Saturday, October 2, 2010

Padstow, Cornwall

One of the biggest draw cards of our trip to Cornwall was visiting Padstow - home of Rick Stein. In fact, apparently many of the locals refer to the tiny Cornish seaside town as Pad-stein, there are so many dining options owned by the great seafood chef.

We looked at all of the options before we left Australia, but because of my rather extensive seafood allergy, we couldn't justify the expense of one of the more high end establishments. So we opted for lunch at the fish and chip take-away. No bookings required!

Our trip to Padstow, even though it's a mere 10 minute drive away from our little house in Mawgan Porth began with a drive in the country. I really wanted to see Port Isaac (home of ABC drama Doc Martin) and Tintagel. After a busy morning climbing hills and driving, we made our way to Padstow. A glorious day, it proved to be our downfall.

Heading past the lunch hour, we decided to stop at the take-away first for lunch then explore the town. After a rather fraught half an hour searching for a parking space (as rare as hens teeth on a sunny day in the little town), stalking people as they walked through the parking lot, we finally made it to the harbourside store. To be greeted by a crowd of people. Now this was a Tuesday outside of the peak Summer holiday season. Admittedly it was a sunny day but you can only imagine what this place must be like on a weekend in the height of summer. You wouldn't be able to move for people. Crazy popular.

Anyway, we finally made it to the chippy at 2.30 and the queue was 20 poeple deep to get take away. I have never seen anything like it! The good thing is that they are extremely efficient and in what feels like no time at all, we have our fish and chips in our hot little hands!

Despite it being a lovely day, the wind was high and sitting outside wasn't much of an option. We ended up having a picnic in the back of our car - which was a lot of fun and easier than trying to balance the tray on our knees in the wind.

I opted for the cod and chips with tartare and Mr Kitty had the haddock and chips. They were both divine, although I would have to say that the cod was probably a little better, being more juicy, flaky and tender. The star of the meal, however was the tartare. Rich and creamy with a hit of dijon mustard it was a sublime foil for the perfectly cooked fish and the crisp chips. I have scoured the internet and think I have found a great recipe to replicate at home - fingers crossed it turns out the same because it was divine.

After our car picnic, we decided to go for a wander through the streets of Padstow. It was a mob scene but this town is so pretty it's easy to see why people flock here all year round. The proximity to a harbour dotted with pretty little sandy beaches, the gorgeous little houses set into the hill, the cobbled streets... It's a picture perfect fairytale village.

Our first stop after walking of some of those divine chips was Stein's Patisserie to procure some dessert for Mr Kitty - we bought him an escargot (his pastry of choose), a bag of clotted cream and raspberry chocolates for my sister as well as some fabulous clotted cream for the top of scones.

After another wander around the harbour, we decided to look for some Cornish Pasties for our dinner - we reasoned we would get hungry eventually after our large lunch. We found some amazing ones at the award winning Chough Bakery - Mr Kitty opted for the steak and I chose the lamb, leek and mint. I also selected a freshly baked scone to go with my clotted cream.

Both Cornish pasties were delicious - the lamb, leek and mint was a gorgeous combination with the lamb remaining tender and succulent. The steak was also good but it did lack a bit of seasoning. Nevertheless they were both appreciated as a (much later) dinner by Mr Kitty and I that evening.

Padstow is a wonderful seaside village that is perfect for a visit on a Summer's day, but I have this one piece of advice: if you do want to visit, come early to bag your parking spot and be prepared to queue at the chip shop!



Not Quite Nigella said...

What a pretty little town and hehe at Pad Stein! I would have definitely ordered the fish and chips there! :P Will you post the tartare sauce if it works out? :)

Miss Kitty-Cat said...

The Fish and Chips were definitely worth the wait, and given it's so very popular they have service down to a fine art. Despite the crowds we were actually served very quickly. The recipe I found is here: Not sure when I'll be making it but it was absolutely delicious!

Kate B said...

Hi Miss KC we spent 4 days in Padstow recently and loved it too bits. My husband thought it was the Noosa of Cornwall (except for the lack of surf!). We explored around the area and ended up across the other side of the bay at Rock. It was a really magical place and Prime Minster David Cameron and his wife were holidaying down the road.
All up a lovely part of the world and dinner at Rick Stein's was all we hoped for.
Kate Bx