Located around twenty minutes away from The Scarlet is the gorgeous town of Padstow….
The charming fishing port looks fairly typical but it is actually one of Cornwall’s top foodie destinations containing four of celebrity chef Rick Stein’s restaurants and cafes and Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No. 6. On this chilly day in March, Padstow was very quiet and chilled out but it’s a popular destination for fishing, surfing and it’s the start of the famous Camel Trail, a scenic cycling route across the Cornish country side.
We’d headed to Padstow for lunch at The Seafood Restaurant, Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant which has been an institution in the town since 1975.
We immediately loved the interior of the restaurant which was light, bright and airy with a seafood bar in the middle where chefs prepare oysters, shellfish and sashimi. Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fish lover, meaning it was very hard to chose what to have from the menu. There was a range of classic dishes, British favourites as well as a few Asian inspired options and curries. Spying the hot shellfish platter I knew that this would be great option to try everything…
With mussels, winkles, clam, cockles, crab, scallops, langoustine, whelks, oyster and razor clams (oh my!) in fragrant parsley, chilli, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.
We went ahead and ordered one each and Mr S soon went to work with his tools, foraging for crab meat, cracking claws and downing oysters.
As the angry face of the crab stared on at me!
I also ordered salmon and tuna tartare with chopped gherkin, capers and shallots. It was served with gazpachuelo, a sort of frothy mayonnaise with Amontillado wine. I’ve never had a tartare with mayonnaise before and I loved the creamy texture and the rich flavours. I have to say ordering a shellfish platter each was an error, we’d assumed it was small and while there wasn’t a huge amount of the fish the rich creams and oils made the dishes quite satiating so I was already feeling full after the starters.
Fortunately my main course was light, a simply grilled and perfectly prepared lobster with salad. The Seafood Restaurant certainly deserves its reputation for serving some of the freshest fish and shellfish all prepared by Head Chef Stephen Delourme and his team. The restaurant was set up as small harbour-side bistro by Rick Stein and his wife Jill, back in 1975 and since then Rick has grown into a household name with over twenty cookery books and presenting over thirty TV programmes. He’s well-known for his love of seafood and the dominant presence of his four restaurants in the town means it has been nicknamed ‘Padstein’ and is a huge portion of the economy in Padstow. Rick also has several other restaurants throughout Cornwall, as well as B & B’s, shops and a cookery school.
And we felt we couldn’t visit the British seaside without a portion of fish and chips; local cod deep-fried in beef dripping with thick cut chips and mushy peas. Rick Stein’s restaurants also have a dedication to sustainability, all produce is locally sourced, they work with local businesses and are dedicated to recycling and saving energy. Supporting local causes and charities too, they are definitely all round good eggs. We turned down the dessert menu as I had another idea in mind…
There’s something about being at the seaside that evokes strong childhood memories and I couldn’t leave without getting an ice cream, which obviously had to be one scoop of vanilla and one of mint choc chip in a cone!
Mr S and I loved The Seafood Restaurant, nestled in the small town of Padstow, not only is the food wonderful but the service is friendly and there’s a real sense of family and community at Rick Stein’s restaurant something that we felt throughout our stay in Cornwall.
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The Seafood Restaurant