Today we're going to make our way to Padstow and visit Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant for lunch. We want to fit some walking in as well along the Southwest route for a couple of hours and the plan was to bus part way, walk and then rejoin a bus. However as its Sunday the buses only run every two hours from Newquay to Padstow so we'll have to look at an alternative on the way back. We've packed different shoes and Jackie has some leggings for the walk back in the small rucksack so fingers crossed the dress code is not over formal.
Looking across the bay at Padstow
The bus trip is prolonged to say the least, we could have flown home and half way back again in the time it takes to get to Padstow but eventually we arrive one and a half hours after leaving Newquay. Padstow is a small village made up of a lot of touristy shops, some pubs and tea shops and the harbour. The landscape here is very flat compared to the area around Newquay so its much less dramatic views. Across the estuary is the village of Rock which you can reach by ferry and which has the main beaches.
Inside Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant
After a wander around we go to the Seafood Restaurant and are seated in the main room. Jackie has Char- grilled Whole Dover Sole with Sea Salt and Lime (The sole is seasoned with sea salt and cooked un- skinned on a grill. It's served with a light butter and lime sauce.) This is the best fish dish ever Jackie says, the fish is full of flavour and the sauce is just zingy enough to cut through the quite rich tasting Dover Sole.
I have a starter of Salt and Pepper Squid Tempura with Coriander, Chili, Watercress and Beansprouts. This is absolutely divine, I had no idea beansprouts could taste so fresh. Forget the horrible greasy things served up in a Chinese restaurant or stuffed into a bag of pre packed salad, these are alive with freshness. Everything works beautifully together, my mouth is awash with flavours though Jackie declares the serious amounts of fresh chili in it are too much for her more delicate palate.
For main I have Casserole of Brill with Caramelised Shallots, Ham , Garlic and Wild Mushrooms. This is quite a rich almost winter style dish but its so beautiful and intense I just wish it would never end. We wash it all down with a crisp Entre Deux Mers ( a sauvignon from the Bordeaux region, a bin end too- excellent and good value) and finish with some equally divine desserts whose pastry is so thin and crisp the pastry chef deserves a michelin star of his own. Before we leave Jackie makes sure she asks the maitre d' for copies of today's menu (each menu is individually printed for the day)
A quick change into leggings and boots and its time to set off back
After coffees we plan on what to do next. The two hour bus service is a bit of a bore so we get a taxi to Watergate Bay (Where Jamie Oliver has his restaurant) and walk back to the hotel from there. It's quite a walk over some fantastic cliff tops. The only downside is that when we reach Newquay's outskirts we have to cut through the dismal town because the tide is in and we can't cross the beaches to the harbour.
Looking back towards Watergate BayThe good news is that this long walk allows us to start to work up an appetite again, though its after nine before we venture into the restaurant at the Headland Hotel for dinner. Lobster Thermidor for me and for Jackie, Sea Bass. Then it's a walk around the hotel grounds and the headland stretching away into the blackness of the Atlantic Ocean trying to get some good evening pictures of the hotel.