I was lucky enough to grow up right next to Cornwall and the paradise European-style beaches nestled in each cove. Still, when I was younger I never made the most of it. Besides the annual camping trip with my bestie and her family. As it is so close to my family home, Ben and I have vowed to explore more of the most southerly tip of the UK. Towards the end of last year (I know, this post is extremely belated!) Ben, Pepi and I were invited to spend a night at Rick Stein’s Hotel and Seafood Restaurant in Padstow. With it’s reputation proceeding it. We were quick to accept the very kind invitation. Not long after, we’d packed our bags and hopped in the car for the short roadtrip.
Driving into the town, it was incredibly busy with so many tourists flooding the streets clutching fish and chips. We found a spot in the hotel’s private car park and walked down to check in. Our room was super bright and airy with views over the rooftops to the harbour beyond. A welcome platter was there for us to nibble, on while we explored our room. A cosy seaside retreat complete with four poster bed, seating area and details taken straight from the harbour such as the fossil lamp and coral cushions.
Being completely honest, the bathroom wasn’t quite as lovely, but served its purpose.
Keen to explore Padstow a little more, we left the room, with Pepi leading the pack. It was a bit of a grey day, but that didn’t stop the children lining the water with their crabbing lines. Parents topped them up with ice cream and enthusiastic encouragement and we made our way past and up onto the headland to really stretch our legs.
I’ve done many things in wedges, but navigating slippery rocks to a beach may be a literal step too far for me. Even so, we made it down and as soon as we did it, the heavens opened and us scrambling back up the cliff and over to the shelter of the town.
All three of us were soaked by the time we made it back. Pepi’s face saying there was much to be desired of our stroll around town. Eventually, she won and we headed back to our hotel to change and shower before supper.
With Pepi fed and curled up in her bed, and us looking slightly more presentable than we previously did, we went to find out table for dinner that the hotel had very kindly organised for us. The restaurant at Rick Steins is the main focal point to the hotel. People come from all over the country to dine at the famous seafood restaurant, so it’s worth booking in advance to ensure you’re not disappointed.
Toasting the meal with a bottle of crisp Château Beuduc Rosé from our lovely corner table, (they obviously knew my love of people watching) we settled down to study the menu and choose our starters. Sadly this was one of the occasions where Ben’s seafood allergy really let him down. So I made the most of it for both of us. I happily gobbled down my fish Arancini, while Ben enjoyed his tempura vegetables that the Chef had very kindly specially made for him.
For starter, I lead with my favourite, Scallops. Three fat Grilled Scallops served in their shells with hazelnut and coriander buttery sauce for me. While Ben had a rich Ravioli of Caramelised Onion and Fennel Seeds. With porcini and king oyster mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and hazelnuts.
Ben went for a classic for mains – 30 Day Aged Cornish Côte de Boeuf. Served with sautéed potatoes and a salad of cos lettuce, shallots, cream with cabernet sauvignon vinegar and béarnaise sauce. He happily declared, as he practically licked the plate, that it was the best steak he’d ever eaten. Not bad for a seafood restaurant!
I chose the ‘daily special’ Grilled Turbot with boiled butttery potatoes and courgette. The fish was cooked to perfection. But absolutely huge. With Ben not able to help me, I was proud of myself for finishing it all!
Of course, it’s a well known fact that humans actually have a separate stomach for pudding – ehem. So we chose two to share. A melting chocolate pudding and a beautifully presented vanilla Panna cotta.
With dinner finished, but not quite ready to finish our evening, we ordered a night cap each. Although in hindsight, an Espresso Martini isn’t the best tipple to send you to sleep… It was delicious though!
Pepi joined us for breakfast the next morning in the conservatory. With a buffet selection and steaming cups of tea and coffee to wash it down.
After breakfast, we went for an early morning stroll through Padstow and it was such a treat to have it all to ourselves.
The smell of fresh bread wafted across to us on the sea breeze and the sound of gulls calling, mingled with the thud of nets being piled into the bottom of boats to be taken out for the day. We wandered through the empty streets admiring the pastel colours, all the stripes and seaside quirks.
With Pepi’s pictures for the ‘gram taken, we went back to the hotel to watch the weather come in from one of the balconies.
When the rain arrived and showed no signs of letting up again, we said our thank you’s. Then made a swift exit back to devon in the car.
There’s really nothing like a little British seaside break to renew the soul!