Eating out Hastings style

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by MichaelJM on August 6, 2013

Well it was not quite a gourmet meal in a boutique restaurant, but what better way to enjoy fish and chips in a fishing seaside resort than sitting on the seashore eating out of a bag.

My son, a resident of the town, recommended the Lifeboat fish restaurant as frying some of the best fish and chips on the seafront. So whilst my wife and son went in to order our meal I sat outside at one of the half dozen tables reserved for those who preferred to eat with knives and fork in the comfort of a proper chair. It was whilst I was sitting here that I heard a resident "of thirty years" complaining bitterly to one of the members of staff that it "was disgusting" that they were now charging extra for the privilege of sitting outside of the shop. Sure enough there were two boards outside of the shop each displaying the same item but with a different pricing structure. There was about £1 difference on each meal so it’s up to you if you think that the seat and use of the cutlery are worth that additional fee. Our local resident of "30 years" clearly did not!

I’d already decided that I wanted to relive a childhood experience of eating the meal with my fingers, at the side of the sea. Although in fairness in my day we were given the meal wrapped in greaseproof paper and then "double wrapped" with newspaper. Indeed it was this method of wrapping fish and chips that gave a reference to the tabloids of today’s news tomorrow’s chip paper. Nowadays our stringent health and safety regulations have put paid to the option of recycling the newspapers and we were provided with a smart paper carrier bag from which to enjoy our meal.

So complete with what used to be a cheap traditional meal (it no longer is a cheap dinner) we "salt and vinegared our meal and headed across the busy road that runs the length of Hastings towards the beach. Of course there are no long stretches of soft sand at Hastings but plenty of pebbles which in all fairness were surprisingly comfortable as we found a natural shelf on which to park our bodies. We settled down and the meal was divided between the four of us (three adults and a four-year old with a surprisingly healthy appetite). We’d bought 3 fish and two portions of chips as my son assured us that the portions were very generous. He was not wrong and there was plenty to go round.

I ended up with a gigantic fish and the crisp batter enclosed a beautiful flaky fish – juicy and full of flavour. I honestly couldn’t fault it and tucked in with enthusiasm. Having seen the seagulls knock a bag out of the hand of a nearby woman I developed a protective strategy of keeping my food close to my chest and holding it tightly closed whilst eating my food. I seemed to pay off because although the seagull surrounded us they made no attempt to approach us.

Despite the "fresh sea breeze" the meal kept remarkably hot perhaps a testimony to the fryers at The Lifeboat and a confirmation that everything was cooked fresh to order. You won’t see unsold cooked fish piled high in this in the ovens at The Lifeboat, because they don’t start cooking it until an order has been placed. That means that you’ll need to be patience whilst waiting for your order to be processed, but I can assure you that it will be worth the wait. Portions are huge, the fish fresh, succulent and tasty. And in my opinion you can’t beat eating it on the beach.

If you can’t manage it all then there’s no need to find a bin to throw away the left-overs because the resident birds will soon devour any that you discard on the ground. Just make sure that you throw away your litter – there are plenty of waste bins on the promenade so there is no excuse to be a litter lout.
The Lifeboat Restaurant
14 East Parade
Hastings, TN34 3AL
01424 420388

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