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St. Ives, Cornwall


nicola
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We will be in St Ives for two days without a car. Breakfast is provided (hopefully a large English one but no beans for me please!!!) but would appreciate suggestions for lunch (probably light in view of large b'fast) and dinner. All cuisines and prices considered.

Many thanks.

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We will be in St Ives for two days without a car.  Breakfast is provided (hopefully a large English one but no beans for me please!!!) but would appreciate suggestions for lunch (probably light in view of large b'fast) and dinner.  All cuisines and prices considered.

Many thanks.

Porthminster Beach Café - beautiful setting smart cooking. Went 2 years ago (!)

Alba - recommended to me - never been

Seafood Café - Cheap fresh fish. A bit fast food, and not all good matches, but smart and popular.

Not been that recently, but must go West again soon. Tell me if you think St Ives needs a new wine merchant. :wink:

Edited by slacker (log)

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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Not been that recently, but must go West again soon. Tell me if you think St Ives needs a new wine merchant. :wink:

Why, do the residents of St Ives hanker after your splendid stock of Hock and Lambrusco. :biggrin:

Well that's what I'm trying to find out, derbrain. I'd just like to hear it from a punter's perspective, and Nicola clearly has good taste.

In fact I'm due to go soon, and must go for lunch at Alba, having done Porthminster albeit 2,3,4 years ago.

Grainy mustard all over your hands there, mate. :laugh:

Edited by slacker (log)

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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Thanks for the recs and for the vote of confidence in my taste. Will let you know how I get on and keep a look out for the level of competition for a good wine merchant. That said, I believe from a punter's perspective there can never be too many good wine merchants in one town!

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  • 4 weeks later...

We went to Alba on Saturday evening. This was chosen because by the time I got round to booking (the day before) they were the only one who could let us have a table at a sensible time.

The place is very smart and has a great position by the water. Our table was upstairs but towards the back so we didn't really benefit from the view. Overall I would say the cooking was average to good. I started with a smoked haddock and mussel risotto which I enjoyed a lot. One of my friends had mackerel tempura to start which were OK but somewhat bland. My main course was a white fish (sorry - can't remember which) which was served with a sauce very similar to the dipping sauce from the tempura. Again the overall effect was rather bland.

The service was friendly but not overly professional. We ordered a bottle of Chablis, admittedly not the most expensive wine on the list, and were somewhat surprised that it was brought to the table with the cork already removed. Overall I got the impression that the restaurant was setting itself up to be something a bit better than it actually is.

Sunday lunchtime we went to the Porthminster Beach Cafe. We were very lucky with the weather so we sat outside with a beautiful view of the sea. I had fish and chips (which that day was hake) which was delicious. Two large pieces of fish in a light batter, loads of crisp, chunky chips and two little pots of tartare sauce and white wine vinegar. The overall atmosphere here is "seaside casual" and it works well.

As for wine merchants, we weren't really in need of one but on our town wanderings the only one I saw was a Threshers. If that's all they have I'm sure another would be welcomed!

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We went to Alba on Saturday evening.  This was chosen because by the time I got round to booking (the day before) they were the only one who could let us have a table at a sensible time.

The place is very smart and has a great position by the water.  Our table was upstairs but towards the back so we didn't really benefit from the view.  Overall I would say the cooking was average to good.  I started with a smoked haddock and mussel risotto which I enjoyed a lot.  One of my friends had mackerel tempura to start which were OK but somewhat bland.  My main course was a white fish (sorry - can't remember which) which was served with a sauce very similar to the dipping sauce from the tempura.  Again the overall effect was rather bland.

The service was friendly but not overly professional.  We ordered a bottle of Chablis, admittedly not the most expensive wine on the list, and were somewhat surprised that it was brought to the table with the cork already removed.  Overall I got the impression that the restaurant was setting itself up to be something a bit better than it actually is.

Sunday lunchtime we went to the Porthminster Beach Cafe.  We were very lucky with the weather so we sat outside with a beautiful view of the sea.  I had fish and chips (which that day was hake) which was delicious.  Two large pieces of fish in a light batter, loads of crisp, chunky chips and two little pots of tartare sauce and white wine vinegar.  The overall atmosphere here is "seaside casual" and it works well.

As for wine merchants, we weren't really in need of one but on our town wanderings the only one I saw was a Threshers.  If that's all they have I'm sure another would be welcomed!

I was talking to somebody :wink: yesterday about chequebook cuisine. St Ives it seems suffers worse than many other places. there's loads of business, yet people don't seem to care quite enough. I've yet to get a bad review of PBC, though.

And thanks for the wine thingy. Had you had a binTwo there, you'd have been tempted in, if only by the...(...no don't know where this is going.) I went to look at an offie with Basildog there a month ago. Freehold nightmare! Blow and it would have all fallen down. Far too expensive, and no business.

:wacko:

slacker,

Padstow, Cornwall

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  • 3 years later...
We are thinking of heading to St Ives for the weekend. Does anyone have any updates to this thread? All recommendations gratefully received.

We ate at the Gurnard's Head, about 20 minutes south from St Ives, last summer - it was excellent, really relaxed and delicious, fresh, clean food.

We wanted to try the Tate and cafe but could not get parked. Here is a link to their site Tate St Ives

Piers

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  • 2 weeks later...

We headed to St Ives in Cornwall for the weekend armed with some restaurant recommendations which all turned out to be pretty good.

First stop was lunch on Saturday and we headed to Blas Burgerworks (The Warren, St Ives), we nearly passed on this when we got to the door as it seemed very expensive with basic burgers starting at £6.50, to £9.50 for a Kiwi Burger (beetroot, cheese, pineapple, egg, salad, and mayo), and chips at £2.50 extra and a side salad at £3.00. However, we were hungry after a long drive, and it looked good, a small funky “eco -restaurant” with a good big professional grill. I had the “Beet Burger” at £8.50, which is a fresh cornish beef patti, cooked nice and crispy on the outside and rare and pink in the inside, the quality of the bun was good and nicely toasted. On top of the burger there was a big mound of cruncy watercress, lots of beetroot and a large dollop of creamy garlic mayonnaise. My partner chose the BLT, all good ingredients and very generous portions at £5.50. Overall verdict - burger bliss. I was nearly tempted to order a second burger as it was so good. The portion size, quality of ingredients and standard of cooking make it good value for money. This is really an excellent place and I highly recommend it.

Saturday night was Alba (The old Lifeboat House, The Wharf, St Ives). This is quite an upmarket restaurant, with sleek furnishings. It is on the sea front with great big picture windows giving a good view over the harbour. Comfortable seats, well set table, with quality linen. It has a good menu with a balance between fish and meat.

We started with a amuse bouche of apple and celery soup, and a basket of two breads, one wholemeal the other with sun dried tomato - good bread but a slightly under flavoured soup. My first course of cornish asparagus, with poached egg and dijon mustard sauce, was well cooked but slightly under seasoned. My partner had a very solid game terrine, which we believed was mainly rabbit, garnished with sultanas that had been soaked in armagnac, nice but overall lacking punch. My main was a well cooked duck breast (good and pink) with puy lentils, a dense quenelle of apple sauce, and a date(?) chutney, again under seasoned so lacking punch. My partner had a nage of John Dory with mussels and scallops, on a bed of spring vegetables which she thought was very good. Total bill was £63.85 including a £18.50 bottle of good Aussie Shiraz, but not including service. The service was really nice, friendly, chatty, and professional. Overall a good local restaurant, the food is fine but a little pedestrian - nothing really wrong, but equally nothing outstanding. The location, decor, and service make it a nice venue for night out rather than simply a quick meal.

Sunday dawned with rain and strong winds so we abandoned sightseeing and booked lunch at The Gurnards Head (Treen, near Zenner). First ipressioin was that this is a standard gastro pub, rustic bar area, and tarted up restaurant area with modern “magazine” decor (coloured feature walls etc). The greeting was good, and service is friendly and efficient. I started with a pint of Betty Stoggs a good medium strength beer from Skinners Brewary which really hit the spot. Into the restaurant to peruse the menu, and a slight disappointment, only three choices per course and one of them was the roast beef Sunday lunch. I like a roast as much as the next person, but I am always disappointed when I see it on the menu. I wouldn’t mind a roast as an addition to the normal menu, but what usually happens is that they serve a roast with a couple of token alternatives. I find this frustrating because I like to explore good eating pubs on a Sunday and and like to sample the menu their reputation is based on. Instead I get a convienient short cut for the kitchen, pre cooked food quickly plated up, which no doubt adds significantly to the profit margin for minimal effort.

I chose a Pork Terrine to start, served with cornichons and a good home made chutney. This was served with first class home-made “oat” bread, and good butter. For main course my partner had the beef, which was local and very good (again nice and pink). Vegetables though were not great, some soggy, others half cooked. My first choice was Mullet but that had sold out so they substituted mackerel, served with new potatoes and a very good fennel and orange salad. The food bill was £39.95 for one starter and two mains, which isn’t bad (the beer was extra). Overall an OK pub meal, I have had quite a few worse, but also quite a few better. I had also read that the pub was one of the new breed that “foraged” in the hedgrows for interesting and different ingredients. The only evidence of this we noticed was a large clover(?) in the garnish of the pate, and some nastersium leaves(?) in the fennel salad - maybe there is more evidence of this in the normal menu, rather than the limited Sunday lunch one. Overall it is worth a visit if you are staying close by, but not worth a significant detour.

For Sunday dinner we had booked the Porthminster Cafe (Porthminster Beach, St Ives), this Cafe was recommended by many people so we had high hopes. It is a great location, literally on the beach. There is an indoors restaurant and a great deck with windbreaks, a retractable roof, and patio heaters. The decor is modern “beach shack”, with lots of blues and whites, and with quality aluminium chairs/tables on the deck. This is a good sign as I always try to avoid places with cheap plastic outside furniture as I find it is usualy illustrative of the overall quality of a restaurant.

But first a word of warning: the tables with the best views can be booked, and apparently the best ones right in the windows book a few months in advance. So if you want the best view specify when you book (although all the tables are pretty good). We sat on the deck, and even though it was a bit breezy it was fine - they do give you rugs if you feel the cold.

The menu has a lot of fish, with a few meat dishes, all the dishes are interesting and it was tricky to make a choice, in fact my partner chose three entrees to get a better spread. She kicked off with three very large oysters (No. 1’s), very fresh not to salty and nice and fatty. Next she had a bowl of mussels cooked with chorizo, again very well executed. My starter was a crab salad with glass noodles and lots of asian flavours (Vietnamese and/or Thai), it was very fresh and not to strong to overpower the crab meat. For main course I had Plaice, with small crab cakes, and a salad, again really good flavours and a very good dish. My partner chose the Chilli Squid with salad, it was nice but lacked the chilli punch you would expect with this dish. One flaw with the meal was that they used the same salad for all three dishes, it was a great salad but it became repetitive. We then shared a cheese plate which had three cheeses in perfect condition - Yarg, a cornish blue, and a local brie like soft cheese - served with a variety of lavosh’s. We followed this with a Tamerillo desert plate - tamerillo jelly with space dust, a tamerillo ice-cream, a raspberry shortbread, a creme brulee, and a poached tamerillo - the plates were licked clean which says it all..!

The bill was £113 for two (without service) but we did have some good wine including a Kiwi Pinot which made up at £47 of the bill, so the food was only £66. It is a fantastic location, the service is great, and the food matches perfectly, simple, very well cooked, but with interesting combinations and twists (it reminded me of modern Australian cooking, and we were told many of the chefs were Aussies).

St Ives is a good destination for food; four contrasting restaurants and all good in their own way - although on my next visit I will spend all my time eating Blas burgers for lunch and enjoying a long relaxing dinner on the deck of the Porthminster Beach Cafe. Heaven....!

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/wine/main.jhtml.../edready123.xml

jasper gerrard got very excited about the porthminster cafe.

roasts for sunday lunch unfortunately are a fact of life for english pubs, it's what the punters want and although you can serve plenty of them there's a ceiling price that you can charge and it's actually a busy day for not a lot of return, you'd far rather everyone was eating ALC but roasts are what they want.

you don't win friends with salad

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  • 1 year later...

Hello

Just spent two weeks in St Ives and had to mention Saltwater.

I am not sure how long they have been open, their website looks very new: http://www.saltwaterstives.co.uk/

The food was exceptional. Possibly one of the best meals out I have ever had. Lots of fresh fish, we had roast pollock and a seafood risotto which were both gorgeous. We ordered from a specials board which I think was mostly fish plus Cornish lamb.

It is a very small restaurant, about 10 tables at most, and all the other dishes on the other tables looked equally excellent.

The other places which we enjoyed were:

Porthgwidden Cafe

Porthminster Beach Cafe

Fifteen in Newquay

We were not so keen on Seafood Cafe

TLP

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Hello The Lady Pleaser (interesting name, self titled?),

Thanks for your report on St Ives and Cornwall.

It really helps us egulleteers when one of our "band of brothers" gives tips on unusual and exotic locations.

Keep up the good work.

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Hello The Lady Pleaser (interesting name, self titled?),

No, I wish I had thought of it. It was given to me by my parter in crime, the Swordsman. The two of us have got up to quite a few adventures, shall we say, over the years, let me tell you.

Thanks for your report on St Ives and Cornwall.

You're welcome.

It really helps us egulleteers when one of our "band of brothers" gives tips on unusual and exotic locations.

I hope so. Clearly I am not one of the best of the egullitariti in that my reviews only run to a couple of lines especially when I come back with positive reviews.

It was good to go to some of the restaurants mentioned on here to give myself a visual reality. The problem with such a small town is that there are very few hidden gems but one always tries to fine the best buzz, the best cuisine, and most importantly, the best fun.

I wanted to make a few comments about the wines we had but the problem for me is how to categorize where is old world and where is new world. There never seems to be an easy way.

As for the Seafood Cafe, the food was hearty, well presented with no frills. Service was friendly and efficient. I got the feeling while everything was good, nothing was great and i felt that they were operating very much within themselves. But perhaps it is a tried and tested formula that works there so why change it.

Keep up the good work.

I will try.

TLP

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Went to St Ives last summer and enjoyed two loooong lunches at Alba. It's been mentioned abve and is certainly worth a visit but the lunch menu represents outstanding value for money. 3 top class courses for £16. From memory the stand-outs were Cod and Puy lentils, Panna Cotta and an excellent, well priced wine list.

Always hungry.

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  • 1 year later...

We're heading to Pendeen, near St Ives but also near Penzance in June. I have booked a window seat for dinner at the Porthminster Café - where else is good these days round there please? (Last year we had delicious coffee & cakes at a lovely café in Penzance - Mackerel Sky, so we'll go back one evening to try their Tapas).

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  • 1 year later...

spent a lovely week in St IVes last week. I intended to eat out a lot but, mainly due issues with looking after small children, only made it to the Porthminster Beach Cafe for dinner.

There were a few restaurants I wanted to try -

Alba, which has been mentioned above, looked like a very pleasant place to spend a few hours.

Seagrass had a nice menu and tempting daily specials (head chef'd by 2010 Masterchef Pro's semi-finalist Lee Groves)

Black Rock has a basic menu but was busy every time I passed.

and Blas Burgerworks was always heaving with a cool crowd.

Anyway, I will definitely be going back to St Ives before too long. despite the long trip there are few better places for a beach holiday in the UK IMO.

Stand out dish at Porthminster was a Blow-torched Mackerel Fillet:

IMAG0471.jpg

from the list of starters:

IMAG0469.jpg

I regretted not having the Monkfish Curry for main, as, when it turned up at a neighbours table looked lovely, but instead had a pretty good fillet of local beef from the mains:

IMAG0470.jpg

Also had a half dozen local oysters which went well with a glass of bubbly.

I had a version of the River Cafe's chocolate nemesis for pud which was as good as the original.

Be silly not to go there if you're in St Ives - especially with a view from the table like this:

IMAG0468.jpg

I hadn't booked a window seat, but as I was there at 7 and they were free they appeared to be allocated on a firt come basis that night - maybe they hadn't been reserved.

View up to the restaurant from the shore:

IMAG0467.jpg

It really is a very nice spot.

Service was okay. I just downed my final oyster and finished the bubbly when the starter arrived, and I had to wait 5 minutes before my glass of wine for the starter got to me, but all very friendly.

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