If you follow me on social media you might have seen we recently had a little jaunt down to Cornwall, where we ate ALL the seafood at various places in and around Padstow. The popular little town is somewhere that’s become ‘our place’ for me and Mr M, and we returned with some friends who are also big fans.
Since we have both been there a fair few times, it was a mixed trip of visiting old favourite haunts and trying a few new ones (don’t worry, I’ve got a few more blog posts coming up to tell you all about them).
In the midst of our adventuring came an inevitable stop-off at one of Rick Stein’s places. If we’re honest, you’d be hard pushed to visit ‘Padstein’ without ending up at one of Rick’s places, and we’ve all been to various venues that form part of his stable of eateries, but the Cornish Arms was new on our list.
Tucked away in St Merryn, slightly inland from Padstow, it’s maybe one of the lesser-known establishments that Stein has put his name to. A cosy country pub, it’s certainly a welcome sight after a few hours pounding the coast path and various overgrown footpaths nearby.
Maybe it’s the huge outside seating area, or perhaps the cosy ‘pub’ feel inside, complete with pictures of Rick himself. Or as a dog owner, it might be the fact that dogs are allowed everywhere inside and as soon as we stepped into the restaurant area, we could see a dog stationed at each table, patiently waiting as their owners dined on simple pub classics washed down with either Rattler cider or St Austell ales.
Either way, after a few days filled with plenty of fine food and delicate shellfish, it was the perfect place for a hearty meal and a refuel before we made our way back to ‘home’ for the weekend in Padstow.
The lunchtime menu is a self-confessed ‘simple British pub menu’, full of classics like burgers, fish and chips and pie and mash. The boys were unable to resist a retro ‘scampi in the basket’ – a heap of golden scampi and crispy chips with a pot of the Cornish Arms’ homemade tartare sauce.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how well it went down. Mr M is a scampi fan but he would be the first to say it’s hard to find decent scampi so I guess we went to just the right place.
I was a bit ‘fished’ out after three days eating pretty much every underwater crustacean I could find, so opted for meat in the form of a big old burger. I don’t choose burgers all that often so it always feels like a bit of a treat.
This one was simple, but classic. Minced chuck steak topped with melted Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion, with chips and a pot of chipotle ketchup on the side. The patty itself was well seasoned, full of flavour, moist and just what I was after. The fact it wasn’t loaded with all sorts of crazy toppings meant that the flavour of the meat could really shine through.
The chipotle ketchup was sweet with a hearty kick, and the chips were everything a good chip should be – crispy on the outside and fluffy inside.
Our pal, who it seemed was also on the hunt for a hearty meal, was won over by the steak and ale pie with mash, broccoli and gravy. No pallid-looking excuse for a pie here. It was rustic and had all the hallmarks of a homemade pie made to satisfy – filling oozing out between the crust and the lid, themselves a casket of golden, crumbly pastry that made you desperate to want to get to the treasure inside. A triumph, she declared.
Our hearty meals were washed down with a few pints of Cornish Rattler and plentiful portion of good service. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff as they picked their way over dogs of all shapes and sizes sprawled out on the floor recharging themselves ready for the rest of their day.
If you’ve got it into your head that every single one of Rick Stein’s restaurants must be over-rated, over-priced and uncomfortable, then I challenge you to visit the Cornish Arms. Other than a few strategically-placed photos and a few references to his own much-loved dog Chalky, I don’t think a visit here would make you overly aware that one of the UK’s most famous chefs is behind it. You’d just appreciate a friendly, decent pub where you can fill your face with your four-legged friend.
We paid in full for our meal at The Cornish Arms. They didn’t know I was a blogger.
Pin this for reference later