Having set up Prawn on the Lawn in London N1, owners Rick and Katie Toogood next decamped to Padstow to open a Cornish branch of their neat little outfit – a nifty combination of a traditional fishmongers with an on-trend seafood bar.
Like the original, this place keeps it simple with slate floors, tiles, stools by the counter and a big oak barrel in the middle of the room if you fancy standing to enjoy a couple of plates and a few cold beers. Oysters and splendid seafood platters on ice are the fixtures (with hunks of home-baked soda bread), but it’s also worth checking the blackboard for the day’s small plates which are dictated by whatever their suppliers catch at sea – perhaps whole Padstow brown crab or a platter packed with mussels, cocktails, clams, langoustines and more treasures from the surrounding coastal areas. There might also be a hot dish such as whole crispy Red Mullet cooked over coals and simply served with lemon and olive oil, sweet scallops in a fragrant Thai marinade or ray wing with olives and chilli for those who need some fire in their bellies. Wines are thoughtfully chosen and be sure to try the Bloody Marys if you’re nursing a slightly sore head from the night before (or even if you’re not), they’re wonderfully savoury and nearly a meal in themselves.
Service is fast-paced but friendly, with staff knowing their stuff on all things seafood. Despite its casual set-up you are able to book, which might be music to London-living diners, but they have table turnaround times. For a table of four they require your spot back within two hours, going up to two and a half hours for a table of six.
For a last word on this restaurant’s feel-good-factor, while dining here you’ll be asked to pay a discretionary £1 donation to the National Lobster Hatchery, who work on marine conservation.