“Thank you cafe people!”

More from those all important restaurant critics, the under 12s, whose happiness can make or break a family occasion….

This is from Beau, who loved our ‘tree pudding’ (Petit Fours!)

My name is Beau and I am 5 and I went to the  Porthminster Beach Cafe with my Brother, Sister, Mummy and Daddy, Nanny and  Bampy, Uncle Alec and his fried Al.  I was really excited when I got there  because I’d been there once before and had Lobster with pinchy claws.  It  was  lovely sunny day and I saw lots of people on the beach through the  window by our table.  I had yummy garlic bread and pasta, I had some of  Daddy’s fish and chips and one of Al’s muscles, I really liked the muscle.   Then I had the Tree Pudding (Petit Fours) which was brilliant, I had the turkish delight and the chocolate peanut butter ball, I shared the tree with my brother and sister.  After lunch we sat at the outdoor table next to the barbecue  and the man cooking there gave us two clam shells.  I had a brilliant time that day, thank you cafe people.
Beau Fulker

And this from Beau’s sister Robin, who seems to have enjoyed all three courses!

Dear Porthminster  Beach Cafe, I am Robin and I am eight years old.  My family, me, my Uncle  Alec, my Nanny and Bampy, and my Uncle’s friend Al, came to your Beach  Cafe.  ell, the food, gosh, I have NEVER, EVER tasted such delicious food.  For my starters I had garlic bread.  But oh, it wasn’t any old  garlic bread, oh, no.  The crisp hot crust burned my tongue like fire burning a log.  For my main I had battered fish and red hot creamy  chips.  It was HUGE!  But that does not mean I can not empty it.   A minute later it was…… EMPTY!  Finally it was time for pudding.   I had the tree pudding (Petit Fours) and ice cream.  Here is a picture of  my little brother enjoying his pasta. 

Thank you for reading, yours  sincerely, Robin Fulker.

We hope you all return soon, so Beau and Robin can get the VIP treatment!

Tomato pasta going down well?

Food Critics Beware!

We’ve had a great response to our appeal for the next generation of food critics. We thought we’d share a few with you, in the hope that these lovely words inspire more of our younger visitors to write about their Porthminster adventures. All those posted will get the VIP treatment next time their sandy toes grace our terrace, so keep em’ coming!

Firstly from Jay, our guest since the age of 3, whose way with words left us all smiling 🙂

Dear Porthminster Beach Cafe  

The last time I came here was on my Mum’s 50th birthday and my Dad had gone birdwatching so it was just the two of us. We shared the Cornish Charcuterie platter which was delicious but Mum ate the pickles as I wasn’t keen on those. For mains I had a Crab Linguine  and this was the first place that I ate it at the age of 3 – now I’m 10 and can have a whole plate to myself instead of about 4 spoonfuls. Mum had fish and chips, she doesn’t eat it anywhere else and she likes dipping the chips in the sauces, I like eating the bits of rosemary off the top of the chips. I look forward to coming in September when we are bringing my Nanny and Granddad and some friends from Australia for the first time, I hope that they love it as much as I do.

Thank You for reading


Jay enjoying a surfing lesson at nearby Porthmeor

By popular demand – recipe from The Times 16/08/12

One of our latest creations – a dashi broth made from Cornish ingredients and served with line-caught mackerel – featured in The Times last week. For those who missed it, here’s the recipe, and some words on our exec chef Michael Smith:

“Chefs tend to be a peripatetic bunch, but Australian-born Michael Smith has stayed put for more than a decade. “It’s such a fantastic location. We have to pinch ourselves everyday when we look out the back door of the kitchen at this amazing vista of St Ives bay,” says Smith, who has won acclaim for putting an Asian and Mediterranean twist on Cornish ingredients.”

Line-caught mackerel with Cornish dashi broth

serves 4


25g sun-dried sugar kelp or dried kombu seaweed

50g dried flaked mackerel (this is semi-cured, smoked and dehydrated fresh mackerel fillets. Dried bonito flakes can also be used)

2 litres pure fresh water

1 live lobster (approx 450g)

4 whole mackerel fillets, butterflied with tail leftintact (you can get your fishmonger to do this for you)

8 hand-dived Cornish scallops, shelled and cleaned

12 Fowey mussels

12 Palourde surf clams

200g egg noodles

1 small chilli, thinly sliced

1 tsp fresh ginger, pulped

1 head Cornish greens or bok choi

4 spring onions, finely sliced


Put the kelp or kombu in a pan with the water, simmer for 10 minutes then cool to 80C. Add the mackerel or bonito flakes and steep in the stock for 5-10 minutes until they fall to the bottom. Strain through a muslin cloth and return to the heat. Boil until reduced by a third or until the flavour is to your satisfaction. Set aside.

Place the lobster in the freezer for 10 minutes then plunge into boiling salted water for 8-9 minutes. When cooled shell the lobster tail and claw meat and slice into chunks, reserving the legs in the shell for garnish.

Season the mackerel and push a toothpick through both fillets at the head end to create a small boat-like shape with the tail sticking up in the air. Place on a tray with a small ladle of the dashi stock added to it and cook in the oven for 4-5 minutes at 190C/ gas mark 5.

In a saucepan add the scallops, mussels and clams with the remaining dashi and bring to the simmer, then add the noodles, chilli, greens and ginger and reserved lobster meat including the legs and continue to simmer for three minutes.

Divide the noodles and greens between four large bowls and place a mackerel tail-up on top of each bowl. Ladle the dashi around the fish, while keeping the skin crisp. Divide the clams, mussels, scallops and lobster meat equally between the bowls.

At the restaurant, the dish is enhanced with pork-belly won tons and foraged samphire.

Reaping the rewards of sustainable fishing

In Cornwall, we have access to some of the best seafood in the world in terms of quality, freshness and diversity. And we’d like to keep it that way, which is why supporting sustainable fishing is so high on our agenda.

One company we work with is Wild Harbour, a family-owned business supplying 100% sustainable fish. Wild Harbour are part of the South West Hand Line Fisherman’s Association, which operates a scheme tracing fish back to the small vessel responsible for the catch. This pioneering supplier is also a member of the Responsible Fishing Scheme, and were first fish merchant to be approved by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Sustainability is about fishing methods (line-fishing has minimal environmental impact and waste) but also the species we choose to eat. For example cod has not featured on our menu for some time due to troubling stock levels.

“The simple explanation is that cod has been Europe’s favourite fish for 1,000 years. And it comes as no surprise that with modern technology, fishermen have become better, and more ruthless, at catching it.” – Rose Prince writing in the Daily Telegraph.

However here in the South West, we have one of the only cod stocks considered to be sustainable and we only use the hook and line method to catch them.

Sustainable cod on the menu this summer

Our head chef Tom Pryce came up with this summer special to do justice to Wild Harbour Line Caught Cod, featuring summer tomatoes, fennel, garden herbs and hand-dived scallops.

So if you’re visiting us soon you can enjoy the UKs most popular fish, knowing that it comes from a sustainable source.

Is your child a budding food critic?

At Porthminster Beach Café we are looking for a guest writer for our new blog and would love to get feedback from the younger generation! We’re taking inspiration from NeverSeconds, 9 year-old Martha Payne’s blog about her school meals, which went viral, attracting millions of views and gaining the support of Jamie Oliver.

Family-friendly dining by the beach

Of course we’re hoping a child’s experience of our beach-side café will be more colourful and exciting than Martha’s often rather drab school meals. For example did your little ones build up an appetite on the beach before-hand, try something new, fall in love with our fish and chips, and charm our wonderful waiting staff?! Perhaps you have some photos you’d like to share too.

So if you’ve visited Porthminster Beach Cafe recently with children and they’d like to write about the day (with as much or as little help from you!) please e-mail your story to info@porthminstercafe.co.uk marked ‘Guest Blog’ and your child could get the VIP treatment next time they visit!

To the lighthouse….

Across the bay from the café, Godrevy Lighthouse played host to an intriguing and unique art installation last week. Unfortunately Peace Camp 2012 wasn’t visible from our vantage point at Porthminster, as the artwork was tucked away on the other side of the island, so we decided to take a closer look.

Peace Camp 2012 at Godrevy

Peace Camp 2012 is part of the London 2012 Festival and was designed by Director Deborah Warner in collaboration with the actor Fiona Shaw. The brief was to create a coastal installation encircling the UK which celebrated it’s variety and beauty. What the team came up with was “eight murmuring, glowing encampments” which appeared simultaneously at some of our most beautiful and isolated coastal locations around the British Isles. Designed to be visited between dusk and dawn, the glowing, orange tents appeared on rocky promontories, beneath ruined castles, on remote pebbly beaches and nestled against white cliffs. At Godrevy, the tents were sited under the lighthouse. This was built in the 1850s after several shipwrecks occured off the rocks here.

“Only a stone’s throw out to sea, Godrevy Island takes the full force of the gales sweeping in from the Atlantic.  The Stones, a treacherous reef, extends outwards from the island across the bay towards St Ives.”

The lighthouse was manned by a team of two, until it was automated in 1939 and the lighthouse keepers left the island forever (it is now run on solar power.) Godrevy is said to be the inspiration for Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse. She had several family holidays in Cornwall, although the book was actually set in the Outer Hebribes.

Now the setting for one of the eight ‘camps’ encircling the UK, the tents on Godrevy were lit up like a sanctuary, the distance short but trecherous. As dusk gradually fell, the tents shone bright and brighter, the orange glow capturing the colour of the disappearing sun set.

Crowds gather from dusk till dawn….

We’re impressed with this new exciting age of art work in unexpected places, including last year’s Cornwall Design Season and Artsmine this year. Keep it coming and if anyone has ideas for an installation at Porthminster give us a shout!

150 Best Restaurants in the UK

Today The Good Food Guide, in conjunction with The Daily Telegraph, released a guide to 150 of the best restaurants in the UK. The selection was made from the 2012 edition of the guide, based on feedback from readers and backed up by anonymous expert inspectors.

Pigeon-holed as a “funky beach hangout”, Porthminster was described as reliably popular in the summer but also a great destination on a blustery winter’s day, when wave watching becomes a spectator sport.

The editors acknowledged the excellent seafood and also the great options for vegetarians.

“One successful lunch began with superb fried cuttlefish in citrus miso and went on to baked hake with white bean pureé, and what are confidently declared to be the best fish and chips to be found anywhere (beer-battered haddock with homemade tartare, and chips cooked with whole cloves of garlic and sprinkled with crisp-fried rosemary spikes.)”

The anonymous visitor also obviously felt the need to return for dinner and enjoyed “baked Pollack with spinach and a truffled egg-yolk parcel” amoungst other dishes, with our desserts and wine list also garnering praise.

The Cornish section of the guide also included our favourite local burger bar, Blas Burgerworks and gastro pub bolt-hole The Gurnard’s Head, as well as the top Michelin-starred dining rooms of Nathan Outlaw in Rock and Chris Eden at Driftwood over on the Roseland. Cornwall is definately the place to be for great food experiences this summer!

Welcome to our new blog

Here we’ll be keeping you up to date with all that’s new and exciting from our bustling café by the beach. It’s a unique place in many ways; a theatre of flavour, creativity, and frenetic activity, where the shifting seascape provides a constantly changing backdrop to many a memorable meal.

You can expect to hear from our passionate team of chefs, who are never happy unless they’ve perfected a new dish, discovered an ingenious new method, or strived all day to be rewarded with great feedback from customers.

That end result is what we all work towards, and yet it begins a long way beyond these white-washed walls. Quality, locally sourced produce has become such a commonly rolled-out phrase, yet it is the simple imperative for fresh and flavoursome cooking.

Lobster Pot, near Zennor

Here you’ll discover how we take this mantra to new levels, pushing our own boundaries and often counting our food metres rather than miles. The kitchen garden is developing and surprising us with every season that passes, and foraging from our location offers exciting possibilities which motivate our chefs to explore the coastal path each day; risking life and limb in pursuit of pennywort. Finally our commitment to sustainable fishing grows, as the immensity of the decline in fish stocks is fully realised and the issue comes to the fore of conservation agendas worldwide.

Our location is unique, looking out over St Ives Bay towards Godrevy Lighthouse, a view which of course inspires great literature and art, as well as great cooking. So please indulge us whilst we also write about St Ives itself and (some of) what we get up to in this light-enhanced little town in Cornwall.