Restaurant Review – Rick Stein’s, Porthleven

February 19, 2016 by becca.lazar No Comments

Interior

It’s the tail end of Hurricane Imogen when we venture down to Porthleven to celebrate a family wedding anniversary. And what’s a better way to celebrate such an occasion than heading down Rick Stein Porthleven? The latest addition to his Cornish Empire.

 

As we drive over the brow of the hill, undulating mountains of water blow in from the – a key reminder of the power of the ocean. Porthleven is the perfect place to sit and watch the elements battle it out. Maybe that’s why it features so heavily in the national newspapers at this time of year.

 
Rick Stein’s is set in the old white walled China Clay Building on the edge of the harbour and it’s a fantastic spot for a restaurant. As we approach, the outside is bathed in a bright blue light which looks a little out of place with the old stone harbour and more in keeping with an 80s cocktail bar. Entering the building, the first thing you see is the open kitchen, great if you’re the sort that likes to take a sneak peek at your food being prepared.

 
Having hung our coats up we enter the bar area, which is decked out with wooden barrels, quirky vintage light fittings and a smidgen more blue lighting. There’s also a painting of a naked surfer on the wall. It’s more than a little out of place.

 
The menu looks great. We know what to expect from Rick Stein by now: a mixture of British and Spanish dishes with the occasional safely Asian dish thrown in.

Sardines with an oat crumb

 

To start with there are Mounts Bay grilled sardines with an oat crumb which have a salty succulence paired with a mellowing oat crumb. I go for the classic fish soup with lashings of parmesan and a generous helping of crisp croutons. But the winner in the first course stakes goes to the fried calamari. Unlike the battered and bread crumbed varieties that are all the rage, these are served naked and on a bed of salad that’s very South East Asian in flavour: sweet, spicy and nutty all at the same time.

Fish and Chips

 

Into the main course, I opt for the boring; fish and chips. I know, I know, but there’s just something about a batter that’s truly crisp, the cod steaming away inside, with beef dripping chips and generous helpings of mushy peas and homemade tartar sauce. Sometimes it’s nice to keep it simple. Two of us have the Indonesian seafood curry. One telling us it’s quite spicy, the other that it’s a tad mild. It must be just right then. We also have the Gnocchi con Granseola, a Venetian dish pairing the gnocchi with spider crab and an Eastern Europe spiced sauce. I try and sample everything from everyone’s plate, all in the name of research, but not everyone is willing to part with their food.

Chocolate pavé

 

The dessert menu calls shortly after and there’s are some interesting selections to make. I go for a popcorn panna cotta with caramel shards. It’s texture is creamy, but even without the crunchy texture you associate with popcorn, the buttery flavour shines through. We also opt for the chocolate pavé, salted caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce. It’s a rich, gooey treat that goes down well with everyone.

 

As we leave, we’re once again bathed in the techno glow of the blue lighting. A reminder or the odd décor. But don’t let that put you off. The food has that unmistakable Stein’s quality to it – from the fish and chips through to the gnocchi – and gets the Cornish Holiday Cottages seal of approval.

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