Wild Harbour

Sustainability is a priority here at the beach. We are continually pushing the boundaries in an attempt to neutralise our impact on the environment and, wherever possible, to have a positive effect on our surroundings.

One example is our policy on sourcing fish. We have done our best to research the most sustainable options available, and have built our menu around seasonality, life cycles and an evolving understanding of local fish stocks.

fish

One company we are lucky enough to work with is Wild Harbour. Based in Hayle just across St Ives Bay, Wild Harbour supply 100% sustainable fish from their own boat and other small Cornish fishing vessels. Each fish is traceable back to the fisherman who caught it, as Wild Harbour is part of the Southwest Handline Fishermen’s Association which operates a tagging scheme. The company is also commited to paying fishermen a fair price for their efforts.

Wild Harbour was the brain-child of Saul and Abi Astrinsky, who explained their relationship with Porthminster:

“The Porthminster Beach Cafe has been part of the journey for Wild Harbour right from the beginning – from before we existed actually!  When Saul was fishing full time he used to drop Mick some Sea Bass from time to time and it was the enthusiasm of Mick and his team for the quality, freshness and most of all our sustainable roots, that made us think that perhaps Wild Harbour could become a reality.”

It’s fantastic to work with a local business who share our ethos so perfectly. Abi from Wild Harbour explained further:

“We believe that the sustainability and traceability of our fish is of the utmost importance.  We only supply wild, sustainably caught fish from the local inshore fleet and every individual fish or shellfish is traceable back to the fisherman who caught it.  We also believe that our handpicked, in shore fishermen are special! They keep their fish to such a high standard, that we choose to set a fair price for their fish and keep this throughout the year.”

Respecting the breeding seasons of certain species and relying on less intensive fishing methods means that our menu has to be adaptable to change. Daily specials allow us to make the most of a fresh haul, whilst we take species off the menu if stocks are low and therefore in danger of not being properly replenished.

mackerel

Our Sea Bass, Mackerel, Pollock and several other species are supplied by Wild Harbour. We hope that by supporting the sustainable fishing industry, Cornwall’s fish stocks can be managed responsibly to meet the needs of locals and visitors, at home and in restaurants, to enjoy in years to come.

The Times – 20 best places to eat by the beach

Porthminster Beach Cafe was surprised and thrilled to be included in this feature in The Times (Thurs 8th August). Chosen by top chefs, the places picked from around the coast were a diverse range of architecturally impressive Beach Cafes, old-world pubs and classic brasseries.

Executive Chef Mick Smith and Head Chef Ryan Venning were both very pleased to have been singled out from so many great place to eat by the seaside. Ryan commented “The whole kitchen team work so hard on a day to day basis, especially at this time of year. This kind of recognition has given us a great boost and put a little spring in our step today.”

Here is Porthminster’s entry in full:

Porthminster Cafe

St Ives, Cornwall

“Aussie chef Mike Smith forages on the nearby coastal path for ingredients for his wildly eclectic menu at this casual beach-side cafe that has high culinary ambitions. Feast on air-dried Cornish duck ham with compressed melon, nastursium and fennel followed by a roasted whole lemon sole with white crab and tomato, cucumber and vanilla salsa while taking in the wonderful St Ives bay views.”

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Fellow Cornish restaurants The Hidden Hut, Fifteen Cornwall and Outlaw’s in Rock were also included in the list of top spots.

Summer by the Sea

Summer is upon us and the Cafe is a hive of activity from morning to night, as it’s white-washed walls bulge contentedly at the seams with a constant stream of staff, deliveries and guests. Amidst the mountain of prep, we grabbed a few minutes with Executive Chef Michael Smith, to find out what’s on the menu this summer….

Garden

“At the moment the garden is giving us an abundance of rhubarb, globe artichokes and watercress, sage, mint and fennel. The blackcurrants and raspberries are just ripe; the pastry chefs couldn’t wait to get their hands on them! We also have some gooseberries and there is plenty of elderflower to be found in the garden and beyond – our dessert special tonight is Elderflower & Raspberries, with Puff Pastry, Creme Patisserie and Gooseberries.”

summer

Foraging

“There’s plenty of common mallow, wild mustard, wood sorrel and pennywort around, as well as edible flowers for garnishes. We’re also using a supplier called Foodswild for things like purslane which we love using.”

Fish

“With lots of day-boats going out at the moment, we’re receiving excellent quality whole fish from our suppliers straight off those boats. This means an awful lot of filleting but it’s worth it! Line-caught sea bass and pollock from Wild Harbour is particularly good at the moment, and local stocks of cod and mackerel are strong and currently regarded as sustainable. The majority of fish we are using is handline-caught. We’re lucky enough to have lobster all the time at the moment too.”

Pastry

“Our Pastry Section is going great guns, with loads of creativity flying around! The guys have reinvented some of our classics, such as Caramalized Bananas and Naked Chocolate Brule, and put some absolute triumphs on as specials, including Deconstructed Jaffa Cakes!”

Blackcurrant Dessert Special

Blackcurrant Dessert Special

We hope to see you down at the beach this summer. And remember, if we happen to be full for lunch and dinner, you can now visit us for breakfast instead!

Cornish Crab & Mussel Linguine

A recipe from ‘Porthminster Beach Cafe – The Cookbook’ to tantalise your taste buds this weekend.

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This is one of Michael’s favourite recipes and a really popular dish on the menu at the restaurant; it goes down a storm at lunch on a sunny day, accompanied by a glass of Rosé! Michael says “this classic combination of simple ingredients – chilli, lemon, garlic and parsley – works so well with the crab and mussels here.”

Cooking technique is very important in getting this dish right. Using fish stock can be a bit strong and make the crab overpowering so we use chicken stock instead, which gives a rounded flavour to the dish.

Serves four

Ingredients

120g picked white crabmeat

350g dried linguine

100ml mild olive oil

40 mussels

2 red chillies, deseeded and finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped garlic

300ml light chicken stock

Juice of 2 lemons

Half a bunch of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

First pick through crabmeat to make sure it’s free from any bits of shell. Scrub the mussels under running water and remove any grit and pull off the little ‘beards’.

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the linguine, cook as per instructions until al-dente.

Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to take all the mussels comfortably, heat the olive oil, add the mussels and stir until they begin to open. Next add the chilli and garlic and cook till softened, stirring regularly, do not let them brown. Add the chicken stock and lemon juice to the pan and bring it to the boil.

Drain the pasta and reserve a little of the cooking water. Add the drained pasta to the mussels with the parley and crabmeat and toss together until everything is evenly mixed – loosen with a little of the cooking water if the pasta looks too dry. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

The book will be available to buy from the 18th May, from the restaurant and online (and at the St Ives Food and Drink Festival, taking place over the weekend 18th and 19th May).

 

Porthminster Beach Cafe – The Cookbook

It’s not long now until our much-anticipated cookbook is finally published. Launched on the weekend of the St Ives Food and Drink Festival on the 18th & 19th May, the book contains signature recipes as well as stunning photography, celebrating both our food and unique surroundings.

cover

Executive Chef Michael Smith is very excited to see his dreams in print:

“I’ve wanted to produce this book for a while.  The time feels right and I have the people around me to make it happen.  I have included some of the most popular dishes enjoyed at Porthminster Beach Café, simplified so that they will be achievable for anyone interested in food – so the book should have a wide appeal.  This isn’t a chef’s cookbook, but a lifestyle book for everyone that loves Cornwall, its breath-taking scenery and food.”

Mick2The book highlights the wealth of local produce Michael has at his finger tips, and the ways in which he uses the restaurant’s garden and foraged ingredients to add another dimension to his food. “I hope that those recreating the dishes in their homes will have easy access to many of the ingredients, growing them for themselves or shopping locally – encouraging low food miles and sustainable thinking.”

The book will be available from the restaurant from the 18th May onwards and will also be on sale at the festival, which for the first time this year is taking place on our doorstep on the beach itself. You will also be able to buy your copy from local book stores in St Ives and online from our website at www.porthminstercafe.co.uk.

Next week – a recipe teaser from the book – watch this space!

 

The St Ives Food and Drink Festival 2013

We are very excited at Porthminster Beach to be hosting this year’s St Ives Food and Drink Festival, taking place 18th and 19th May. Now in it’s fourth year, the festival is a fantastic celebration of St Ives’ unique location – a true mecca for local and seasonal food from both sea and land, as well as home to many passionate food personalities.

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During the weekend, visitors can meet chefs, producers, farmers, foragers, brewers and many more. The festival will be thoroughly interactive, going beyond the usual schedule of cooking demonstrations with mini cooking classes, encouraging young and old to get involved and get their hands dirty. The little ones can learn to make their own pasties, whilst grown-ups discover the rewards of foraging on the beach and coastal path with expert ecologist Caroline Davey of Fat Hen. Rory McPhee will show groups of enthusiasts how to collect seaweed and use it in their cooking, and there are even fishing trips planned from the beach, weather permitting.

In a marquee on the beach itself, you can taste the finest food and drink from St Ives and its surroundings.

“From wine, cider and beer producers, to chocolate and cheese makers, fruit and vegetable growers and meat, chutneys, curry and bread all produced in Cornwall, the food producers market at the St Ives Food and Drink festival is sure to delight the taste buds.”

As well as all this, Porthminster Beach Cafe will be running an Oyster and Champagne Bar during the festival, and there will be plenty of live music to encourage that festival atmosphere!

For more information, including travel and parking advice, visit www.stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk and look out for our Exec Chef Michael Smith who is lined up for a cooking demo.

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The St Ives Food and Drink Festival is sponsored by Aspects Holidays and Tregenna Castle Hotel.

Fifteen Farmers Market, Autumn 2012

Porthminster’s Executive Chef Michael Smith teamed up with friend Ryan Venning of The Herring for an inspiring demo at this year’s Fifteen Farmer’s Market.

The pair served up a treat for an audience of food lovers, creating a traditional Japanese Dashi Broth entirely from Cornish ingredients. “We’re having a bit of fun and going for a ‘rock pool’ effect as the end result,” explained Ryan, who prepared wonton’s coloured with squid ink to create a pebble-dash effect. These were stuffed with corriander, lime, chilli and ginger.

Ryan lets Michael do the talking!

Michael explained that many ingredients similar to those used to create a Dashi Broth in Japan could be found within the immediate surroundings of the beach café. For example sugar kelp from the shore line is now picked, boiled and dried and replaces Japanese kombu in the dish. Mackerel from St Ives bay is dried and used instead of bonito flakes.

Adapting local ingredients saves thousands of airmiles

Michael and Ryan added native oysters from Porthilly, local Lobster, mussels and clams, as well as some sea lettuce and foraged samphire to the broth. For a similar recipe and more details on how this Cornish Dashi was created, see our earlier recipe post.

Finishing touches

The audience were keen to have a try!

Thanks to Matthew Stevens and Son, who provided the local seafood for this dish. Ryan Venning is head chef at The Herring, located at Bedruthan Steps Hotel, Mawgan Porth.

Launching our ‘Signatures Menu’

We’ve created a new way to enjoy eating at Porthminster for the autumn and winter season. Find out more below, and don’t forget it’s easy to book online, so why not come and see us in St Ives?

Our award-winning Fish and Chips

Our new Signatures Menu was created for lunch and early evening, inspiring you to enjoy St Ives in all its glory and have a delicious, great value meal before heading home. It’s also a chance to try some of our favourite dishes for less. Starters include hearty, warming soups and our favourite – Salt and Spice Squid, as well as vegetarian dishes featuring delicious seasonal ingredients. For mains, as well as our famous Fish and Chips, you can tuck into Sticky Pork, Seafood Linguine or Sumac Spiced Goats Cheese Tart. If you’re holding out for dessert, why not try our Naked Chocolate Crème Brulee or a new season Apple Crumble with Lemon and Chamomile Ice Cream.

Two courses are just £17.95. Running throughout the autumn and winter, the Signatures Menu is available at lunch Tues – Fri, and dinner Thursday & Friday for tables booked up to and including 7.00pm.

Don’t tell everyone, but St Ives is stunning out of season!

Call 01736 795352 to check details or to talk to one of our team about your reservation.

Autumn at Porthminster

The autumn months may be a little quieter as the hustle and bustle of summer in Cornwall subsides, but it’s also the time of year which gives the chefs in our kitchen new impetus. Fresh ideas inspired by the changing season are dreamed up and refined, whilst signature dishes are slowly perfected. Below our Executive Chef Michael Smith tells us more about what’s on the menu this autumn. 

Executive Chef Michael Smith is busy reworking menus

“Autumn is a great time for us chefs and we’re doing some exciting things at Porthminster this year. Firstly we have refined the menu a little to focus and perfect our signature dishes – those that really reflect our style and ethos. For example our fish and chips are now served with hand-cut chips, triple cooked in duck fat. Porthminster Fish & Chips has won many awards in the past, but we now think they’re better than ever! Seafood Linguine is back, heaped with Cornish crab, mussels, squid and prawns and of course our Monkfish curry is as good as ever.

Delicious red mullet is on the menu once again, landed by day boats at Cadgwith Cove on The Lizard Peninsula. Earlier in the year Monty Hall’s series The Fisherman’s Apprentice highlighted the importance of eating local, sustainably caught seasonal fish; an ethos which benefits global fish stocks, local fisherman and the consumer. This has long been at the heart of what we do here and it’s fantastic to see sustainable fishing high on the agenda. Our red mullet is poached in coconut milk and served with white crab, compressed cucumber and celery salad, with jasmine rice and lime.

Other favourites you’ll still find on the menu include Salt & Spice Squid, Sticky Pork Belly and our Dashi Broth. The latter is made entirely with ingredients from our immediate surroundings, including foraged kelp and mackerel caught just out in the bay.

There are some new, richer dishes to try as the cold nights draw in. Our Cornish White Fish Soup is hearty and warming and our mussels are now served with the earthier flavours of Cornish cider, wild sorrel, nettles and tomato. We’re also pretty happy with our take on that English classic, the apple crumble! It’s served with lemon and chamomile ice cream, and of course a scoop of clotted cream in a nod to tradition.

Availability of local fish depends on weather conditions

Refining the menu in this way also means we can concentrate more on daily specials which make the most of the freshest fish of the day. Being a little quieter means we can be ultra adaptable – if a local boat hauls a fantastic catch it can go straight on the menu that evening. However sometimes as the weather gets rough at this time of year the boats can’t get out, that just means we serve more red meat and game as specials: we don’t have to compromise on quality. I’m excited about getting some fantastic partridge, pheasant and venison in shortly.

It’s a stunning time of year to be in St Ives. We’ve been having bright, blustery days recently and the town and beach look at their best in many ways. I’m really envious of people visiting St Ives when it’s like this!”

Coming soon – eat out for less with the early diners menu, plus the exciting new Porthminster Tasting Menu will be available in early November. Watch this space!

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

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD:

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.