Cromer: The Flint Cottage

Sarah BrealeyA day at the seaside may still be bracing, but at least you can warm up with some traditional favourites. SARAH BREALEY visits an unpretenious Cromer restaurant with tasty food.Sarah Brealey

A day at the seaside may still be bracing, but at least you can warm up with some traditional favourites. SARAH BREALEY visits a Cromer restaurant that is unpretentious and with tasty food.

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It was a sunny day, and so two cyclists had set off to Cromer from Norwich for a glimpse of the sea.

At the next table a couple from Downham Market, spurred by the spring sunshine, had decided to drive to the coast for the afternoon. Unfortunately the mist had come in and the sea was barely visible, never mind any sun. But at least we had all found an excellent place for lunch.

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Flint Cottage is a pretty, if unassuming, flint-faced building. It is an informal restaurant, or perhaps a smart cafe, traditional in decor with contrasting dark and light tables and co-ordinating place mats.

The menu has plenty of old favourites, from prawn cocktail to fish and chips. There are also lighter items like jacket potatoes and sandwiches, and a choice of roasts on Sundays.

The other half had the steak and kidney pie, which had already been praised highly by the gentleman from Downham Market. 'I really enjoyed that,' he had said. 'Full of juicy meat with nice pastry.' And so it was.

I had the spinach, tomato and mozzarella pudding, which came as an individual suet pudding. It was tasty and substantial, with a filling of spinach puree (I would have preferred a bit more texture to the spinach), juicy cherry tomatoes and pieces of melting mozzarella.

Both came with a good array of vegetables - cabbage, carrots and green beans (which we suspected had been frozen, but understandable at this time of year). They were all nicely cooked, and there were saut� potatoes as well as two small scoops of mash.

On a previous visit we had tried one of the Sunday roasts, roast pork which came with a bonus sausage as well as Yorkshire pudding. Again, the vegetables, which can often be the weak spot in a roast dinner having been left hanging around, were very good. The only disappointment was that though we had the mash and saut� potatoes again, there were no roast potatoes.

There are plenty of tempting puddings and cakes, including home-made scones, syrup pudding and pear and raspberry pie. Our neighbours had the chocolate sundaes, which came sky-high with chocolate ice-cream and whipped cream, and they looked quite pleased with them.

The other half was tempted by the Christmas pudding, which was still on the menu in February, but we shared the pear and raspberry pie and a chocolate pudding instead. The pie was good, the pear and raspberry a lovely combination, although the pastry had perhaps suffered in texture from being reheated. It was the chocolate pudding that really put smiles on our faces, a big slab of sweet yet rich joy. It came with chocolate sauce, but we asked for it with custard too, which gave it even more moistness.

Most main courses are �5.95, with desserts �3.95, but you can get a special offer of two courses for �9.50 or three for �12, which seems good value.

Drinks include good-quality apple juice from nearby Roughton, wine and hot drinks. Service is swift and unassuming.

We were pleased to get an incentive to return - a loyalty card which gives you your sixth main meal free, with our first two main meals already ticked off.

As we set off again it was still cold and misty. But at least we were full of chocolate pudding. And suddenly the weather didn't seem so bad after all.

t Flint Cottage, Church Street, Cromer, 01263 513178

t Vegetarian options? Yes, such as garlic mushrooms, brie and redcurrant tart, spinach and mozzarella pudding.

t Wheelchair access? The restaurant is on one level, but there is a short slope to the toilets (with a handrail) and the toilets are not adapted.


Food: ****

Service: ****

Atmosphere: ***

Family: ****