Opinion: What Great Yarmouth's Hall Quay needs is some independent thinking
PUBLISHED: 07:00 23 February 2019
Are there are many better simple pleasures than a good meal out?
No cooking, no washing up, and (hopefully), good company and good food.
A recent excellent lunch at the lovely Star Hotel in Great Yarmouth got me thinking about how we are all spoilt for choice when it comes to heading out for food.
I was joined by some clever types who know the seaside town better than most.
As we enjoyed our meal, there was also a chance to chew over Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s plans to revamp Hall Quay with a range of eateries.
The Star, a 17th century, Grade II-listed hostelry, sits in Hall Quay, and would surely be the centrepiece of any such redevelopment.
But what would join it, we wondered?
A good quality chain, perhaps? The type that offers decent food, ample seating and the tantalising possibility of a voucher deal.
Pizza Express and Bill’s would make that list, with Byron Burger and Wagamamas on the upper end.
Then there’s that most modern of restaurants - posh fast food.
We’re talking Five Guys and Nandos. The food might come in a basket or a bit of tin foil, but it still costs you £14 for a burger.
Nandos also has that strange ordering system. If I remember correctly, the chain of events is thus: find a seat; queue; order; return to seat; get back up to get cutlery; food is delivered; eat food; decide whether to clear table; agonize over tipping etiquette; hurry out.
After those fancy dans masquerading as cheap eats, we get to actual fast food. The kind that comes in a paper bag, and tastes like a paper bag.
But The Colonel, Ronald McDonald, and whoever the Burger King is are already in Yarmouth, so no need for them.
As we finished our food, satisfied and a little blissed out, we realised the answer was right in front of us.
The hope, as always, is that an elite squad of enterprising locals, with independent spirits, will take it upon themselves to launch an array of culinary experiences to blow minds and dazzle taste buds.
Because while a chain meal can be comforting - and occasionally delicious - it provides nothing like the satisfaction you get from supporting a local business, and being able to brag to far-flung friends that there really is nothing like it where they live.