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The St Enodoc Hotel, ROCK, Wadebridge, PL27 6LA
The Nathan Outlaw brand goes from strength to strength: like many a canny contemporary chef he's not shy of spreading his name far and wide via appearances in the Beeb's Great British Menu and other armchair foodie slots on the telly, but the celeb stuff doesn't get in the way of cooking fish in a masterly manner. His empire now encompasses venues in London and Port Isaac, but the serious business goes on in his full-works, namesake flagship in The St Enodoc Hotel. This boutique gem is done out with an understated minimal look involving neutral tones, tasteful art, and an edge of metropolitan chic. Nothing other than sumptuous views over the Camel Estuary distracts from the creative and intelligent work that leaves the kitchen. The concept behind this intimate operation is to let the top-class Cornish materials speak eloquently for themselves, helped along, naturally, with high-flying technique and an innate sense of what works with what. Choosing what to eat is easy: since most diners see this as something of a foodie pilgrimage, there's just a single fish and seafood-only tasting menu, plus a veggie alternative. Squid is matched with cauliflower and bacon, before raw scallops pointed up with celeriac and tarragon. Lemon sole could come with oyster, Jerusalem artichoke and dill for your third course, followed by cod along with kohlrabi, curry and broccoli. Next, turbot on the bone with pickled mushrooms and sprout tops makes an entertaining play of texture and flavours, then Ragstone goats' cheese with beetroot and walnuts, perhaps, to serve as a bridgehead to a brace of desserts - blood orange curd with rhubarb and crumble, then pear tart with hazelnuts and yogurt. If you're seeking a more unbuttoned alternative, Outlaw's Restaurant serves a 3-course seasonal menu to go with those sublime watery views.
Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: Xmas, Jan
Days closed for lunch: all week
Cooking type: Modern British, Seafood
Chef: Nathan Outlaw, Chris Simpson
Number of seats: 22
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
No children under 12 yrs.
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The problem with dining more than once at a restaurant of the class of Restaurant Nathan Outlaw is that one's treasury of superlatives becomes exhausted. When we ate there in June on the occasion of my wife's birthday we were quite clear that it was quite simply, a three-star, 10/10 dining experience. Staggeringly, this was just as true again this time.
Reviewer: acko_10, Winchester
Visited: 18 September 2013