Could there be a more appropriate use for a corrugated tin shed on Walberswick village green than a wet fish shop called The Sardine Tin? Admittedly it’s rather a smart shed, smart enough to have been home to our own stylish Sarah and her shop Tinkers. When she sold up, and The Rising Sun had a successful season, rumours were rife about who would take over the village landmark.
Paul Biggs and Debbie Stephenson have finally ended months of speculation by converting the shop into shining new outlet providing fresh and smoked fish, shellfish, dressed crabs and ready to eat products from Lowestoft, Cromer and beyond. They make sandwiches to order from the stock including the very delicious hot roast salmon and are happy to try to source anything customers might want.
Paul and Debbie live just outside Lowestoft and are engaged to be married, although they have joked that this new venture has meant putting the wedding on hold for a year or so. Debbie is a qualified chef who owned Cafe Mango in Lowestoft and when she’s not busy catering and training as an Early Years practitioner she is behind the counter with Paul.
Paul comes from a solid fishing family; his grandparents had trawlers out of Lowestoft and his late father spent his whole working life in the fish market there. Although he spent years in the recycling industry he has always been interested in cooking, and seafood is his real passion. Naturally his idol is Rick Stein, and now he’s got his own establishment says he’s living his dream.
The couple has big plans, but for now they are going for a soft launch, three days a week till school half term holidays when they will aim to be open all week. In the first week they were bowled over by the support they received from locals, both buying and just popping in to introduce themselves, and on the first Sunday they had to close early because they had run out of stock.
They’ve asked us to post this message to you all: Debbie and I would like to thank everyone in the community who have been in with supportive comments and feedback. It has been very humbling how welcoming and friendly everyone has been so far. Thank you. It really does mean a lot to us.
You can check them out on Facebook: The Sardine Tin, and of course on the village green!