No.6 is a Michelin starred restaurant from Paul Ainsworth in the harbour town of Padstow in Cornwall. After watching him on Great British Menu cook some rather stunning looking dishes I knew whilst my gentleman companion and I were on holiday in Cornwall we’d have to pay him a visit – and we didn’t regret it.
The restaurant was unlike your typical seaside restaurant; slightly dated with lots of beige and pictures of fish on the walls. This dining room was very modern. It’s the sort of place I’d like my flat to look like – if I had a bit of money.
We were very kindly treated to a glass of pink fizz to kick things off which was the most perfect way to start lunch. This was quickly followed by some delightful bread. The rolls and olive sticks had a gloriously golden exterior which gave a great crunch. They were served with some whipped butter and cod roe sprinkled with crunchy pork crackling – it tasted as divine as it sounds!
Seeing as we were by the sea I decided to go for Porthilly oysters to start (£12). These were served deep fried and coated in breadcrumbs with some Granny Smith apple and fennel with a slice of perfectly greasy salami. The presentation was beautiful and made me want to dive in. The oysters were plump little beggars and the fatty salami cut through the sharp apple blissfully.
My gentleman companion’s blow torched mackerel, celeriac remoulade, Parma ham and cucumber (£11) was a seriously stunning plate of food. It was light, it was fresh, it was delicate – everything you could possibly want it to be. The quality of the fish and the way it was cooked was simply superb.
Paul then generously treated us to a taster portion of Herdwick hogget, potato pastilla, kidney, beetroot and salsa verde. Hogget is a young sheep which produces a darker more intense flavoured meat which which was evident here – seriously flavourful. The potato that encased it was spring roll-esque and added a lovely crunchy texture. The lambs liver was 30 shades of pink and not for the faint hearted – it had a strong flavour of iron which worked well with the richness from the hogget.
For main I opted for the baked Cornish Hake, saffron Milanese (basically a risotto), corn, chicken skin and Pedro Ximenez (£25). The fillet of hake was mahoosive and melted in my mouth like soft butter. The sweet corn purée that sat beneath was silky smooth and had a sweetness to it that was moreishly addictive. As there was no crispy fish skin some chicken skin sat on top of the fillet to add texture and boy oh boy was it AMAZING. It tasted more of chicken than any roast chicken I’ve ever eaten before; it was incredible. A little pot of saffron risotto filled with some chicken livers was a hearty addition which complimented the fish rather well.
My gentleman companion went for the Cornish saddle back pork, buttered turnips, crackling, scallop and cider apple (£27). Again presentation was clean and elegant and the dish looked really inviting. Both pieces of pork (one served medium rare) were as succulent as you could wish for and the plump juicy scallop was a nod to our seaside surroundings. The bitterness from the turnips and the sharpness from the apples cut through the beautiful crackling disc perfectly.
For dessert I couldn’t resist ordering Paul’s 2011 Great British Menu winning dessert ‘a trip to the fairground’ (£21 for two to share). By in large it was the best dessert we’ve ever had. I let out a yelp of delight as a rather large fairground cart was brought to the table filled with treats. Soft rectangular warm donuts dusted with sugar were delightfully light and delicate. Shards of honeycomb on lollipop sticks covered in chocolate and studded with popping candy was an explosion in my mouth of pure indulgence. The appearance of the marshmallow was only let down by the scrumptious hot toffee apple that sat atop of it and melted it slightly – but it tasted ruddy lovely. Our favourite was the little glass filled with peanut parfait, honeycomb and popcorn which would have been a winner of a dessert on its own.
If all that food wasn’t enough I convinced my gentleman companion that we should order the chocolate ‘cake’ with pistachio, caramac and dark chocolate sorbet (£9). This was mega indulgence of the very best kind – we were in a pudding frenzy! The ‘cake’ was topped with a chocolate disc which, when the caramac was poured on top, it melted and filled a cavity with the unctuous sauce. The pistachio cake was moist and the chocolate sorbet was at no point sickly. This was a really impressive dessert.
As you may be able to tell by now, we really enjoyed our lunch at No.6. We got to meet Paul briefly and he was a charming fellow who obviously has a lot of skill in the kitchen. Team that with his brilliant front of house – Alex the restaurant manager was one of the friendliest we’ve come across – and you’ve got yourself a really outstanding restaurant. It’s worth the trip to Cornwall for those puddings alone!