3 Dinners & 1 Lunch Left – Eating Padstow!

Herring Gulls have a rich repertoire of calls, for example, the long-drawn single note of their mew call, the characteristic ha-ha-ha-ha alarm call may change to a plaintive yeow in flight or a yelping keow. When trumpeted more and more shrilly this becomes the gull’s “long call,” the most elaborate, variable, and individualized call in its repertoire. Lets just say at 6 in the morning, its damn noisy and they definitely let you know your by the sea!

It was an overcast Tuesday morning and I was still thinking about the previous day, the drive, wandering historic Padstow marking out my routes for the next few days (in my mind, not literally before you think otherwise)! Todays adventure was in two halves, taking the foot ferry over the estuary to ‘Rock’ for lunch at Paul Ainsworth’s ‘The Mariners’, followed by an evening foray to Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant after a recovery nap! I had done some research as being an Estuary, there are times when the tide is out and so what happened when water was sparse. It turned out that there are a number of locations where the ferry starts and stops which change with the tides, they are marked on the board in the harbour and I had planned my timings the previous day.

So I hopped on the ferry in plenty of time, you can also see the notice board with times and locations, it was only a 10 minute trip and very enjoyable, although I could feel that the temperature was dropping and I was starting to get cold! The walk from the ferry to The Mariners is only a few minutes. I was early so sat opposite on the wall and started to look at the menu again on my iPhone and try and decide what to eat, also a conundrum in my case, it takes me ages.

I felt I had the best view in the house, did they know I was coming, a table for me right in front of the big window overlooking the estuary and with Padstow in the distance, delightful indeed. The Mariners menus are comprehensive with small plates for grazing, large plates for indulging, sides, grills, salads, wine, cocktails etc. Jade from the previous night had said go for the Fried buttermilk chicken, garam masala, chipotle mayonnaise to start, so I did. And Boy, was I glad I took her recommendation.

I wanted to capture ‘the heart’ of this dish in the photo so i blended three, is was so damn good. The presentation on the plate just sang ‘eat me’, the texture and flavour balance was off the planet, sheer chicken indulgence matched with wine of course, I was doing the wine flight thing again like I did the night before, so first was 2019 Pinot Grigio, Ca’ di Alte, Veneto a lovely white from Venice which matched nicely. It was a mildly spicy dish with the odd kick of Jalapeño, I gazed out towards the estuary dreaming and noticed more sand and less water, the tide was on the ebb.

I was challenged with the main course, due to menu options as there were at least four dishes I wanted to try, but in the end the winner was ‘The Dogs Pollock’, crisp pollock hot dog, pickled cucumber,
triple mustard, dill & Parmesan with salty skinny fries, it sounded cheeky and fun, and not something you were likely to see anywhere else (must google it to see, nope didn’t find anywhere else)!

To match I picked a 2020 Cachapoal Valley Chardonnay, Sanama Reserva from the Andes in Chile. Doing a quick search I found the following information, “The Sanama wines come from the Santa Amalia vineyards, located on the generous alluvial soils of the Cachapoal Andes Valley. They are protected from the moderating influence of the Pacific Ocean by the coastal mountains, but the influence of the Andes ensures warm days and cool nights. This provides ideal ripening conditions for the grapes, resulting in ripe tannins and attractive perfumes.” should be good then! This was another belting plate of food, it looked amazing and tasted equally as good, the textures, the flavours, warmth from the mustard and the saltiness and rich cheese flavour from the parmesan really complimenting every mouthful.

The childhood charm of Steamed strawberry jam & brown butter pudding was the finish post for this excursion over the estuary, matched with a delightful 2016 Sauternes, Château Delmond, Bordeaux. It was a simple but very tasty dessert but after the banging starter and belting main I needed something to bring me back down to planet earth and it did the job admirably.

During my time at lunch the delightful Chloe and customer focussed Fabio had been looking after my usually demanding requirements, different wine with each course, with impeccably timed delivery, space between each dish to savour the tastes and textures and take in the glorious dreamy view and before I knew it, the next indulgent adventure was over, but delightful and memorable it will certainly be…..

During my epic lunch the ebbing tide had flowed further out to the depths of the sea and so the landing point for the ferry was a 1/2 mile across the sand with a lovely view towards the channel, our landing point on the Padstow side could have been a smugglers cove in its ancient past, hiding contraband from the revenue men. There is a fascinating insight into Cornwall and smuggling here

So in summary. The Mariners is brilliant, Head Chef – Joe Rozier and his brigade are knocking out impressive, standout and just damn tasty food, front of house (Fabio and Chloe in my case), are doing a great job looking after the customers and here we have another place that I want to return to with the family.

……………………………………………….Until next time……………………………….L8ers…………………………

(Next post is Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant)

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