I spent the last weekend having a rather perfect time in the cuteness that is Padstow! Although it is known as Rick Stein land (people are not kidding when they say he’s taken over) I managed to have a food-focused weekend that did not involve anything Stein-related. The foodie highlight – dinner at the recently Michelin starred No. 6 in Padstow, headed up by Paul Ainsworth.
Defying convention, I will start with dessert as it was the key reason for me going. I went with my dessert already planned (and forced upon the dinner date as his dessert choice too as it’s massive!) Winner of the dessert course of the Great British Menu 2011, it was impossible not to select the ‘Trip to the Fairground’. It was spectacular in real life, bringing quite a lot of attention to our table. 😉 Be warned though – it’s quite the feat for just two people. It’s a rare occurrence, but by the end of this meal I was well and truly full – hardly capable of a full sentence. Here’s why:
- Honeycomb sticks on lollypops are covered in popping candy, bringing back fun childhood memories as they popped away in my mouth.
- A raspberry curd sits in a little copper pot (that I want in my life)
- Cinnamon doughnuts adorn the centre of the cart
- Toffee covered apples sit on a light raspberry marshmallow full of fresh raspberries
- And my personal favourite – a pot of coconut custard with peanut popcorn – SCRUMMY
Going back to the start again… We started off with some delicious little loaves of caramelised onion and sourdough bread as we perused the menu, served in a wooden box with cod roe topped with pork scratching crumbs. Unexpected flavours that worked incredibly well.
For starters, I chose the haddock: an absolutely scrummy combination of smoked haddock in a creamy cheese sauce and leeks sitting on top of a piece of black pudding (working beautifully together) with a poached yolk on top. This even had my fish hating dinner date making mmmmmm noises! The duck was the alternative option on our table. Delicious pieces of a cornish duck served in a pot next to a beautiful plate of soft herb pasta ragu, fettle and almonds that was almost to pretty to tuck into. I honestly could not tell you which one I preferred.
The main course was also a difficult decision to make. I finally settled on the lamb (or herdwick hoggett as stated on the menu). This plate of art combines a mint and parsley sauce base with perfectly cooked pieces of lamb, sweetbreads, potato pastilla (can only describe as crisp potato filled with meat) and small cubes of beetroot. The pork was equally a visual spectacle. Tender Cornish saddle back pork with a swirl of pork crackling (could eat hundreds of these as a snack), scallop and apple. The favourite part of the dish for my dinner date was however the cabbage filled with more pork (or savoy roll to use the proper term) – the perfect way to get him to eat vegetables. I will definitely be using this trick of putting meat in veg in the future (far future) to get my children to eat vegetables – it’s pure genius.
With an extensive drinks menu everyone is catered for – I even tried some Devon white wine which was beautiful. The service was great (even if he did joke about there being no fairground desserts -which I reacted probably a little bit too dramatically to). I generally loved the friendly atmosphere of the place. I can only apologise for being the last ones there as we somehow took almost three hours on our three courses! :-S
Highly recommended – if only Padstow could move a few hours up the country and be on Bristol’s doorstep; it’s such an adorable place. Or we need to get Paul Ainsworth to open a restaurant a little closer….