Restaurant Nathan Outlaw 4444

6 New Road , Port Isaac, PL29 3SB

10 reviews

99 Fish Cornwall

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SquareMeal Review of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

“The ultimate in classy fish cuisine”, Nathan Outlaw’s two-Michelin-starred flagship regularly proves why it’s up there with the very best in the business. The restaurant’s seafront setting and fabulous views resonate with the “sounds of satisfaction” coming from each and every table – testament to the sheer virtuosity of Outlaw’s cooking and his sympathetic approach to super-fresh Cornish seafood. Diners are offered just one tasting menu (lunch and dinner), but the balance, quality and invention are staggering – just consider a dish of sublime brill (“lightly cured by the master himself”) decorated with peas and mint. Outlaw also gives more humble species their full due: herrings are pickled and served with cucumber and seaweed; cod is lifted to “a whole new dimension”, lightly salted and matched with cuttlefish in red wine; lemon sole fillets are presented as a pair (one breadcrumbed, the other ‘au naturel’) with the simplest of accompaniments including purple sprouting broccoli and spring watercress. Finally, there are two “highly developed” desserts – perhaps a fresh-tasting rhubarb and custard ice cream ‘sandwich’ (“a delight to behold”) followed by a St Clement’s meringue pie with the flavours of oranges and lemons “ringing out”. Outlaw’s beautifully calibrated displays are backed by studiously matched wines, while service cleverly balances sociability with impressive expertise. It’s a tour de force – “a truly outstanding dining experience, and one to treasure.”

UK Top 100 Restaurants

UK Top 100 Restaurants 2018

SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.

Wine List of the Year Award Finalist

There’s something of the Hakkasan in the way this British eatery has structured its list, with wines split up into intriguing (but generally helpful) categories such as ‘Sea and Ocean’ and ‘Aromatics’. Plus it’s easy to follow, beautifully presented and isn’t afraid to big up its weirder listings, like Georgian amphorae wines.

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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Boscarne Junction Station 14km

Bodmin Central Station 16km

Address

Address: 6 New Road , Port Isaac PL29 3SB

Opening times

Fri-Sat 12N-2pm Wed-Sat 7-9pm

Nearby Landmarks

Long Cross Victorian Gardens 1km

Tregeare Rounds 3km

Details

Telephone: 01208 880896

Website:

Cuisine: Fish

Private Dining: 10

10.0

Food & Drink: 10.0

Service: 10.0

Atmosphere: 10.0

Value: 10.0

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 20 June 2018

Our meal here provided further evidence, if any were needed, of the failure of Michelin by Bookatable, and its inspectors, to recognise that its criteria for the top award on its scale of merit are not in tune with the reasons why paying customers favour some restaurants rather than others. Compared with the place we had dined at a week before, a 3-star entertainment centre in Bray, RNO was far superior from several points of view. Indeed, one factor being in fact the lovely view of the North Cornwall coast, but, equally, we had front of house staff who hadn’t needed to learn a script, local, fresh ingredients presented in a recognisable way and combined and balanced in unmatchable and inventive fashion, and in suitably sized portions, and some excellent Coravin by-the-glass wine selections, altogether making for an outstanding dining experience. Delightful canapés in the form of tasty crab scones and light as a feather cheese straws were followed by mouthwatering raw scallops with a citrus dressing, horseradish mayo and pink grapefruit, and fresh mackerel cured for 20 minutes cleverly contrasted with apple and with a chilli dressing kicking through at the end. John Dory is not everyone’s favourite, but in Nathan Outlaw’s version, coupled with a superb saffron aioli and roasted and pickled yellow kohlrabi, it exhibits the best in firm fleshiness. Cod, too, can be ho-hum unless treated with flair, and here it is salted for just 20 minutes, enough to remove excess liquid and to add tasty seasoning, and served with a sensational scampi tail and lobster mix and lobster sauce, resulting in a rich extravagance rarely found in UK restaurants. Not to be outdone, the king of fish, turbot, climaxed the piscine pageant with its hazelnut topping, deliciously syrupy red wine dressing, very mild roasted pickled onions and double-podded beans. Ironically, after our experience with someone else’s childhood memory experiments, the perfect strawberry ice cream crumble sandwich with added gooseberry and elderflower both stirred the tastebuds and the recollections and left us once more ready to share our memories of this meal with the fine dining world.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 27 March 2018

We expect nothing short of perfection when we dine at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, and once again we were not disappointed. Even the absence of the iconic Porthilly Sauce did not detract from our admiration of the wonderful sequence of dishes, and the dining room with its sea-front setting resonates with the sounds of satisfaction coming from the diners, the service led by Stephi Little is so friendly yet it retains a level of easy expertise, and the wine flight, concocted by sommelier Damon Little, supplies perfect matches with sometimes unfamiliar labels for each of the dishes. Sublime brill, cured by the master and decorated with cucumber and counterpointed with surprisingly subtle white chilli cream clusters was one of the pair of introductory dishes, the other being smooth and tender cured mackerel full of the proper fishiness that only fresh from the sea examples can bring, and here matched brilliantly with beetroot, apple and, of all things, bacon serving to balance the weight of the fish. Cod is often dismissed as dismal, ordinary, tasteless, but at RNO it’s not just cod but juicy melt-in-the-mouth salt cod, a whole new dimension, which when paired and contrasted with cuttlefish cooked in red wine and a red pepper jus was just amazing. Perfect scallops followed with just the right toasted finish on the unctuously tender flesh with crunchy hazelnuts providing textural subtlety, Jerusalem artichoke a slightly savoury tang and a subtle tartare hollandaise brought us to the next dish, lemon sole, a fish that is often underrated but which, in the hands of Nathan Outlaw, can almost be as rewarding as its distant cousin turbot with its delicate, slightly sweet-tasting flesh. We were treated to two generous fillets, one breaded, the other au naturel, accompanied by purple sprouting broccoli and spring watercress which set off the fish superbly. For the first of our two highly developed traditional-sounding but very modern desserts, oranges and lemons rang out from the St Clements meringue pie and were beautifully matched by a light yoghurt sorbet, and this was paralleled by the fresh tasting rhubarb and custard ice cream sandwich, a delight to behold and a pleasure to consume. As usual a truly outstanding dining experience and one to treasure, and as usual we continue to be puzzled by the ungenerous Michelin rating.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 04 October 2017

What a joy to be back in the restaurant we’ve raved about for many years and is now rightly rated No 1 in the UK by GFG. After a health-related break from our fine dining hobby it seemed more than appropriate to kick-start our starry foodie travels right here in Cornwall, even if a certain passé “top chef” might be shooting his mouth off claiming that London is the only place in the U.K. where you can eat well. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is a venue where the welcome and the service orchestrated by the peerless Stephi Little are more than professional, and we were made to feel properly at home with a very pleasant chat with the man himself. We were there for lunch, the sun was shining and the wonderful view from the dining room put everyone in the mood for the great meal we were expecting. And what better way to begin than with a glass of local fizz? The Camel Valley rosé got the tastebuds excited and the excitement continued with truly exquisite monkfish cured with rosemary, sugar and salt and served with fennel, a ginger vinaigrette and just enough chilli to leave the slightest tang on the palate. We were lucky enough to be treated to an extra dish of perfect fresh mackerel, so lightly cooked that it seemed to have just come out of the sea, sprinkled with bacon bits and with a delicate yet very mushroomy mousse - a masterly mix of textures and temperatures. Then the unbeatable signature dish of Porthilly sauce, this time with unfairly unfashionable gurnard, which is actually an excellent vehicle for the wonderful lip-smackingly brilliant sauce. This was followed by another favourite, the king of fishes, Turbot, served on a background of roasted cauliflower, pickled onion, spring onion and a roast onion sauce, and a topping of mint, rocket, capers and gherkin, all of which combined to produce a triumphant accompaniment for the stunningly good fish. As usual all the dishes were served with Damon Little’s carefully selected wines designed to match the complex taste and texture combinations of the food, and these included, despite my normal apprehensive approach to South African overoaking, a Chenin blanc blend with Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc and Viognier which went very successfully with the turbot. A palate-cleansing lime granita was served with the dessert comprising smooth banana chunks and crunchy peanut pockets bathing in an espresso dressing, which all made for a simple-sounding but gastronomically top-class textural combination. Just to top things off, we received a second treat comprising a properly wobbly vanilla panna cotta with its moscato d’Asti jelly seconded by fresh raspberries and raspberry mousse and a lovely wafer-thin fan-shaped biscuit. Good coffee and petits fours brought our memorable lunch to a fitting end. For us local, seasonal ingredients cooked with the professional touch that lifts a meal way above the norm is what we are looking for. We are not against classic French cuisine practised by French chefs by any means, but we do draw the line at laboratory food and being charged over £300 for a strictly time-limited meal for which you may not express any dietary requirements, and as far as we are concerned Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, where an English chef consistently produces a top-class refined dining experience with English raw materials, is second to none. As expected, Michelin has not had the courage to follow the example of GFG and promote this truly outstanding dining venue to the three-star status it so richly deserves.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 24 October 2016

There is nothing left for us to add to the fully justified Good Food Guide 10/10 rating except to chide Michelin, once again, for its lack of courage and vision and continued refusal to recognise the damage it is doing to the UK fine dining scene by not bringing the proportion of awards for deserving UK restaurants more in line with the situation in France and promoting more restaurants more often both across the board and especially from two to three stars. The amazing ability of Nathan Outlaw and his team to maintain the advances with what is after all a fish only armoury of main ingredients yet provide a new outlook on how to provide outstanding cuisine based on locally and seasonally available raw material is reason alone for this restaurant to be ranked amongst the very best. Every one of the stellar dishes on the menu is served with a perfect wine match, and all you have to do is sit back and enjoy. Subtle 3-hour cured monkfish with yoghurt and sea purslane is followed by amazing creamy rich cod’s roe with sourdough crispbread, paprika and seaweed sprinkle, then comes crab in pickled onion so mild that the crab with its basil dressing and surprising apple chunks still stands out, the signature red mullet with its wonderful Porthilly sauce never ceases to please, meaty turbot (served with a stunning NZ pinot noir) and a sprinkle of bacon, spring onion, mushroom sauce and fabulous smoked mushroom gives way to top-notch caramelised Cornish Jack cheese and walnut tart with slightly tart beetroot, and then on to a seasonal dessert of local blackberries, pear and hazelnuts for a lovely combination of textures, and the finale of rich dark chocolate, local raspberries, panna cotta with a flavour of distilled raspberries and a blackcurrant ice wine sauce. Another stunningly good example of three-star cuisine from head chef Chris Simpson in the kitchen.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 24 June 2016

As we were treating the family, we were numerous enough to be able to book the chef’s table and benefited from being right opposite the kitchen with a perfect view of all the amazingly relaxed activity behind the scenes. We had personal front-of-house service from Emma who was assigned to us for the evening and demonstrated a great deal of interest in and knowledge of both the food and the wine and definitely succeeded in helping to make the experience very rewarding, especially when Nathan Outlaw and Chris Simpson were on hand to add to the friendly atmosphere by exchanging a few words with us. It goes without saying that the meal was absolutely top class, and once again it proved to be a masterclass in how to conjure up a whole tasting menu based on subtle nuances of taste, texture and visual and flavour combinations of fish and matching ingredients, with the bonus of an immaculate selection of wines to complete each dish. When it comes to curing fish, whether it be as delicate as brill or as meaty as monkfish, Nathan Outlaw is a past master, and he proved it once more, the former with radish slices, gentle cucumber and a perfect touch of chilli, and the latter with a ginger vinaigrette, plain yoghurt and fennel. Putting pickled onion with crab sounds like a recipe for disaster, but, guess what?, it worked. The lovely local crab easily held its own against the roasted pickled onion because the allium had an unusual degree of sweetness and so did not dominate the crustacean as might have been the case in less skilled hands and this was enhanced by a basil sauce and judicious strips of courgette. A really surprising dish. One item we can never get enough of here is the signature Porthilly sauce. Just the aroma sends us into raptures, and, paired this time with perfect gurnard, we lingered over the dish, luxuriating in the sheer pleasure of this unparalleled gastronomic wonder. For us turbot is the king of fish and here it is always guaranteed to be granted the culinary honour it deserves, this time accompanied by the freshest St Enedoc asparagus, a super smoked mushroom purée, bacon crumbs sprinkled on the fish, and discs of kohlrabi somehow echoing the purity of the fish. The exemplary cheese course comprised Cornish Jack, a local product not unlike Emmenthaler, with excellent sourdough crackers, caramelised walnuts and pickled celery, and this was followed by a lovely pre-dessert of sweet, tasty local strawberries, shortbread to balance the rhubarb granita and an elderflower element with its cheeky grapey finish. The finale of yummy coconut cream tart with raspberries piled on top and a white chocolate and passion fruit “fried egg” just showed the amazing level the pastry chef reaches. Yet again a tour de force from all concerned.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 29 March 2016

It is normal for diners to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw to be treated to a three-star, 10/10 dining experience, and so it proved to be once again. Every course hits stellar heights, the service is spot on and every one of the accompanying wines hits just the right spot. The combinations of colours, tastes and textures imagined and achieved are always great and often staggering, and the perfect balance of each dish with all the others on the menu makes it impossible to single out any of them for particular mention because they were all individually so good and all together contributed to the overall brilliance of the meal. Simply detailing the courses does not really do the menu justice, but we have to repeat ourselves and assert that the definition of superlative is something embodying excellence - think of any superlative and it can be applied to each and every one of the dishes we enjoyed so much here. Nevertheless, just listing what we had makes us lick our lips at the thought of it; we had: Cured monkfish with ginger, fennel, lemon zest and Greek yoghurt, Scallop with chilli sauce, preserved herring shavings and bacon and onion crunch, Lemon sole with wild garlic mayo and crispy oyster beignet, Brined gurnard and its crunchy skin with the signature Porthilly sauce, Turbot (not on the bone this time) in combination with spring onion, white cabbage and roasted celeriac sauce, Cornish Jack cheese, reminiscent of Jarlsberg, sourdough toast, candied walnuts and pickled and plain celery, Rhubarb three ways - natural/jelly/granita, a touch of orange and a biscuit crunch, Spiced quince and hazelnut tart, rich with white chocolate, ice wine and passion fruit.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 25 November 2015

Nathan Outlaw You just cannot beat this - the three-star, 10/10 food and wine, the three-star, 10/10 service, the three-star, 10/10 setting, it all adds up to one of the very best fine dining experiences you'll get anywhere. French and German chefs and gourmets have dined here and come to the same conclusion: Nathan Outlaw is at the top of the class and if he is some day rewarded with three stars and 10/10 it will be no more than he deserves. It is a constant source of wonder for us how the chef, ably aided and abetted by Head Chef Chris Simpson, manages to conjure up so many variations on the fish theme. Being located in Cornwall is a guarantee of a regular source of quality ingredients, of course, but we are sometimes reminded of dishes we've had here before when we look at the menu, only to be confounded by a completely new take on the main element and accompaniments which produces yet another masterpiece. This was perfectly illustrated by the first of the two amuse-bouches, salt-cured monkfish, something we know and love, but this time with terrific pickled artichoke, sour cream and ginger, the latter an incredibly good partner for the fish. The second had cubes of apple cleverly cutting the richness of the hen crab's brown meat mousse which in itself was delicious and with the addition of watercress and apple jelly just superb. Then, who would actually think of coupling preserved herring with cold-smoked mackerel? Put them together with roasted sweetish onion and a parsnip crisp and you have a match made in heaven. Again, try balancing perfect red mullet with sweet tomatoes and mint, rocket and anchovy sauce plus cubes of raw courgette. If you can bring it off, chapeau, you have an out-and-out winner. One of chef's signature favourites is the unforgettable Porthilly (lobster) sauce, and we're always happy to treat our tastebuds to it in combination with sea-fresh fish, this time bass, with fondant potatoes and an interesting green in the form of chopped and reconstituted hispi cabbage. Marvellous. And it's not just the fish dishes - the cheese on this occasion was a Ragstone goat's cheese made special by a wonderful beetroot chutney and purée, and, via a lovely palate cleanser of raspberry crème brûlée, two excellent desserts, satsuma granita dovetailed with brandy and tarragon cream, and a tasty, crunchy spiced quince and hazelnut tart to finish. Ab fab or what?!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 21 July 2015

We make regular pilgrimages to Cornwall to pay homage to the high priest of fish fine dining, and we never feel less than elevated, on a spritual as well as a corporal level, after service here. There is never a false note and the move to the new premises with a truly spectacular outlook has brought about a less formal feel to the dining atmosphere. It goes without saying that the food was fabulous. From the salt and rosemary cured monkfish with plain yoghurt, ginger vinaigrette and crunchy fennel, through smoky mackerel pâté and cucumber jelly, via very local lobster with a light, dry salsa verde comprising mint, anchovy and parsley, and with heritage tomatoes and a tomato water dressing, by way of the signature Porthilly sauce with its intense nose and flavour embracing particularly good gurnard, then almost a meat and two veg dish with turbot and samphire, potatoes, hispi cabbage rounds and a seaweed hollandaise, followed by celery jelly and crackers doing full justice to Tunworth cheese, then wild strawberry granita with an airy crème brulée, yoghurt and a dash of raspberry, to the final delight, a light and delicious cherry and pistachio tart, the whole experience was unmissable. You could not wish for finer treatment of top-class ingredients, and Nathan Outlaw consistently hits the bullseye. This wonderful restaurant is without any doubt one of the leaders of the UK's quality surge in the fine dining area, which needs to be recognised and rewarded by the France-centric guides.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 23 March 2015

Nathan Outlaw deserves to be at the top of the restaurant awards podium. The old maxim has it that familiarity breeds contempt, but happily this is not true here, and it is not just because the move to new premises has taken place. However, another chapter has been written in the epic tale of a master chef's rise from modest beginnings to greatness. The new restaurant is his, nobody else's, and this seems to have provided him with a further motivation to demonstrate his enormous talent. We have extolled his cooking before, and now this latest treat with the remarkable and imaginative use of the freshest of ingredients, dishes starring perfect fish and seafood with supporting casts of local and seasonal vegetables, subtle ensembles with stunning sauces and beautifully directed visual passages on the plate, showed that our opinion is more than justified. Superb salt- and rosemary-cured monkfish with brilliant saffron yoghurt and smoked almonds set the tone for the evening, and this was matched by a delicious frash, raw mackerel with green chilli, preserved herring and onion stock. Putting exquisite sole together with cauliflower purée and crispy oyster backed with very early wild garlic made for a sensational combination of tastes and textures, something which was effortlessly repeated in the next dish with beautiful salmon carpaccio, a scandalously good mushroom purée, local seaweed shavings and clever bacon bits for crunch. A pre-main course consisted of excellent red mullet with the signature Porthilly lobster sauce which is so good it would make a fortune if it were marketed. We loved the absolutely perfect turbot in mind-bogglingly tasty combination with Jerusalem artichoke purée and backed up with leeks, super chicken stock and Jerusalem artichoke crisps which provided a wonderful interplay of tastes and textures. The cheese course was some of the best Tunworth we've had, ripe to the point of being runny, with super pickled celery and fennel seed crackers. Taste, texture and visuals were almost primeval in the first wonderfully imaginative dessert of rhubarb and juniper "crème brûlée" with blood orange granita, and the epic meal was brought to a superb conclusion with a dark chocolate bar coupled with coconut and a granadilla passion fruit mousse with a level of mouthfeel which left us pondering on how, after all that had passed before, we were able not just to scoff these two desserts but how the wonderful balance of the sequence of dishes still left our palates capable of appreciating the range of tastes presented. As usual the service was on a perfect level of sociability and expertise and, as usual, the wines were a perfect match for all the courses. This was a tour de force by a great chef!

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 04 October 2014

This review refers to the meal we had in June this year, but as the Square Meal entry is so out of date (£65 average price is completely inaccurate as there is no average, simply a tasting menu at a fixed price of £99) and as there was a complete absence of reviews, that it seemed worthwhile submitting this one: One thing is certain about our visits to Nathan Outlaw's restaurant: familiarity will never breed contempt, even if seafood is more finite with regard to ingredients than you could possibly believe from the variety of dishes served; the combinations of colours, tastes, textures imagined and achieved are always great and often staggering; the friendly, expert service, which includes a proper, enthusiastic and detailed description of each dish, runs like clockwork under the watchful eye of Stephanie the restaurant manager; the sublime wine flights are brilliantly matched with each dish by Damon the sommelier, who changed all the wines listed on the menu for us, bar one which we had raved about the last time we ate here, because he knew that we had already had them on previous occasions. This kind of attention to detail is absolutely top-class, and after this meal, possibly the best we've had here, we have no hesitation in stating that three stars and 10 out of 10 would hardly be recognition enough of the merits of the chef and his staff. For a change, we took three of our children, who have dined in more than one one-star restaurant, and their conclusion was that they now understand the difference between good and the best. It is impossible to single out any dishes for particular mention because they were all so good. For the record, we had: Lobster cocktail, a broth with coral oil, tail meat and puréed claw mayo, Brill cured in white wine with dill, gooseberries and horseradish yoghurt, Brown crab, deep-fried gutweed, a hint of pickled apple with smoked oil, all on a round of creamed asparagus and with Cornish sourdough, Red mullet done in a soft-shell stock, kohlrabi disks, rich Porthilly oyster sauce, The signature turbot on the bone with watercress mayo, coriander leaves, anchovy, lemon zest, mint leaves and a fresh pea cream sauce, Ragstone goat's cheese with the rind removed, celery jelly, candied walnuts and goat's cheese whipped with cream, Intense strawberries with yoghurt sorbet and shortbread crumble, strawberry shortcake and elderflower jelly, and, finally, Fresh raspberries, raspberry ice cream, almond crumble and chocolate ice cream sandwich. A superlative is defined as something embodying excellence - think of any superlative and it can be applied to each and every one of the above dishes.