What a location! What a hidden gem! When I first heard of a fish and chip restaurant/pub which is in a cave I felt more than a little excited. I know of occupied caves in Menorca but apart from those caves Marsden Grotto are the only other habited caves in Europe. How quirky and a delight to list on Qwerky Places.
These impressive caves date back to 1792 when “Jack the Blaster” was known to live there. He worked at the local quarry and “borrowed” dynamite to make the caves bigger for him and his family (hence his name). Subsequent occupants of the cave built on more features including a rather impressive building frontage and it is said that inside the caves they even had a ballroom and 15 bedrooms…
Mr Q and I have visited this unique and quirky location more than once as we have very good friends who live in the area. I was promised a trip there and the trip both excited me and left me feeling that the place could be so much more of a destination venue than it currently is.
There is a rickety lift that takes you down the cliff into the restaurant (there are also steps but I try to ignore the steps – although one time I was cajoled into walking up when there was a large queue for the lift – as you can see I survived but Mr Q had to keep praising me for every step I took and the moaning was akin to the noises I made when I had a baby).
The caves are atmospheric and I truly felt as though I had been transported to an exotic country and I was on my holidays. This is on the north east coast of the UK … and the caves are FABULOUS.
The menu was typically British and we had the choice of eating inside the caves or sitting outside, where there is an impressive little beach and a gorgeous big rock where the waves crash and you know you are at the sea shore. We found our food satisfactory with the service okay.
The outside is in need of a lick of paint but with the cruel sea breeze I think that you would have to constantly paint this venue as it’s so exposed.
For Mr Q and I, we had an interesting conversation about the many things we would want to do to this pub/restaurant. My imagination ran away with me when I heard the history of the caves with smugglers a plenty and even tales of GHOSTS. It is rumoured that the caves are still haunted to this day. Personally I think this adds another perspective. I am not bothered about ghosts … as long as they keep their hands of my battered fish supper!
Overall this venue is worth visiting as it is unique. I wondered if Mr Q was going to become primal after his visit. I joked with him about him wearing animal skins and using a club to bash me over the head so he could drag me away to ravish me. Mr Q never fails to disappoint when he sarcastically said, “No problem, Mrs W … just let my fish supper go down first”.