We've not had a huge amount of time this summer to indulge in anything remotely resembling a holiday; when the rest of the country stops for summer anyone involved in the wedding industry kicks into overdrive. However, there's always the chance of a friend will get married and we will be invited which means a day off for me.
So when our fabulous friends invited us to their wedding in Cornwall, I took the opportunity to book a weekend out of the diary. Penzance and back in a day really wasn't an option, and we wanted to celebrate with S&G without worrying about getting back on the road. We decided that we'd make a 'thing-of-it' and stop-off on the way back home for lunch on Sunday.
Armed with The Trenchermans guide for the South West, a shortlist of restaurants were chosen, then rejected on the 'it being a Sunday' basis... Boo! It's a given that being in Cornwall there has to be seafood involved, and well, there was really no option, it had to be a visit to the new King of Seafood, Mr Nathan Outlaw. Alas, it being a Sunday, 2 Star Restaurant Nathan Outlaw was closed, however Outlaw's, the à la carte restaurant, was open for lunch service and in we were booked.
So then, Nathan Outlaw is known for having some of *the* best seafood on offer in Cornwall (tentative claim to fame - I sold the kitchen units from the shop to Tim Alsop, Nathan's fish buyer). I absolutely adore fish, simple! I'd eat fish everyday if possible, I definitely prefer it to meat. Ian on the other hand isn't so much of a fan, smoked salmon, fish fingers and tuna are about as far as he goes. So it was with some trepidation that I made our reservation....
We arrived on one of the hottest days of the summer and the lawns of St Enodoc were looking particularly parched; but once you get to the top of the steps leading up to reception, and turn to admire the beautiful view of the Camel Estuary, brown lawns are long forgotten.
As it was so hot we toyed with the idea of sitting inside with the air conditioning; however our Host suggested we try outside on the terrace, and if it was too hot we could move back, not a problem at all. I'm pleased to say we stayed outside, there was a lovely Cornish breeze and those views are just stunning!
The terrace was not particularly busy, but then we'd booked an early lunch time, with having to travel back home. Over the course of the afternoon, it did fill up, but the service was always impeccable.
The menu looked amazing, and I couldn't make up my mind (as usual), so we decided to go for the set 'Champagne Celebration' lunch menu (a glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne and 3 courses for £45) to celebrate their success at the South West Tourism Excellence Awards 2013.
Whilst we took in the views of the estuary and awaited the arrival of our first course, we were treated to hake and cod fish balls, with a herby mayonnaise. They were delectable; a golden crumb and crunch, delicate seasoning, not oily, and suitably matched by the mayonnaise. I'd quite happily of eaten them as a main course.
Our first course of fresh Cornish crab with peas and confit fennel, is
probably definitely the most amazing crab I've ever tasted. Words fail me when I try to describe it, but I can taste it just thinking about it. It was perfectly seasoned and the meat was beautiful, the peas and confit fennel added to the dish, but didn't steal the limelight away from the star!
Oh, I meant to mention the bread, it really deserves its own spotlight, although I didn't take a photo of it. Our Host replenished the bread twice, and even offered a third time (we decided it might seem too rude/ greedy if we accepted). But it was fantastic, and I'm a sucker for fantastic bread. We were treated to a Doombar bread and Cornish flatbread with Davidstow cheddar and rosemary, with a Cornish sea salt butter.... Oh my!!
The main course was Brill with grilled courgettes & shellfish sauce (this was the course, I wasn't really sure if Ian would like, but he did!). I really enjoyed this. If I'm honest, it was second to the crab, but as a lunch time main it was spot-on. The brill was cooked until it just flaked, and wasn't overly 'fishy' for the fussy one. Converted!
Although the restaurant and terrace were now pretty full, we were asked if we'd like to have a break between our main course and dessert, which was nice; it meant we could savour our LP admiring the view in the beautiful summer sun. Lapping up the peace and tranquility of Rock, knowing that Padstow on the opposite side of the estuary was bustling with tourists.
Dessert was something I'd been looking forward to since I'd read the restaurant menu , Cornish clotted cream ice cream sandwich & strawberries. Ice cream - check, strawberries - check, clotted cream - check. Heaven, yes! It was just the ideal dessert to finish off a fabulous lunch on a summer's day. I'd quite happily eat jut the ice cream on its own... luscious!
We finished off with coffee and petit-fours. Alas, the petit-fours included a chocolate peanut fudge and the vanilla shortcake had been resting against them *sad face*. Ian however was quite happy to eat mine for me!
As a taster of what Nathan Outlaw and his team can create, this was the perfect introduction for a non-fish eater like Ian, and the dangling carrot for Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, for a fish-lover like me. In fact Ian enjoyed it so much that when we're back in Cornwall to visit friends, we shall definitely be making a reservation for the restaurant.
Outlaw's in general receives fabulous reviews, it's hard to fault, and those that do find fault typically mention the cost. However, I think for the food, service, views, setting and experience we had, £45 per person, plus discretionary 10% gratuity, struck a perfect balance.
I look forward to returning as soon as we can....