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Wild Weather, Fantastic Fish and a Win at “Port Wenn”

Posted by on April 29, 2012

After a solid, restful sleep we awoke to the sounds of a ferocious gale and rain – unseasonal (lol, apparently) easterly winds were set in and driving rain horizontally at the mainland – lovely day to go touring we said.

It was cold, and to be honest I would much rather have stayed in bed but we dashed to the car, got drenched and cold to the bone in the 1.5 minute journey but turned on the heater, de-mister, wipers, lights, (scuba tank) and headed out on the roads – destination, Padstow.

We had a booking with Rick Stein at noon, so we’re determined to explore the town first, this proved to be challenging as the wind and rain intensified on the northern coast of Cornwall

The township is small but enthusiastically preparing for “May Day” by decking the quirky town lanes and local maypole with bunting and decorations in anticipation of better weather.

It was bitterly cold, 4 degrees, and the wind chill factor made my hands burn and the rain sting. We decided to get a cup of tea (as much to warm us up as to get us out of the weather) and took refuge in a cafe for a little while. After purchasing fudge and other un-necessaries we braved the gale and got drenched again walking to Rick Steins Seafood Restaurant.

After cloaking coats and raincoats, we were ushered into a warm glass atrium and offed menus and sherry, very warming. Today’s menu contained so many things we would have liked to try

We made our choices, supped sherry then were shown to our table. The restaurant was elegant, relaxed and the staff made us feel very welcome.

Our starters arrived in a timely manner and were absolutely delicious

Jo had Goujons of Lemon Sole with a salsa verde mayonnaise and I had John Dory on leek and bacon sautée with a Beaujolais reduction. Presentation was only outdone by the taste, very yummy indeed. I would normally peel the skin off cooked fish before eating it but even that was delicious.

Our wine was lovely, I had a Pinot Grigiot and Jo had a Reisling. Plates cleared and our Mains arrived and … Wow!

Jo had Black Bream with tomato and vanilla vinaigrette and I had baked fillet of Hake on a bed of lentils. We ordered a side of glazed carrots and another of chunky hand-cut chips (possibly the most expensive chips we have ever eaten). The meal was superb, perfectly cooked, you could taste all of the ingredients and the balance,with the wine, was sublime.

We went for complete indulgence and had dessert – Jo had vanilla cheesecake with macerated strawberries and I had the orange creme brûlée. Perfect end to a fantastic meal.

Tummies happy, merry from the wine we decided to power on and seek out the legendary “Port Wenn” of Doc Martin fame (we both loved that show). After a tiny bit of research we discover much of external location shots for this fictitious township were done at Port Isaac, so headed there.

As we arrived, the rain stopped, the wind calmed and we explored a lovely seaside village recognizing much of the town:

The site of the “school” is actually a restaurant and gallery but easily recognizable – clever camera angles exclude surrounding buildings.

Naturally we trudged up the hill to the ‘Docs’ place, and also poked around the many narrow, quirky side streets, taking dozens of photos to bore you with later. We gaped in the window of Mrs Tischells dispensary (a souvenir and nick nack shop), looked down on the terrace used for Large’s restaurant and generally acted like tourists, as you do. It is clear why location scouts chose this village, it is so typically Cornish fishing village

The wind picked up, the rain returned and we retreated to the car and drove home to get warm and dry. The Port Isaac bay was protected from the wild seas by harbour walls but even in the rain and wind it was worth the visit.

Another brilliant day in sunny (not) Cornwall. More adventures tomorrow.

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