Last year Mr S and I fell head over heel in love with Cornwall during our stay at the beautiful Scarlet hotel. Part of the reason for this love affair was the incredible food that we tried during our weekend stay in the county especially the fresh fish. One of our favourite restaurants was The Seafood, the flagship restaurant by celebrity chef, Rick Stein in the small village of Padstow. Well now, I’m pleased to say the famous restauranteur has bought the taste of Cornwall to London, and is serving up some of his most iconic dishes at Rick Stein, Barnes.
They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover but honestly as soon as I arrived at the restaurant I knew I was going to like it. Based at Tideway Yard, the restaurant is housed in a pretty brick building with creeping vines meandering up the facade.
A pretty outdoor terrace is perfect for sunny days.
And the inside is pretty special too with wooden floors, hanging plants, beautiful brick work and large windows.
You can pop yourself up at the bar…
Take a couch…
Or how about the best seat in the house? A comfy sofa with beautiful river side views. And trust me you’ll want to nestle in and stay for a while, this is the kind of place that you go for a long lunch and basically never want to leave.
The interior has actually been lovingly designed by Jill Stein along with son, Ed and daughter-in-law Kate. The building is a piece of history having been here since 1901 and formerly home to a stables, coach house and steam engine shed.
My mum and I had a perfect view of the river and the bad weather on the day (random hail in April?) couldn’t spoil the sight of the Thames.
Rick Stein had actually been a little hesitant to open a restaurant in London but the riverside views inspired him to set up here in the London district, a place with a more village and community feel. The manager told us the most of the other patrons were local, this isn’t a business lunch type place, it’s for families and couples.
With memories of our trip to Cornwall on my mind, I ordered a glass of Camel Valley rose, a sparkling wine actually made in the county. I first tried it when we visited an it’s every bit as good as the French counter part and the perfect pairing with seafood.
Regular readers will know what a big seafood lover I am, so I felt utterly spoilt for choice with a menu dominated by fish. As you can imagine, my sashimi starter was the freshest of the fresh, with salmon, seabass, tuna and scallops on the plate. I was tempted by the hot shellfish platter for starter, having tried the fantastic dish in the Padstow restaurant but I think I would have needed Mr S’s help as the portion size is rather generous.
I loved the textures of my mum’s crispy mackerel dish and the interplay of sweet and spicy with the accompaniments of apple, shallots, carrot, peanuts, Thai basil and bird’s eye chilli.
Rick Stein has designed the menu himself, along with his son and Executive Chef Jack Stein. I love how he features British dishes such as fish and chips alongside more exotic items such as Indonesian curry and Singapore crab. If you’re not such a fish fan there are meat dishes too such as rabbit stew and duck confit and ravioli for vegetarians.
I stuck with simple classic cooking and I loved this dish of plaice with roasted peppers and it was really perfectly cooked. I mean you can’t go wrong with Rick Stein who is basically the king of seafood, having opened his first restaurant in 1975 with his wife Jill and going on to establish an international reputation. He now has 14 restaurants mostly in Cornwall but also Winchester and Marlborough as well as eight places to stay and a cookery school, countless books and TV programmes.
Hake isn’t something I usually order but I liked the sound of the Venetian dish served with a tomato sauce and capers. It turned out to be a great choice as this was our favourite dish of the day with the succulent and slightly meaty flesh of the fish flaking apart beautifully, perfectly crisp skins and sauce with just the right level of saltiness.
The accompanying petits pois à la française and the new potatoes were fantastic but it was the kale that with shallots that really stole the show.
The panna cotta passed the wobble test with flying colours and had the perfect consistency that the cooked cream dessert should have. Perfectly simple but enhanced with a touch of ginger and pistachio.
Trust me get the cheese cake…
Now have I convinced you? Well how about if I tell you it include salted peanut butter? The biscuit base was just right, with a creamy centre and a decadent milk chocolate top, the sexiest sandwich cake that there is!
I’m so happy that Rick Stein has found the perfect London base and I’ll definitely be returning!
PIN FOR LATER:
Rick Stein, Barnes
125 Mortlake High Street
Our lunch was complimentary.