005The Tastiest Kipper Tea
L. Robson & Sons Ltd Average rate: 5.0

Craster, Northumberland NE66 3TR
01665 576223

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The delicious, oaky aromas of the Robson family's 150-year-old smokehouse mingle with the North Sea air in the beautiful, stony village of Craster on the Northumbrian coast, so you can begin to feel your mouth watering as soon as you arrive. Indeed, this could be the most aromatically pleasing place to eat in Britain. EU regs mean that Neil Robson, the fourth generation of his family to specialise in the traditional methods of oak-smoking, has to use fish from Norway or Scotland's west coast instead of Craster, but he still smokes kippers (and salmon, cod and haddock) using the same methods and with the same integrity that his ancestors did. The herrings are hooked on to tentersticks, carried into the blackened smokehouse and strung up in rows in the rafters, then cooked over fires of whitewood and oak sawdust. The smokehouse is a sooty sight to behold, and between Easter and the end of September (call ahead to check dates, and be aware that busy days in summer can generate long queues) you can have a fully smoked experience by visiting the Robson's wonderful harbourside restaurant. There is a range of meat, fish and salad dishes, but the thing to try is a kipper tea - simply kippers, brown bread and butter washed down with a pot of tea. The flavours complement each other perfectly, and industrially smoked fish will never taste quite the same again.

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