One of my favourite places (apart from the North, of course) is Cornwall.
For me, it’s a part of the country that offers escapism – a chance to reset and forget the monotony of the day-to-day stresses.
A Cornish Escape
An opportunity for such an escape presented itself in April and I enjoyed a fabulous few days with family down in St Agnes on the North coast.
Coastal walks, the reading of books and consuming of one or two beverages all happened. But I’d like to linger on another pastime if I may…the devouring of fresh, tasty seafood.
A Seaside Setting
We were well placed for such an activity and one evening we took a little trip to the beautiful harbour village of Porthleven to be seduced by the cooking of Rick Stein’s team.
We dined early so pretty much had the place to ourselves for the first half hour, giving us a chance to dribble over not just the menu but the uber-stylish decor and view outside. Dusk was falling and the pretty coloured string lights framed the harbour, with their reflections shimmering on the water.
Fruits of the Sea
We selected a wine to enhance the impressive seafood that we were anticipating, and we weren’t disappointed. I chose fish cakes to start, which might sound like an average kind of choice but believe me, these were far from it.
The texture of the breadcrumbs and flavour of the fish were good enough alone, but what made the dish excel was the refreshing and intense flavour of the salsa verde dressing. I was, however, just a tad jealous of another starter on the table – the prawn and crayfish cocktail with avocado.
Onto the mains and the men chose good old fish and chips but I wanted something a little different so opted for ray with black butter, which came swimming in a red wine sauce and sprinkled with capers. Ray may require a bit more work in extracting the delicious flesh from in between the bones, but that just makes the prize all the more worthwhile.
Seafood Round Two
So Stein’s was a seafood success and a hard act to follow, to be fair. The Driftwood Spars in St Agnes holds special memories for us as we got married there, a year ago now. They’ve had a change of Chef since the stunning wedding breakfast that we enjoyed, so we weren’t quite sure what to expect. We may have picked a bad evening in terms of service, as our drinks took an age to arrive – in fact our starters had arrived before they did – but it paid off, quite literally, as they gave us the bottle of fizz we’d ordered for free. Every cloud.
Share the Wealth
In keeping with the current collaborative trend, we went for a seafood sharing platter to start and there was more than enough for the 4 of us. Salt and pepper squid and crab claws covered one of the boards, whilst I gave most of my attention to the pot of mussels swimming in white wine sauce.
The Main Act
Onto the mains and two of us continued the seafood theme, my choice being fillet of hake with saffron mash and pea shoots. The skin on the fish was deliciously crispy and the vegetables added a subtle sweetness to the dish.
The blokes opted (somewhat typically) for steak, but I think they missed out. Being this close to the coast, the seafood was incredibly fresh and tasty. It really added to our Cornish experience and I can’t wait for my next visit so that I can indulge again.