First look inside chef Eric Snaith's new restaurant
PUBLISHED: 18:00 19 July 2019 | UPDATED: 11:17 22 July 2019
The owner of Titchwell Manor has just opened his third fish and chip shop, Eric's in Holt.
It's been a busy summer so far for restauranteur Eric Snaith. As well as overseeing the kitchens at Titchwell Manor and Eric's Fish and Chips in Thornham, the chef has launched two brand new chippies.
The first, in St Ives (Cambridgeshire) was up-and-running in June, and the doors to Eric's in Holt have just opened, bringing the deliciously different fish and chip experience to one of north Norfolk's most-visited destinations.
"I didn't plan to open them at the same time," Eric laughs, "but it's been how long it's taken each project. We signed on Holt last October and were always keen to go there. It's a really nice old market town and it's just one of those places we were drawn to. Although there are other fish and chip shops, noone's doing the style we do and they're mostly takeaways. Holt's just the right demographic for us."
The design for the new restaurant and takeaway (which seats 30) is of a similar ilk to the other Eric's premises, with Formica tables and almost identical tiling but, says Eric, each has its own personality. "In Holt we've gone a bit more traditional," he reveals. "It's a listed Georgian building with more heritage colours and panelling."
Just like the original restaurant, Eric isn't trying to reinvent the wheel here…but rather give it a bit of fine tuning. "We wanted the fish and chips not to be stupidly clever. You want them done in the proper way, not with gastro chips cooked three times. We have these things you recognise and love, but at the same time we've added lots of little bits and pieces to give a bit of extra life."
Key to any good restaurant of this type is amazing chips and Eric's has them down to a tee. East Anglian sourced potatoes are chopped and crisped in beef dripping, which gives that requisite outer crunch and fluffy interior. Vegetarians can choose to have theirs cooked in rapeseed oil, and there's a separate gluten-free pan too.
"But the core thing for us is our fish. We use a real beer batter and buy the best quality we can get I've always looked at this as putting quality first. We're not trying to be as cheap as we can be."
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In addition to the regulars such as cod, diners to Eric's in Holt will be treated throughout the seasons by specials such as mackerel, sardines or trout. And, like the other two branches, there are some very tasty surprises indeed, from veggie arancini balls and crispy squid, to Fruit Pig black pudding fritters and sausages which are a cut above the rest. "They cost four times the price of what most fish and chip shops are paying," says Eric, but we think that's what sets us apart.
"One of my favourite things we do is our fish burger. It's quite a simple burger - just a fried piece of cod in a brioche bun- but the mayo with it is Japanese influenced and it has pickled Japanese vegetables and benito [dried tuna] flakes. It's really interesting."
To up the ante even further, the restaurant makes its own sauces, from curry and mushy peas, to Eric's seafood sauce, spicy, buttery Buffalo sauce, tartare, and even a black garlic mayonnaise, made with the kitchens own fermented, dried garlic. They make their pickled onions, soaked in beer, in-house too.
Eric's even goes one step further with desserts. If you follow them on social media, you'll know there are often polls to work out exactly which chocolate bar they're going to deep fry next (most recently the Double Decker). "We've just done a deep-fried jam sandwich too. That was almost like a doughnut. It had a sweet batter and was rolled in sugar."
Ice creams are sourced from East Coast Gelato in Hunstanton, which produces unique flavours for Eric's, from the Christina Tosi inspired cereal milk, to white chocolate and miso, salted caramel, and vegan chocolate or banana. Order a few scoops and you'll get a tray of sprinkles, sweeties and sauces delivered to your table to make your own sundae - a big hit with kids.
And of course, no restaurant is complete without a drop of booze. Eric's has collaborated with a local brewery to make its own pale ale - Seazer. "It's almost better when you have it with the food," Eric smiles.
You'll just have to taste it for yourselves!
Find Eric's at 4 Fish Hill, Holt.