I recently visited the lovely seaside town of St. Ives in Cornwall. See my earlier post here. One of the foodie highlights was definitely the Cornish Cream Tea at The Tea Room. This is a gorgeous tea shop on the harbour that serves freshly baked scones with the famous clotted cream and strawberry jam. They also serve a selection of quality teas and coffees too, as well as other gorgeous homemade cakes and savoury food.
We ordered a cream tea for two, and the waitress asked us if we wanted to have two scones each or just share two. We decided to get two each as it was lunchtime, and it was going to be our lunch! The scones were flaky and light, and had actually just come out of the oven.
The clotted cream, if you’ve never had the pleasure of trying it, is an extra thick cream that is traditionally served with scones as part of a cream tea in Cornwall and Devon. With a high fat content, it’s sort of halfway between cream and butter, with a little crust on the surface. It is devine. You spread it generously on the split scones and top it with jam. It’s very indulgent, but served with a pot of good tea, it is simply perfect!
They were so good in fact, that we went back on our last day and ordered them to go – so that we could bring them with us on the 3 hour train journey up to Bristol.
Another highlight of St. Ives was The Porthminster Café. It sits at the far end of the town on Porthminster Beach. With a heated terrace overlooking the beautiful beach, you can enjoy a relaxing lunch taking in the amazing views.
I ordered the fish and chips, haddock fillets in a really light and crispy batter, with rosemary and garlic chips, and well made mushy peas and tartare sauce on the side. The fish was really fresh and perfectly cooked.
My other half had a Caesar Salad with a poached egg. He said it was very good, again very fresh and tasty.
We also went back the next day for a drink and I ordered a glass of Cornish sparkling wine, a rosé, that was dry and crisp. How cool is it that Cornwall produces sparkling wine?
This is Porthminster Beach. The weather in St. Ives is mild but since it’s on the Atlantic coast, it can change quickly, a lot like Irish weather.
On our last night, we went for dinner in The Black Rock, a newish restaurant that apparently specialises in local ingredients like game, locally produced meat and of course freshly caught fish. It had been recommended to us but the Tea Room, and it sounded a bit different from a lot of the other restaurants in St. Ives.
We ordered some wine and some deep fried crackling to nibble on first. It was dusted with smoked paprika, and was so crisped and puffed up, it was like high end pork scratchings! It came with a creamy apple sauce to dip. It was as yummy as it looks.
I ordered crab gratin, flaked crab meat with mushrooms, topped with crispy, buttery breadcrumbs and parmesan. It was very tasty, rich and buttery, but I don’t like mushrooms and hadn’t realised they were in the dish, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have otherwise.
The other half had crab claws in garlic butter and enjoyed them a lot. We also had some great sourdough bread, which had lots of flavour and I think was baked in house.
Crab claws in garlic butter at The Black Rock
I had one of their specials, sea trout with crushed new potatoes, braised kale, samphire and a little crab cake on top. It was very tasty, with the samphire and crab cake making it quite salty and savoury. I’ve never had samphire before, it’s a type of sea vegetable similar to seaweed. It’s very chewy so I didn’t finish it, but the whole dish was very good.
The other half had pork belly with crackling, with scallop, baby broccoli, parsnip crisps, pancetta and fondant potato. It was also delicious.
We had to have desert since they all sounded amazing. We shared some baby doughnuts, rolled in cinnamon sugar, stuffed with dark chocolate ganache, and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream with toasted almonds underneath. It was doughnut heaven, as they weren’t too sweet – very like churros, but they tasted amazing alongside the ice-cream.
So those are the highlights of my trip to St. Ives. It was a really great town to visit, and I highly recommend it if you’re thinking of visiting Cornwall. It was early April when we visited, but I can imagine it is even better in summer when the weather gets warmer. I can see now why so many people have holiday homes in this part of England – the excellent beaches and beautiful landscape make you feel you are much further away. And you’re a seafood fan you definitely won’t be disappointed with the choice on offer!!
For more info on visiting St. Ives, click here: