It’s no secret that from Padstow to Port Isaac, you can eat your way through some amazing food. This coastal cluster of settlements is an empire for food in Cornwall, having become home to some of the UK’s best known celebrity chefs in the process. Whilst this is a testament to the great food Cornwall has to offer and in many ways, has put Cornwall on the map as a foodie destination, it does mean that finding those slightly lesser known delights requires a bit of digging.
Set right on the front of the harbour, Cherry Trees is small and unassuming. The sheer size of their homemade cakes dominate the front counter with flavours such as caramel popcorn cake to giant summer berry roulades. Incredibly affordable and delicious, the Holy Smoke – creamed haddock with asparagus and a poached egg on delicious walnut bread was a special favourite whilst the fluffy pancakes receive rave reviews every time for presentation and freshness.
Of course, Padstow has plenty more gems to offer. Rest a While Tea Garden is praised for their wholesome crab sandwiches and if you’re looking for something a little more ‘fine-dining’ then The Basement, a beautiful and contemporary restaurant set down the cobbled streets of central Padstow, has a cracking mixed fish platter for two that offers half Padstow lobsters, Rock Oysters, Padstow crab and razor clams.
In Port Isaac you’ll find The Mote, a gastro pub and restaurant in the heart of the village right by the beach and directly opposite Nathan Outlaws Restaurant. Whilst the outside is traditional and full of listed heritage, the inside is inviting and contemporary. The Mote’s motto is fresh, local and flavoursome. And rightly so, the food speaks for itself, arriving fresh off the boat less than two hundred yards away. Even the lobsters come in live. Seafood takes a prominent stage in Port Isaac, so getting it right is a tall order. Their whole crab is a beautiful presented and a fun, tactile dish to keep you occupied for a good hour!
And finally Chapel Café, a small café mixed with a pottery won an award in 2017 for the best fish finger sandwich in the country. Chapel Café is located just around the corner on Roscarrock Hill (or just down from ‘Doc Martin’s’ House’). It shares its establishment with the Port Isaac pottery, so expect to dine overlooking a whole range of crockery, vases and lamp stands. At the till, a small trophy of a fish finger sandwich proudly overlooks the tables.
A fish finger sandwich is a one of those comfort foods that you have on a Sunday afternoon (or any afternoon) and it never fails to disappoint. The winning sandwich in question, created by Chapel Café’s head chef Chris Lanyon, consisted of thick, succulent hake rolled in panko breadcrumbs with homemade chunky tartare sauce in warm granary bread (white was available). A single bite will let you know exactly why it won the country’s best.