The Seafood Restaurant Padstow 22

Riverside , Padstow, PL28 8BY

6 reviews

82 Fish Cornwall

  • Seafood Restaurant Padstow Food
  • Seafood Restaurant Padstow

SquareMeal Review of The Seafood Restaurant Padstow

This is where it all began for Cornish empire builder Rick Stein, but more than 40 years down the line, his illustrious flagship still delivers “great fish and great wine”. Quality is the watchword here: the spacious white-walled interior – designed by Jill Stein – is bright, modern and artily decorated with a no-bookings cut-price seafood bar at its heart, while the kitchen majors on exemplary fish cookery driven by daily supplies from nearby Padstow quay. Flavours from Stein’s travels dominate the show, so start with some local Porthilly oysters before cruising your way through the likes of grilled ‘queenie’ scallops a la plancha, crab with wakame, cucumber and dashi salad or an Indonesian seafood curry with monkfish, cuttlefish and prawns. You can also take the classic route by ordering a whole Dover sole, cod and chips or lobster thermidor, before rounding off with a smashed liquorice meringue or summer pudding. The authoritative list is stuffed with seafood-friendly whites, and the waterfront location is a dream – especially if you’re staying over (it’s surprisingly lovely in winter, says a fan).

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3.8

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 3.8

Atmosphere: 3.8

Value: 2.8

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 2.0

Mitzie8cake platinum reviewer 22 March 2013

I suppose it is to be expected when big celebrity chefs build an empire and then leave it to continue their expeditions elsewhere. All that promise and expectation building inside you from the moment you book, to being seated at your table is laid to waste, at the end of another ordinary night. In short, this was an average meal with struggling wait staff, cramped tables and sound levels reaching higher than a teenage house party at one point. Several hours later I failed to pinpoint where it all went a bit wrong but I'd say it was somewhere in the fish main, which was alright. Just alright. We were on the coast, with fish fresh from the sea yet it was surprisingly the melt in your mouth chocolate fondant and a well suggested dessert wine (Mas Amiel, Maury) that stands out for me. I think that says it all.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 3.0

Fiona M. gold reviewer 24 May 2012

We went to Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant as part of an “eating and drinking” trip to North Cornwall. Luckily I didn't read the reviews below before we went, otherwise we wouldn't have gone, but we had a lovely lunch which it would have been a pity to miss. While I agree that the staff were not the most welcoming (whether when I called to book, or when they phoned to reconfirm, or in person on the day), the food was great. I had the japanese style crab for starters, followed by monkfish rolled in garlic and fennel semolina and panfried. My husband had the smoked salmon with beetroot, followed by the lamb for main course and we thoroughly enjoyed both. The wine list was good, but I was disappointed not to see more wines by the glass, and not to see more English wines. There was zero atmosphere in the restaurant – it was only half full (it was a Monday lunchtime during term time, so no surprise) and the staff had spread everyone out around the quite large restaurant so it was a bit like eating in a mausoleum. It's worth noting that this restaurant is on an uninspiring street in Padstow with no views etc. You could be anywhere. If you want to enjoy the Cornish views, head 15 minutes down the road to The Scarlet in Mawgan Porth or to Jamie Oliver's 15 in Watergate Bay. Starters, mains and drinks for two was £99.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 1.0

Max F. bronze reviewer 15 November 2011

Disappointing all round. Haughty service the likes of which good London restaurants have long since dispensed with, naff decor, erratic attention to the needs of the table and a meal that was hit and miss – lovely mussels and squid but very ordinary plaice, an overly rich fish pie and forgettable desserts. Its stellar reputation clearly does it no favours when the experience is such a let down. Wouldn't recommend it.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Bernadette B. 06 June 2011

Don't waste your money! Looking for a intimate/romantic/ convivial dining experience? You won't get it at this restaurant. It is openplan, noisy, too bright, tables are squashed so closely together that it's Impossible to avoid overhearing the neighbouring tables' conversation. The Staff rush you to your table so quickly that you have to bring your pre-dinner drink with you to the table. An overpriced conveyor belt! A seafood restaurant who overcooks mussels!!! My husband ordered a noodle dish for his starter, the tabasco bottle slipped out of his hand, dropped on the bowl and broke large pieces of the rim off the bowl. When we called the waiter over – thinking he would replace the food and bowl he laughed and said “we won't charge for the breakage” and walked off leaving the broken crockery on the table which was only removed when they cleared the table ready for the next course!. Goodness knows if shards of the crockery landed in the food – but there was no suggestion of replacing it. Next time I go to Padstow I'll be avoiding Stein's Empire and try Paul Ainsworth's No.6 instead!

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

squaremale silver reviewer 09 November 2008

The following is the substance of a letter I wrote to the restaurant after my visit. I have since received in response a patronising, standard letter, which addressed not a single one of my observations and instead informed me that my experience – all of it! – was a one-off… From the moment we entered the reception area of the Seafood Restaurant it felt as though we had walked onto a conveyor belt, with the main aim of the staff being to get us to the end and back out of the door as quickly as possible to free up the table for another sitting. We arrived about half an hour early so we could have a drink before going to our table. However, on arrival we were asked by staff if we would we like to go to our table immediately, and it was clear that was their preference. We chose instead to sit in the conservatory area to have drinks and look at the menus. A pre-starter of tempura sea bass arrived. This was delicious; what a shame it turned out to be the best course of the evening. We were shortly shown to our table, or rather two seats on a table for six. Closer examination did reveal three tables for two, but only just. It was not possible, even for my slim companion, to get between the tables. We have all been subject to close table grouping, although usually in capitals where rents are sky-high, but even then not to this severity. The six of us joked about the ridiculousness of it all. It really is unpleasant to be forced to hear other people’s conversations so clearly, and to know that your own conversation, however muted, is entirely audible to your neighbours. Some nice olives arrived, although our waitress attempted to remove them not many moments later, presumably in anticipation of our first course arriving. We asked for them to be allowed to stay. They were then removed after our first course – I was bored of the tug-of-war by then and let them go. I was asked three times by different waiting staff if I had chosen some wine, and three times I said I’d like to speak to the sommelier before choosing. Given the delay in ordering wine our first course inevitably arrived before the wine, which just shouldn’t be allowed to happen. Tap water arrived after the third time of asking. The food…. “Special” lobster, foie gras and green bean salad – the few small pieces of fish had more the appearance of crayfish tails, and completely lacked the rich flavour you get with a good mouthful of decent lobster. It came with a tiny tranche of foie gras and enough green beans to go with the Sunday roast. There was nothing “Special” about this dish. Crab cakes in a butter and tarragon sauce – these tasted entirely of butter, nothing of crab, and the two cakes were tiny – no more than a small mouthful each. Seafood broth – this delivered a slice of chilli of such potency in its first mouthful that my taste buds were suspended for the next fifteen minutes. The soup contained just one mussel and not much else; I couldn’t find any of the promised crab. Quenelles of gurnard – this was almost inedible; entirely devoid of taste – the lack of any intensity of flavour, a feature of the entire menu, reached its nadir here. I would defy anyone to find any flavour of fish in this dish. The texture was nothing less than awful – as though something had gone wrong in the preparation process. At some point, the second bottle of wine failed to arrive. Our waitress said that the piece of paper she wrote it on must have been misplaced – she told us that that happened sometimes. How many times does it have to happen before a different system is used? No more than once I would suggest. Fillet of turbot – nice fish but not much of it, which is fine on a tasting menu generally, but given how little food was on each of the previous three plates it would have been nice to have had a chance to get the teeth into something. It did come with a dish of eight small new potatoes, which was about right between us. The couple to my left also had the tasting menu – their turbot came with only two potatoes. How can the kitchen be that inconsistent? Strawberries, meringue and cream – this is the first tasting menu I have had featuring only one dessert (and it wasn’t as though there was any cheese). The main disappointment, however, was the complete lack of imagination applied in designing the one dessert (strawberries in a bowl with a spoonful of cream on top with a meringue plonked on top of that) – so disappointing. Then coffee, which was fine, and petit fours, which just about elevated themselves above a simple After Eight mint, but only just – one bland milk chocolate and a tiny sliver of pistachio biscotti – very poor indeed. Courses arrived almost instantly the previous course had been cleared, which is not an enjoyable way to eat and also suggests that the dishes were pre-prepared and just sitting there waiting to go out to whichever table taking the tasting menu happened to be ready for that course next. Even when we asked for a 10 minute break before dessert it arrived instantly. The overall quality of food was immensely disappointing. A tasting menu should showcase the talents of the best chefs in the kitchen and the best of the locally-sourced ingredients. This did neither. None of the dishes required any technical prowess, which is fine if the best ingredients are used and skill is applied in ensuring they are prepared beautifully and they deliver flavour and texture of top quality, but these dishes just didn’t deliver on any count. I imagined the most junior chef in the kitchen standing in the corner just mindlessly churning out tasting menus. Service was OK, apart from the observations already made, but generally it was not up to the standard expected of a restaurant charging these prices. The menu had to be left on our table so that the waiting staff didn’t need to learn it and explain each dish upon its arrival. We had a brandy and discussed the shortcomings of the restaurant with one of the more senior staff. We mainly talked about the ridiculous closeness of tables and he was in complete agreement, saying that he had had many complaints from customers and also that it made it difficult for his waiting staff, which it clearly did. He said that since the restaurant had been refurbished there had been much more focus from the business end of the management team on maximising revenues at the expense of the dining environment and experience. Finally, and not restaurant-related, but I have to mention this. The next day we visited Rick Stein’s deli and I was going to buy a couple of bottles of wine. The first one I looked at was a bottle of Guigal’s basic Cotes du Rhone (2004 vintage), which I often buy. This wine has been widely available in Majestic for many years, and its price varies between about £6 and £8. In the deli it was £21. Many deli customers will not know much about wine, and will be relying on Rick Stein’s perceived integrity and moral standards when purchasing anything from him. When paying £21 for a bottle in his shop they would rightly expect to pay roughly the same amount for that wine in any other shop (I would accept perhaps a pound or two extra here given the location). They certainly would not expect to be paying restaurant prices in the shop, and in no circumstances should be asked to do so. I can only imagine the mark-up on his own-brand wines.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 0.0

Sarah R. 02 October 2008

I don't think I've ever been so let down by a restaurant before. We travelled down to Padstow from London especially for our booking at the Seafood Restaurant which was made 3 months ago as I'm sure quite a few of their other diners do. Our booking was quite late at 10pm – we phoned ahead to ask if we could arrive early for drinks & were told not to arrive more than 15 minutes before our booking. Because of this warning, we arrived at 10pm & we were seated in the conservatory for drinks & our order was taken. We got to our table at 10.30pm & waited for another 30 minutes for our starters – which were lovely (turbot cheeks & tuna). The manager apologised for the late arrival of the starter & offered a discount for the meal. However, rather than keeping an eye on the food to our table, we were forgotten again!! This time our main course took nearly 45 minutes after our starters were cleared…AND were wrong when they arrived! We sent them back to the kitchen & given it was now nearly midnight, we felt it was too late to wait for the correct food & then eat given the time it had taken for our other dishes. So we went all the way to Padstow for starters!! In the whole it cost us, £100 in fuel then £250 for our hotel room, plus we took half a day’s holiday on Friday – all that just to eat starters. To top off this disappointing experience, after informing the staff of a food allergy I have to shellfish, I woke-up at 6.30am with a reaction to the food. I'll spare you the details about it, but it wasn't pleasant. I've never had this reaction at any other fish restaurant that I've been to as I always inform them, in case the stock they are using contains the offending shellfish. I did taste the other starter so perhaps that’s what caused it but I would’ve expected to be informed about any dishes that contained a food that any of the diners on my table were allergic to. It was a special treat for us to celebrate our birthdays earlier this year which we do every year – last year going to Gordon Ramsey at Claridges which was lovely. I wouldn't recommend going all the way to Padstow given my experience as it isn’t worth the risk when there are so many outstanding restaurants closer to home for many people wherever you are in the UK. Next time we'll be popping to J Sheekey instead! A very lovely fish restaurant in London. We're writing to the restaurant about our experience too so I'll share the outcome for anyone interested.

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