Middle St, Padstow, Cornwell, UK
Visited 18th July 2007
Despite popular rumour the odd lovely English summer's day does exist and I'd stumbled across one. To make the most of this once in a century chance I decided to cycle the Camel Trail from Padstow, through Wade Bridge to Bodmin and back. The trail is an old railway line with spectacular views of the Padstow Estuary and Camal River. The ride was great, the sunshine magnificent, the views fantastic and back in Padstow I was in need of a coffee.
Over winter Padstow is a small sleepy, fishing village. In summer it’s a thriving mass of “holiday makers” dripping with half melted ice-creams, buckets, spades, socks over sandals, fish and chips and all the other paraphernalia required for a day at the English seaside. Central to circus Padstow is the Empire of TV chef Rick Stein. Apart from his famous Seafood Restaurant, Stein also rules over St Petroc's Bistro, Stein’s Fish and Chip Shop, Stein’s Deli, Stein’s Pattisserie, Stein’s Cooking School, Stain’s Gift Shop and Stein’s Café. For a humble bloke like me, a coffee at Stein’s Café seemed an easy place to jump on the bandwagon and experience a bit of TV chef magic, without the hefty price tag of anything grander.
For a "café", the menu was quite formal and obviously aimed towards the lunch and dinner crowd rather than the casual snack I was looking for. I ended up with a coffee and a slice of 'sunken chocolate cake'. The coffee was fine and the cake was actually a lot better then it looked; moist, rich and heavy it was all you could hope for in a slab of rich chocolate goo. Though good, service was boarding on over formal; just like the menu. What Stein's Café really lacked was a sea view; it's tucked away in a back lane hidden from both the action and scenery. Though not a bad place for a quite coffee away from the crowds, the fact Stein's Café really didn't resemble my perception of a café annoyed me a little - I wanted a coffee and a snack, not a £10 main and a £20 bottle of wine. If you want to jump on the bandwagon of Rick Stein World go and eat fish 'n' chips by the harbour or just buy a fridge magnet from his gift shop.
Visit the Rick Stein website