meal, we happened onto Harry Ramsden’s. We had passsed at least three other fish and chip shops between the hotel and Ramsden’s and it too looked to be closed. But the sign on the pavement indicated otherwise.
On entering the server took a couple of minutes to notice me, it being a slow night, and I asked if they were open. He responded that they were but it would be a few minutes while he finished the task he was on. He then took my order, and I went to wait. The fish batter was dark, and the haddock a bit grey looking, but the flavour and texture were okay. The onion rings were a little greasy, but that was excused as they were the real thing, not just the minced pulp of onions like some places serve. The price was a little dear for what I got, but all in all it was adequate. So much for “world famous” however.
On returning to the hotel I was able to take in the sounds of the gulls, and to relax a bit. The Nelson is rated as a three star hotel. It is a Georgian/Regency building, and has a mixed 1970s decor, but it is clean (if not a little tired) and the staff are wonderfully helpful.
A note to those with mobility issues is that the upper floors do have occasional stairs in the hallways, and there is only one small lift.
We had a sea view room on the second floor, almost exactly under the room we had on our previous stay, so the view was almost exactly the same with the Sea Life Centre and Wellington Pier as the features along with the sea of course.
The room had plenty of hot water though the tub was narrow, and the mattress on this occasion was hard, and a little uneven. The room as a whole was comfortable however and very quiet being isolated along with its neighbouring room from the main hall way by a fire door.
Breakfast was included in the price, and hot items were ordered through table service, with toast and accompanying items were available in a buffet in an annex to the dining room.
Again, staff make this place. They took a weary three star establishment, and made it a place worth staying in.
The high point of the visit was the birthday meal at the Ocean Spray Seafood & Steakhouse. The decor is maritime (fishing nets, shells, etc) and the atmosphere is calm and the service friendly. All customers are greeted warmly and regulars fawned over by the staff.
On this occasion we had a “Dips” starter with warm pita bread served with olives, hummus, taramasalata, and tzatziki. To be honest, this starter can make a meal in itself, and though intended for a two person sharer, it would easily accommodate three.
We then had the seafood platter with Greek salad, and a half lobster to share. There was the aforementioned lobster, grilled king prawns, a cod and haddock fillet, shell on shrimp, whitebait, scampy, and calamori served in a garlic butter sauce. This was surrounded with portions of feta cheese and black olives. New potatoes rounded out the meal. Excellent does not begin to describe the meal. The platter easily fed the two of us, especially after the generous dips course.
This is a must try seafood establishment if in Yarmouth.
It was a wonderful birthday, and we are booked to visit again when hers comes around.