While D was having fun with his mates at an exhibition in Southwold, mum and i went along for the ride but got him to drop up in town, down by the pier, for our own little adventure.
He dropped us by the pier at about 10am and had the morning to wander along a very windy pier, the gusty seafront and into less breezy town for a drink before heading to the harbour for lunch. Whilst we were in town we stopped into the tourist information centre to see if we could find out exactly where this seafood restaurant, i'd looked up online, was. I found a leaflet with the phone number and we found another toursit leaflet with it marked on the map.
While we were having a drink in a tearoom, mum suggested i ring the restaurant to check if we were ok to eat there for lunch. The Sole Bay Fish Company is a bit like The Company Shed on Mersea Island, so you take your own drink and bread and they provide the seafood platters. Now at The Shed you can't book a table, however is a good job i did ring as when i asked to book a table she was fulled booked over the time we'd normally go for lunch, about 1 O'Clock, so it was either 12.30pm or 2.30pm. It was 12pm when i phoned and we didn't know how long it was going to take us to get down there, plus we were only just started at the tearoom with our drinks. So i booked for 2.30pm.
After the tearoom we walked back to the seafront and along to the harbour, which as it turned out only took us half an hour, so we were then there an hour and a half early! So we decided to get the passenger ferry (rowing boat) across the estuary to Walberswick, however there wasn't all that much to look round there either, just a couple of small shops. So we took a slow wander back along the coast line to watch the children crabbing.
Lunch was a little disappointing, but then we were comparing it to The Shed. The setting was nice and pleasant, with a fish tank in the entrance which is home to a GIANT lobster. However the menu simply offered 4 types of platters at various prices; Crab platter for £9.95, lobster platter (minimum 2 persons) for £13.95 (i think), smoked platter £11.95 (again i think) and mixed platter which was around £10.95. The woman said the platters weren't set in stone though and she could adjust things and then adjust the price accordingly if needed. Thats great but you had no clue from the menu you as to how much the individual prices would change to platter price, whereas at The Shed you have a menu with extras and the prices of them.
Although i like lobster, i prefer crab and mum said the same, so we went for a crab platter for 2, substituting the whelks for some more mussels. When it arrived the crab was dressed so no fun of pulling it apart like at the shed, and there just didn't seem as much as you would have got at The Shed. On the platter was a dressed crab, about 10 shell on prawns each, a crevette each, a green lip mussel each, a small pile of cockles, a small pile of prawns and a small pile of mussels.
We finshed the lot comfortably but without that overstuffed feeling we often get at The Shed. It was nice but i still rate The Shed higher, especially on value for money.
We then walked back into town, via the beach so mum could have a paddle, to a pub for a cup of tea, as by that time it was half 4 and the tea rooms were closing. D then called and said he and his mates were finished at their exhibition so they all came down to the pub to join us for a drink before we started the drive home, stopping off at the Crown in Woodbridge for dinner.
There's something so relaxing about the seaside and a day out by the sea always seems to go well whatever the weather.