Beautiful food that 'sings from the plate' at Yarmouth fish restaurant
- Credit: Liz Coates
The last time my husband remembered visiting The White Swan in Great Yarmouth it was a pub and Sigue Sigue Sputnik was blaring out.
Whether it was Love Missile or Shoot it Up he couldn't quite remember but it was definitely a stag do of some sort.
How things have changed, but then not so much.
From the outside it looks pretty much the same, except it's black, and inside the dimly remembered layout is still there and it does feel pubby, but with a nice wooden floor and an updated, clean simplicity.
If you're passing (and let's face it if you live anywhere in the Great Yarmouth borough you definitely will be) you will have noticed the colour change, that it's not a pub but a fish shop, but may not have clocked it also hosts a fish restaurant.
What I loved when we first walked in was that it is absolutely not trying too hard. The decor is simple with a few little touches that tip their hats toward fishing but there is no attempt to distract or bamboozle with glitzy chandeliers, or extravagance.
Basically you're not going to come away with a new set of pictures for your Instagram story based on lavish surroundings. This, I suggest, can only be a good thing food-wise.
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The same goes for the menu. What we thought was the specials board is all that is on, and it changes most days depending on what comes in. There is, I am told, just one chef and they keep it manageable.
The descriptions of the dishes are similarly understated and not over-described so there is no need to reach for your phone to work out what it actually might be.
There were four starters to choose from and six mains.
I went for the smoked cod, spinach, and wholegrain mustard Scotch egg with samphire and hollandaise sauce (£8).
It sounded delicious and it was. It looked beautiful too. The egg yolk was the perfect runniness and a beautiful orangey colour and the coating was just the right crispiness. The samphire was lovely, not too salty and again tasted super fresh. No stinginess on the portions either.
It felt special. My husband looked on in slight envy.
He had the tempura king prawns, Thai noodle salad and chilli dipping sauce which he said was lovely, the batter being particularly delicate, but the Scotch egg had the edge we reckoned.
For main I chose the pan fried halibut fillet with a potato rosti and green beans in prawn butter sauce (£22).
Again it looked amazing, despite being not at all full-of-itself in its description, it sang on the plate.
The fish was a lovely soft chunk, silky white and smooth topped by plump prawns. It was melt-in-the-mouth delicious and I had to stop myself making the kinds of sounds and faces that YouTubers do with every bite. It almost bought a tear to my eye it was so lovely.
The green beans were cooked to perfection and not a stringy one among them. The rosti too was lovely.
Meanwhile, my husband enjoyed the Malaysian king prawn coconut curry, steamed pak choi and jasmine rice (£18) which he said was flavoursome with a nice kick, but not over spicy.
We both agreed I had made the better choice again, although it was all good.
There were three choices for dessert and we went for dark chocolate pecan brownie (£7.50), which the waiter said would be enough for two.
Again the menu rather held back with the description.
What arrived was a slab of nutty gorgeousness with a ball of vanilla ice-cream and jug of warm and intense chocolate sauce.
The texture of the brownie was perfect, offering some resistance to the spoon, finding the chocolate moistness beneath.
For a Wednesday evening the restaurant was surprisingly busy with around eight other tables taken while we were there. Seafood platters seemed a popular choice.
It's not cheap but good value for what is restaurant quality food and we loved the lack of show offiness and simple, attention-to-detail dishes that were better than described - a bit like turning up at an AirBnB and finding it surpasses your expectations and the pictures don't do it justice.
The White Swan, 1 N Quay, Great Yarmouth NR30 1PU, 01493 858041
Hard to miss right by the river and with plenty of free parking. It is scrupulously clean, informal and unpretentious - suitable for a casual lunch or celebration meal.
Staff were friendly and attentive.
We paid £74.95 for a starter, main course, and shared dessert. I had a large glass of wine and my husband had a Peroni which we thought was good value for the freshness and quality of the food, although maybe just a bit beyond what we would normally pay for an impromptu bite to eat.
My next dish
The menu changes from day to day but I have seen a monkfish curry on previous boards that I would like to try. Also the seafood platters looked amazing and good value because they are shareable.
If you like this try
The White Horse, Brancaster Staithe where the seafood platter is said to be "divine".
Rocky Bottoms - a delightfully quirky restaurant, complete with crab hut, situated between Sheringham and Cromer, along the north Norfolk coast.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.