Taking local produce seriously with a large pinch of fun - Ian our Fish Merchant

Our Food Team - Introducing Ian our Fish Merchant

Introducing Ian our Fish Merchant

Fish, and particularly oily fish, are a very important part of our diet as they are rich in Omega 3, an essential fatty acid that helps protect our brains and hearts. Omega 3 must be ingested, we cannot produce it ourselves. Both Salmon and Herring are high in Omega 3.

In our traditional, all year round, breakfasts we offer both in terms of Smoked Herring (Kippers) and Smoked Salmon. Not only are they delicious, they are good for you.

Smoked Herring (Kippers) and Smoked Salmon

Our supplier is Ian, our Fish Merchant. Ian is a well-established Fishmonger based in the Indoor Market in historic Durham City. This market was founded originally in the Saxon and Norman times but more recently in its current form from 1851. Ian's business was Awarded Durham Small Retailer of the Year 2007 and Overall Retailer of the Year 2007, and has been a part of the Market for over 25 years, Ian is proud to provide the finest fresh fish and seafood all year round with over 70 locally-sourced items daily, many straight from Hartlepool Fish Quay.

Ian also sources from other areas and we use the most famous regional smoked fish from the village of Craster in Northumberland.

Craster kipper (sometimes called by aficionados as simply "the Craster")

Like the 'Newmarket sausage', the 'Stornoway black pudding' or the 'Melton Morbray Pork Pie', the Craster kipper (sometimes called by aficionados as simply "the Craster") is a British food named after, and strongly associated with, its place of origin. Although the herrings used for Craster kippers may not now be strictly local, as small quay fishing has declined the defining characteristic of the Craster kipper is that the smoking process takes place in a smokehouse located in or around the village of Craster.

Although a long-standing tradition in Craster, commercial kipper production is currently only continued there by L. Robson & Sons, using their 100-year-old smokehouses.

The preparation process begins with selected raw North Sea herrings, known locally as "silver darlings". These are split, gutted and washed soaked in brine, and then taken to the smokehouse where they are cured over smouldering oak and white wood shavings for sixteen hours. The famous smokehouse is unmistakable - a stone building often with white plumes pouring out of the wooden vents in the roof.

In appearance a Craster kipper is still recognizably a fish; the head is preserved and the natural colours of the skin are tanned golden by the oak smoke. The flesh has a distinctive reddish-brown colour.

It has been said that comparing the Craster kipper with a common commercial processed kipper, is like "comparing a fillet steak with a cheap burger", and that "on the tongue, the Craster kipper is as delicate, as sophisticated, as the finest smoked salmon in the world and costs but a fraction of the price. Craster kippers have been described as "the best", whether they are or not, we are delighted to have this rich heritage in our region and present them to our guests from various British, Continental and International visitors.

Both are served with our own free range eggs, another tasty and healthier option for our guests.

Be Happy and Healthy!

Keith & Pauline

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