Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

Gold Award
££££
British, Fish

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
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SquareMeal Review of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

Gold Award

“The ultimate in classy fish cuisine” and “an all-time favourite”, Nathan Outlaw’s regularly proves why it’s up there with the very best in the business. Michelin’s definition of a two-star establishment ‘as excellent cooking that is worth a detour’ couldn’t be better exemplified than this dining room, where the restaurant’s seafront setting and fabulous views of the north Cornish coast 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”.

All in all, this is “fish like you’ve never had before”, while the beautifully calibrated displays are backed by studiously matched wines, “expertly chosen by one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers in the country”. Service, meanwhile, cleverly balances sociability with impressive expertise while remaining “perfect and unstuffy” – and if you book a seat at the Kitchen Bar right in the middle of action, you’ll get to see the chefs up close and personal.

Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is a tour de force – “a truly outstanding dining experience, and one to treasure.”

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Cuisines
British, Fish
Ambience
Fine dining, Quiet conversation, Romantic, Widely spaced tables
Other Awards
SquareMeal UK Top 100, Two Michelin stars
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Great views, Waterside
Special Features
Counter dining
People
Celebrations, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

Location for Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

6 New Road, Port Isaac, Cornwall, PL29 3SB

01208 880896

Website

Opening Times

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

Reviews of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw

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15 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

michael B

05 April 2019  
Simply the best seafood restaurant using the freshest and highest quality fish and seafood in simple, friendly surroundings.

Paul A

01 April 2019  
For some reason your system prevented me from posting my latest comments on this restaurant, which is a great shame as it remains one of our all-time favourites. The supreme quality of the cooking is evident right from the start with Nathan Outlaw's talent for curing fish through the signature Porthilly sauce dish, thankfully restored to the menu after an unfortunate episode with Michelin. The service is perfect and unstuffy and the wines selected expertly by one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers in the the country.

Charles G

29 March 2019  
Fish like you've never had before. Great service. An experience to treasure.

Paul A

Nathan is the master
15 November 2018  
This was our nth visit, and the reason we keep returning, despite Port Isaac being a good four hours from where we live, is that we know that the dining experience will be a joy with exceptional cuisine and front of house backed up by an exceptional and truly international choice of wines and one of the best views in the country. The flow and balance of the menu is first class and the interplay of tastes and textures second to none. How Nathan Outlaw manages to produce such an array of dishes, different every time we dine here, and without resorting to meat mains, is almost beyond belief. The cod’s roe scones and cheesy flaky pastry were ideal canapés to go with champagne and led us into the two amuse-bouches, beautifully cured monkfish with smoked almonds and almond sauce and sensational soused carrot, and raw mackerel with fennel, spring onion and, of all things, some ginger which made for a surprising flavour treat. The speciality of red mullet and a “Port Isaac” crab dressing, which could not have had better seasoning, was out of this world, and the salt cod dish with wonderful parsnip crisps and purée, which added a lovely sweet element to balance the salt cod, had a surprise addition in the form of some locally sourced oxtail, making this something of a surf and turf adventure. The king of fish was immaculate and its courtiers, roasted seaweed, garlic mashed potato, leeks and a creamy hollandaise with capers played up beautifully to the royalty on display. Just the one dessert, a peerless poached pear tart with its filo pastry teasing the palate and Earl Grey ice cream and boozy raisins bringing a cheeky extra sweetness to the dish. We have recently enjoyed excellent meals at the restaurants of two of Nathan Outlaw’s protégés but we are convinced that Nathan is still the master. Good Food Guide’s 10 out of 10 rating is wholly justified.
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Paul A

None better
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.
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Paul A

Simply the best
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
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Paul A

Michelin fails again
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.
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Mike B

05 May 2017  
Fabulous food, fabulous location, very attentive service, including from Nathan himself, and a very helpful and knowledgeable sommelier.

Paul A

Still the best
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.
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Paul A

Unbeatable
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.
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