I’m not proud of it, but too much of my time is spent idly watching cookery shows and when it comes to acknowledging who my favourites are, Rick Stein is certainly up there. This is why on a recent trip to Padstow, Cornwall, I decided to visit one of his many establishments, Stein’s Fish and Chips.
As a Londoner, I don’t often have cause to use the word picturesque, but there is no other word to describe the charming little fishing village of Padstow. On a sunny, clear day in April my family and I got to Stein’s Fish and Chips after about an hour’s drive from our base in Bodmin.
After such a long drive it was good to see ample parking facilities near the restaurant, which is situated against the lovely backdrop of Padstow Harbour with quaint little fishing boats bobbing along. We were a little intimidated to see giant seagulls swooping down to snatch unattended ice cream and food, but I guess we were in their neighborhood now and they could do as they pleased!
“We spotted a cookery school, delicatessen, fishmongers as well as the Fish and Chips restaurant we were queuing up for. Across the road was his flagship establishment, The Seafood Restaurant.”
We arrived at the restaurant around 5pm on a weekday and were gob smacked that there was already an extremely long queue snaking along the outside of the restaurant. There was a shorter takeaway queue, and this moved a lot more rapidly. But we’d driven a long way and were determined to get the full experience.
Knowing we would be visiting Padstow, we asked a couple of locals their thoughts about the town and there were a couple of comments about Stein ‘taking over’ Padstow. It therefore came as no surprise, if a little amusing, to see that the block that housed the restaurant was also the base for a number of other Rick Stein establishments. We spotted a cookery school, delicatessen, fishmongers as well as the Fish and Chips restaurant we were queuing up for. Across the road was his flagship establishment, The Seafood Restaurant.
We waited a whole hour before we were seated. However, I’m pleased to say that the wait was well worth it.
The décor in the restaurant, which seats around 50 people, is simple and nautical, as you’d expect with Stein’s majoring in fish dishes. A good third of the restaurant is dedicated to the takeaway section which was doing a roaring trade throughout the time we were in the restaurant.
Once we were seated, service was quick, efficient and friendly. There was a lively, relaxed atmosphere and most of the other diners were made up of large groups of families.
“I chose the Goan Chicken Curry. It was served in a cute little box and I can report that it was divine.”
My husband and I don’t eat fish and while our kids do eat it, they would opt for a burger [like most kids to be fair] before asking for a fish dish, so you might be wondering what on Earth were we are doing in a restaurant that specializes in Fish and Chips?
Before setting out, we had checked that the menu included a couple of options that we could go for such as their Goan chicken curry, Chicken Wings with Tamarind and Chilli Sambal served with mango [obviously influenced from Stein’s travels] and etc in addition to all of the usual fish options.
I chose the Goan Chicken Curry. It was served in a cute little box and I can report that it was divine. The freshness of the ingredients really came through. It was not too spicy, but rather just a hint of the heat came through in the curry as well as the coconut undertone. This dish was served with a basmati rice. Absolutely delicious.
I also ordered the Salt and Pepper Prawns. This dish was made up of four giant, extremely well-seasoned prawns on a bed of salad. I could have had this as my main, it was that good.
While I was happy with my choices, my boys, who are mini chicken connoisseurs, were a little less enamoured with their chicken wings. They prefer their wings crispy and were not keen on the mango salad coating the chicken.
The chips on the other hand were lovely; crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, just how we like them.
All of the food is served in environmentally friendly paper boxes with the now familiar Rick Stein branding.
We enjoyed our visit to Stein’s Fish and Chips and look forward to visiting again next time we’re in Padstow.
Stein’s Fish and Chips
Image credits: Melan Magazine
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