Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall

During our family stay in Padstow, Cornwall recently, the women of the group enjoyed a rare treat, a meal out unaccompanied by the men or our children, a treat we had to book back in January to secure the table, at Rick Stein's revered Seafood Restaurant.

On entering the restaurant we were impressed by the modern decor and welcoming staff on the front desk - the restaurant has a hotel attached too, so the initial service was slick.

We were seated at a table in the main part of the restaurant which is circular with the bar in the centre of the space as a key focal point.

It was Friday evening and the place was buzzing with fellow diners of all types of groups, from family and friends like ours to couples. The atmosphere was good, lively but not overly noisy.

We were brought over an amuse bouche and offered the wine menu which was vast. We asked for some help from the waiter in selecting a bottle that would appeal to the table, with all our varying palates, and he was a little unhelpful and dismissive if truth be told. He did then fetch the sommelier who was able to help, but it wasn't a great start to our meal on a service level.

Claire, my sister-in-law and I both opted to start with the shellfish soup, which was rich, silky, thick and decadent and absolutely packed full of flavour, just delicious. It came with a selection of little toasted croutons, a thick and garlicy aioli and a taramasalata; absolutely gorgeous as a starter and we devoured every mouthful.

Shellfish soup at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

Tina (Mum-in-law) and Charlotte (sister-in-law) both had the scallops which were served with a crisp, fried Serrano ham and a green salad with just a drizzle of sherry vinegar dressing over the scallops. The dish was enjoyed by both, and the classic combination of sweet, succulent scallops mixed with a salty ham looked very pretty on the plate too.

Scallops and Serrano ham at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

For mains, I chose the braised brill which came with a generous shaving of Wiltshire black truffles in an emulsion of mushrooms, slivers of potato and truffle oil. It was genuinely like poetry on a plate, it just worked so beautifully together and I was sad when the dish came to an end. Delicious.

Braised brill with Wiltshire Black Truffle at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

Tina chose the locally caught ray fillet, which was pan-fried and served ‘au poivre’ or with a homemade creamy bĂ©arnaise sauce, simple but stunning 

Ray with Bearnaise at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

Claire and Charlotte opted for the pan-fried filled of stone bass which came with the self-styled ‘symphony of alliums’, or with some Cornish white crab meat, char-grilled spring onions, caramelised leek puree, pickled baby onions and a chive oil. The dish looked uber artistic when it came out and the ladies really enjoyed it.

Stone Bass at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant 

We enjoyed some minted Cornish new potatoes and glazed baby carrots from a local farm that were beautifully hued and flavoured and really complemented our meals.

Dessert was impressive too – I couldn’t resist the sound of the chocolate fondant, which was perfectly gooey on the inside with a delicious crumbly texture on the outside and a rich, dense chocolate flavour, but was elevated hugely by the vanilla milk sauce, salted caramel that was literally dreamy and the crunchy caramelised peanuts. Sensational.

Chocolate fondant at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

Charlotte opted for the apple mousse with salted caramel ice cream and crumble and it came and was like a jelly sphere surrounding the apple mousse, with the hint of crumble all around – a bit of a deconstructed crumble, but executed cleverly and very prettily on the plate. Another great dish.

Apple Mousse Crumble at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant

In terms of food, we found the Rick Stein Seafood Restaurant utterly faultless, every dish delivered on style and flavour and we left satisfied. The service was less attentive than we’d have liked, which was a little disappointing, but not enough that we wouldn’t return. In fact I’d return in a heartbeat for the brill and truffles. The meal for the four of us was around £260.00 (£65.00 a head) with a bottle of wine, so wasn’t extortionate, but fair in relation to the quality of the food.

Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant has been up and running since 1975 and is the jewel in Rick Stein’s crown of many Padstow establishments, with good reason. They pride themselves on using great, locally sourced, excellent quality fish and seafood and they certainly know how to deliver – hat’s off to Stephanie Delourme, the head chef and his team. If you’re visiting Padstow, or even Cornwall it’s 100% worth a visit – just make sure you book in advance.

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