[Cornwall, England] The View – For the Love of Scallops

14 06 2011

I love the waking to the sounds of seagulls and the distant baa-ing of sheep. Throw in the breathtaking coastal view and that’s more or less what I would call living the life. Located on the high cliffs of Whitsands Bay, The View provides just such the setting.

Though it’s slightly off the beaten track, distance and uhloo-ness has proven not to be an obstacle for The View, which has garnered quite a number of accolades over the past few years and sees a full house even on weekday dinners.

Highly recommended by the staff, 3 of us all had the Seared Scallops, Asparagus & Chorizo Cassoulet (8.50GBP) for starters. I’m a huge fan of scallops and I’m pleased to say that these were the best scallops I have ever had! Plump and sweet, the seasoning and searing were both executed perfectly. I was seriously contemplating having seconds at that time but decided against it in the end, and now I’m kind of regreting it 😦

Anyway, I have a question regarding scallops. You know the raw ones we see at buffet lines? There always seems to be the red/orange colour “stomach” attached to the white scallop, which is also attached to the cooked scallops as seen below. What portion of the scallop is that? Is it the roe or intestines or something? And why is it that its almost always removed when scallops are sold in markets? Anyone care to enlighten me?

I felt that the mains were much of a disappointment after the stellar appetizer. Of the 2 mains we tried, I preferred the Roast Turbot, Razor Clams, & Butter Samphire (19.50GBP), which was fresh but came across as slightly bland. The waiter was hyping up the Samphire and about how it’s a seasonal seaweed but it didn’t taste that awesome.


On the other hand, my Grilled Monkfish, Pickled Beetroot with Goat’s Cream Cheese (18.50GBP) was rather muscular and chewy. The pickled beetroot added an unpleasant aftertaste to the fish. Ironically, the side of grilled sweet potatoes that accompanied this dish was what shone for this dish.


The View’s signature dessert is the Hot Chocolate Mousse with Pistachio Ice Cream (6.50GBP). I think of it much like an oversized and slightly undercooked chocolate fondant, where the crisp outer layer is thinner than usual with an almost completely molten core. The Pistachio Ice Cream took a little getting used to but pulled through towards the end.

If possible, perhaps you might be better off asking for 3 scallop appetizers, no mains and 1 dessert as your meal. I’m sure you will have a blast!

Bon Appetit!

THE VIEW 

TRENINNOW CLIFF ROAD, MILLBROOK, CORNWALL, PL101JY

TEL: 01752822345

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[Cornwall, England] The Seafood Restaurant – The Difference between UK, England & Britain

10 06 2011

When my friends asked me where I had traveled to for summer, I was in a bit of a predicament. I had spent a week in London and had taken a road trip 500km down south to the coastal region of Cornwall. As most people haven’t really heard of Cornwall, I’d normally just tell them I had travelled to UK but then I thought to myself, “What’s the difference between UK, England, Britain and Great Britain?”. Doesn’t it all mean the same thing?

Well apparently, it doesn’t…as I found out today.

England is a country, UK and Britain are a union of countries (eg European Union) and that’s why we don’t see UK or Britain as participants in the World Cup or Olympics. UK is a union of the 4 countries comprising England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland whereas Britain aka Great Britain is a union of 3 countries comprising England, Scotland and Wales. Hope this clarifies a common misconception.

Anyway, one wouldn’t normally think of England as a place for surfing, wine tasting or doing a farm stay but all these activities can be accomplished in Cornwall. The seawater here is really clean, and just like in Porto, I found abalone growing rampant along the seashore (it’s the numerous white shells clinging to the rock in the picture).

Arriving at The Seafood Restaurant after a 500km drive from London, we were absolutely famished and we couldn’t wait to get our taste buds aroused by Rick Stein’s flagship restaurant.

The setting of the place is classy yet cosy. Food here doesn’t come cheap and a 3-course ala carte dinner would probably set you back 60-70GBP, excluding drinks. Yet despite such high barriers to entry, you’d be lucky to get a seat without making prior reservations, which goes to show the appeal and high standards that have been set through the 30 odd years that The Seafood Restaurant has been in operation.

This had to be our longest dinner ever, stretching almost 4 hours from 9pm to almost 12.30am, but I’d say it was worth the wait. CW had the 6-Course tasting menu while N and myself settled for ala carte. The staff tried to sync our starters and mains but I guess that meant N and myself had to wait slightly longer for our courses to be served together with CW’s. Didn’t try much of the tasting menu but I did take some pics.

Complimentary Bread, Olives and atas butter

Complimentary Salmon Cakes

A Salad of Octopus with Noodles, Shitake & Enoki Mushrooms, Ginger and Truffle Oil

Seared Hand-dived Scallop and Iberico Ham with Pimenton & Pardina Lentils

Grilled Padstow Lobster

Fillet of Sea Bass a la Plancha with Roasted Fennel Seeds and Sauce Vierge

Baked Cheesecake with Apricot Jelly & Fruit Salsa

Missing pictures from the tasting menu includes the “Crab, Ginger and Coriander Broth with Mussels” and “Petit Fours” because they weren’t very photogenic. At 67GBP, the tasting menu is rather pricey but CW seemed pleased with her meal and the Sea Bass was the best of its kind I have ever tasted.

The sommelier suggested a suitable light tasting white wine called Albarino Lager De Cervera to go with our seafood. Would definitely consider it again if I ever see it on a menu.

My starter of the Turbot fish and Scallops was served with a rich creamy sauce. Very appetizing and the scallop was nicely seared.

 

 

Ragout of Turbot & Scallops Vouvray and Basil

Nothing too exciting about the Halibut, especially after tasting the best Sea Bass in my life earlier.

Escalopes of Halibut with Dill, Carrots and Celery

Served with a side of crispy Naan, I was quite surprised how fatty the Monkfish tasted, and even more surprised that it went well with the Vindaloo. Would highly recommend this to people who can handle spice.

Monkfish Vindaloo

Another surprising development was the Dessert. I never expected such light tasting pastry. Normally, the caramelized pears or peaches tend to cause the pastry to turn soggy but it wasn’t the case for this Peach Tart Tatin, it was absolutely crisp with perfectly caramelized peaches. Truly perfect.

Peach Tart Tatin

Passing all 3 criteria of food, ambience and service standards, The Seafood Restaurant is indeed a place worth stopping by if you ever find yourself in Cornwall.

Bon Appetit!

THE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT

RIVERSIDE, PADSTOW PL28 8BY, ENGLAND

TEL: 01841 532700

 





[London] Rhodes W1 – A Modern Take on French

22 05 2011

I was quite pleased with myself when I managed to secure an online booking for lunch at Rhodes W1, especially when it was a 5-Course Spring Tasting Menu at just 25.50GBP. I can’t remember which website I used to make the reservation but I discovered that one of the more dominant reservations sites within the UK would be Toptable. It’s a restaruant booking website (very much like diningcity) which frequently offers diners specially priced set menus, and 50% off restaurant bill deals for diners who choose to make their reservations via toptable for selected restaurants. Why doesn’t Singapore have such a website?!

Awarded 1 Michelin star, Rhodes W1 came across to me as being excessively posh, with a chandelier overhanging each and every table and Molten Brown liquid soap & hand lotion and nicely folded cloth towels in the toilet! (and yes, in case you are wondering, I did what normal kiasu Singaporeans would do and spammed some hand lotion before leaving). Despite being labelled a contemporary French eatery, I believe that much of what Rhodes W1 conjures up derive influences from an eclectic mix of different cuisines.

I’m more of a focaccia person that a ciabatta.

Courgette (Zucchini) Mousse, Goat Cheese Ice Cream with Balsamic Jelly. I liked how the palate cleansing balsamic blended well with the creamy mousse.

Braised Octopus Carpaccio, Chorizo Croquette, Fennel and Lemon. Nothing mind-blowing about the octopus but I did like the Croquette which was well fried though I couldn’t really discern the taste of chorizo from the potato.

As G doesn’t take Octopus, the chef obligingly replaced it with a Pigeon Pate, which ironically I found more tasty and substantial.

I just had a Guinea Fowl Confit at Bistro Du Vinlast week which wasn’t exactly spectacular and concluded that Guinea Fowl is just a lesser poultry, short on taste and texture compared to duck or chicken. However I was proved wrong after tasting the Slowed Cooked Guinea Fowl, Baby Leeks, St George’s Mushrooms & Foie Gras Emulsion today. The cylindrical pieces of meat came from the breast and was stuffed with what I gathered was egg, sunflower seeds and some other ingredients. As for the rectangular piece, it consisted of the thigh portions. Both were succulent and juicy.

Pina Colada. Coconut mousse atop pineapple sorbet.

Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Ice Cream. A sweet ending to the stellar meal.

The bill arrived in an envelope labelled “The Damage”. Very cutesey…I like.

Bon Appetit!

Marble Arch
London W1H 7DL, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7616 5930








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