27 Jul Nathan Outlaw’s – The Mariners Rock
If our side of the river belongs to Rick Stein – the other side is Nathan Outlaw’s. The Stein protege, who describes his early days at Padstow’s Seafood Restaurant as “elbow deep in fish guts”, has gone on to make something of a name for himself in the world of cooked fish. His headlining restaurant, the one specialising in seafood, the one that everyone has been talking about and which earned the chef two Michelin Stars, is the Restaurant Nathan Outlaw at the St Edodoc Hotel. A short drive away is Outlaw’s Fish Kitchen overlooking the harbour in Port Isaac. But the one we visited, and will again, is the more casual restaurant upstairs at The Mariners pub, on the seafront at Rock. A light, spacious dining room and terrace where you’re overdressed in shoes. Eating there is all about dressing down; shorts, Madras checks, hoody tops and deck shoes for that East Hamptons Ralph Lauren look.
We could have liked it for no other reason than for on a clear day you can see the Red House across the water. But that’s not the only reason we can wholeheartedly endorse it. Simply – the food is extremely good. There are fish dishes on the menu; the specials on our day included turbot for four people (£100) or a more modest whole sole for one. But Outlaw has pulled a different trick at what is a Sharp’s pub; the beer is brewed up the road a ways. He has designed a grill room with a raft of delicious cuts of locally sourced and aged beef (from around £20). Our rump steak came with hand cut chips that must have been pre-boiled to give them a crunchy surface, grilled tomatoes, and a jug of béarnaise sauce. The medium rare steak was perfect. As good as anything we’ve had in the US where steak is a religion. The first bite was firm, with a slight chew, but with subsequent bites the meat dissolved into a rich, savory toffee. It was so good in fact we found ourselves eating it slowly so as to extend the pleasure. We’d also ordered the 10oz free range Cornish pork chop, the size of a hand on a spicy chorizo and pea bean stew (£16.50). We started with local Porthilly Oysters (£3 each) – “they only come from over there,” said Kim pointing to the oyster beds – and a hot-smoked salmon pate, a creamy fish dish with the texture of butter served with seaweed and bread. Like the menu the wine list is brief and to the point and heavy on Europeans. It was special occasion and the £36.25 for a 2014 Sancerre may have failed the James Bond test (white wine with red meat a sure sign we’re spies) but that medium bodied nicely oily Loire ignited the oysters and stood its ground against the beef.
Dinner for two around £110 (ish).
The Mariners, Rock, PL27 6LD 01208 863679