Food Mag Readers Awards 2014

The annual food Reader Awards are voted for exclusively by the public, so they are a great reflection what is really going on right now in the food and drink scene across the South West.

Food Reader awards logo

In 2013 we were lucky enough to scoop the Best Cafe award, and we promised you we were going to try even harder to impress you this year! So, if you’ve enjoyed visiting us, please take a moment to vote for Porthminster Beach Cafe, either as your favourite restaurant or cafe, we’re not fussy. There are also awards for the best wine list and, don’t tell him we said this, but isn’t it time Michael Smith won Best Chef?!

Voting has opened for the shortlist and closes on November 21st. Then on December 1st the  finalists will be announced in each category and you’ll be able to vote for them until the end of January.

Ladies and gentlemen, cast your votes!

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.”


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

A Wild Adventure

Well done to all those brave souls who took part in our first Forage & Feast Day on the 11th March. The weather was remarkably cold, but the baltic temperatures didn’t deter this gathering of intrepid wild food enthusiasts, who joined ecologist Caroline Davey of Fat Hen for several hours foraging along the coast path and on the beach itself, gathering wild leaves, seaweed and other edibles. The group then returned to the café for a much-needed, warming four course meal, prepared by Executive Chef Michael Smith using various foraged ingredients.

The aptly-named Navelwort....

The aptly-named Navelwort….

Journalist and blogger Ismay Atkins, who has written a review of the day on her blog Pasties and Cream, described the collaboration between Fat Hen and Porthminster Beach Café as “an inspired partnership”. Caroline is the ultimate approachable expert, on hand with “all manner of information on her wild food walks, delivered with wit, historical context and ecological authority, and a peppering of cooking tips” whilst Michael’s “creative, fresh, delicate food” brings out the most of these wild flavours. You can read the full article here.

Searching for seaweed....

Searching for seaweed….

One more Forage & Feast Day is planned this spring, on the 25th March, with only two places still available. There are two more dates in the diary for a similar autumn experience – click here to find out more.

Success in the Food Mag Readers Awards!

It was a wonderful end to 2012 when, just as our annual closure kicked in early this month, Porthminster came away with the award for ‘Best Cafe’ at the Food Mag Readers Awards.

The team at Porthminster were over the moon to hear that readers of the magazine, which covers the whole of the South West, picked the beach cafe out in such a strong category. Runners-Up included Toast in Honiton, Bel Green in Exeter, the Duchy of Cornwall Nursery Cafe and Relish in Wadebridge.

The award recognised Porthminster Beach Cafe for its fantastic food, served in a relaxed and friendly environment. Voters also loved the way the Cafe makes the most of its stunning location, cultivating fresh herbs and vegetables in its small garden, foraging on the coastal path and championing sustainable fishing practices.

“2012 has been a great season, especially given the tough economic times,” said owner and Executive Chef Michael Smith. “We’re thrilled to win this award and we would like to thank everyone who voted for us. It’s down to the amazing team we have here, in the kitchen and out-front, and everyone behind the scenes. We have so much that is new and exciting planned for 2013 and this, along with a damn good rest, will give us a kick start!”

In its second year, the awards received thousands of votes as South West food-lovers shared their favorite places to eat, drink and shop across the region. An online voting system allowed consumers to vote quickly and easily for their best pubs, cafes, retailers, restaurants, hotels, local food and drink producers and chefs.

In the ceremony held at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall was named as local food hero and best chef was Emily Scott of The Harbour Restaurant in Port Isaac. Best restaurant went to Ben’s Cornish Kitchen in Marazion, and best Foodie Hotel to Watergate Bay.

After letting their hair down in the sun or snow variously, the Porthminster team will return next month, with lots in store for 2013. Watch this space!

“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