THIS reviewer must admit that this was the first time I had ever visited Krimo’s restaurant – but it certainly won’t be the last.
I had never fancied frequenting the eaterie before due to my perceived lack of vegetarian dishes on the menu.
But I am happy to state the choices are plentiful and taste absolutely fantastic.
For the uninitiated, Krimo’s is one of the best and long-established names on the Hartlepool restaurant scene.
The original restaurant was opened in 1985 by Krimo and Karen Bouabda, with a mere £250 and bucketfuls of enthusiasm at Seaton Carew.
In 2000, the operation moved to the pleasant location by the lock gates on Hartlepool Marina.
Krimo since went on to open Portofino in 1997 and Casa del Mar in 2006, which have both proved popular.
Krimo’s serve a wide variety of Mediterranean dishes including a few tasty Algerian ones.
There have been numerous culinary influences on Algeria and North Africa over the centuries.
These include native Berbers, Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, Spanish Moors, Turks and finally French.
From Andalucia came stews or tagines and the use of fruit and nuts in cooking.
My partner and I visited on a Wednesday evening to catch the early bird menu which is available every Tuesday to Friday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm (last orders). Two courses cost £11.95 and children under 10 £5.95.
We were the first ones in, but the restaurant soon filled up to provide some ambience without it being too busy.
Krimo’s is quite roomy compared to other marina restaurants and tastefully decorated in a Mediterranean style.
The staff were very friendly and attentive.
To start my partner chose the goat’s cheese bruschetta, with tomatoes and pesto which she thought was excellent.
I chose the soup of the day which was leek, potato and onion. Again this tasted very nice.
For the main course my partner chose a dish from the day’s specials board, the Hartlepool-caught haddock in leek sauce.
This was served with perfectly-prepared vegetables and the whole dish was a delight.
I chose the spicy Algerian vegetarian tagine with couscous, named after the heavy clay pot in which it is traditionally served.
This was well presented and once again tasted absolutely heavenly.
This was all washed down with a pint of Strongarm (£2.90) on draught, which is quite novel for a restaurant, and a tonic water (£1.50).
We couldn’t resist choosing something from the dessert menu (£4.95 each).
My partner chose the cardamom creme brulee with lemon biscuits which was light, tasty and perfect.
I chose the rum-soaked plum and almond tart with creme anglaise and thoroughly enjoyed the dish.
We both finished with a pot each of mint tea (£2.20), very popular in Mediterranean parts and tasted refreshingly authentic.
I just can’t figure out how I’ve waited so long to visit Krimo’s – but it won’t be so long until my next visit.
Krimo’s, The Marina, Hartlepool (01429) 266120, www.krimos.co.uk