Friday, 1 July 2011

Porthminster Beach Cafe

What do you get for decided to take a holiday in Cornwall instead of heading to the South of France? English drizzle. Never mind though. We decided to splash out and eat ourselves silly instead of buying flights and accomodation and boy, did we eat! Cornwall is a mecca of seafood and we really took advantage.
Surfers in the drizzle on Sennen Beach
Our splash out dinner came on our penultimate night and we loved it so much, we considered coming back the following night for our finale (we didn't, but we should've as the final dinner was disappointing). The restaurant has that real seaside vibe to it; a bright and airy whitewashed wood room, with an informal and relaxed vibe. This is the kind of place that is just as lovely during the day as it is at night. We had a prime spot in the window, overlooking the beach as the sun went down and it couldn't have been more idyllic or romantic. We would have loved to have gone back to see St Ives properly during the day as it seemed like a lovely place, but sadly we ran out of time. Next time.
Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives

The view from our table.

The Porthminster has a list of 'tasters' on the menu before the starters so we did try one to share. They were really designed to be amuse bouches so I think we missed the point, by sharing, but we really felt like this was a restaurant that really wanted to be able to give its customers an amuse bouche, but it couldn't factor that into its margins. I don't know how many people go for these tasters but I don't think they're necessary when you have such beautiful starters to choose from anyway.

Taster portion of squid with pea and mint puree
I loved the way they used a beach bucket to keep the wine chilled. Very cute. Our wine was delicious.

I'm not sure who the chef is or where he trained but there seems to be an Asian influence on lots of the dishes. By chance, without realising, I went for two dishes with Asian flavours. The first was an Asian broth with pork and prawn gyozas, noodles, spring onion, chilli and coriander. Delicious rich deeply-flavoured broth with soft gyozas was a total triumph. I've never been able to achieve that incredible rich flavour that Japanese or Thai soups manage.

Light Asian broth with pork & prawn gyozas - absolutely perfect!
Cornish scallops, avocado espuma, tartare of scallop and caviar dressing.

After much deliberating over the menu, next up was John Dory fillets and crab fritters with chilli, coriander & spring onion salad and chilli ponzu dressing (are you spotting the similarities?). Ponzu is one of those mysterious ingredients that has suddenly shot to fame (thanks, I reckon, to Mr Oliver) and some people say you can substitute it for lime. I don't think you can and the ponzu dressing really pulled this dish together. Generally I don't go for crab as I don't love it but I thought the other flavours in the description were enough to make me like this. I wasn't wrong. It was utterly perfect. Light and flaky John Dory fillets, crispy-on-the-outside-soft-on-the-inside crab fritters were beautifully complemented by the Asian flavours and each componant was as good as the next.

John dory fillets and crab fritters with chilli ponzu dressing.

Hake fillet, broad bean gremolata, celeriac puree and a truffle yolk parcel.

The only thing that was slightly disappointing was the dessert. Although beautiful, after such a tasty meal, nothing was going to live up to expectations!

I can't wait to go back.

No comments:

Post a Comment