...we had to go to Porthminster Beach Cafe, or Porthminster Restaurant as it's now known. We only phoned them the evening before to make a table reservation (which given the popularity of the restaurant was a bit foolish). They only had outside tables remaining. The weather forecast was poor, but they reassured me that there was a retractable roof and outside heating if it happened to rain. Hmmm, we thought, that's fine, but we're parking at J and J's house in Carbis Bay and after a 3/4 mile walk in the rain, we may not be entirely happy to be eating outside. We are also aware that the restaurant has the reputation for being a bit on the pricey side: we wanted to enjoy our treat, not feel miserable and cold.
Well, as it happened, the wonderfully fickle English weather turned out to be like this:
An absolutely stunning day of sunshine and blue sky. Along with the beach cafe at Byron Bay, Australia, I would be happy to eat at the Porthminster every day of the year. Unfortunately we weren't beachside as we had made a late table reservation, but the view of the sea is still wonderful. It's a cliche, but the quality of the light really is different in St Ives. The staff are all young, trendy and sporting ridiculous-for-May tans. They're also welcoming and friendly which doesn't always go hand in hand with the previous description.
I tried a glass of Polgoon Raspberry Aval as an aperitif. Looked very pretty - it's a Cornish 'champagne-style' cider infused with raspberries. I think they throw in the 'champagne-style' so they can double the price of it, however it was very pink and summery. I prefer this to English wine - our cider is better than our wine is ever going to be.
So after our 3/4 mile coastal path walk and quick construction of sandcastles on the beach, we all chose......fish and chips! They really were the business. The children were delighted with the food and declared it the 'best fish and chips ever'. The chips are mixed with fried garlic cloves, chopped rosemary and plenty of flakes of sea salt. The fish is perfectly offset by the crispest and lightest batter I've ever experienced. Served with a wedge of lemon, freshly made tartare sauce and a shot glass of white balsamic vinegar. (Would be quite funny if you tried to down that in one.) Looking at these pictures is making my mouth water all over again.
We went and raided the fudge shops of St Ives for dessert. Porthminster has a local reputation for being expensive, but I disagree. For two fish and chips, two child sized fish and chips, one glass of Polgoon, one Peroni, a tea, coffee, salad and bread, the bill came to £50. I would rather eat here once a year than have a years worth of average or substandard fish and chips that many places provide.
The only problem: we didn't meet a man with seven wives, kids, sacks, cats, kits which left us all a tad disappointed...