During our scouting mission on our first day in St Ives as well as finding the great Rum and Crab Shack, we also noticed Alba, a lovely glass fronted building on the harbour side. On a first quick glance at the menu outside, we were immediately drawn to the sound of the dishes on the menu and the abundance of fresh fish, as well as the great location.
The head chef and proprietor of Alba trained at a 2 star michelin restaurant in France, and some of the food definitely reflected this influence.
Alba offer a variety of dining options, including an early diners set menu and a tasting menu as well as the standard A La Carte. We had a bit of debate over whether to go for the tasting menu or the A la Carte, but eventually hubby and A La Carte won out (unusually!) as he was dying for the provencal fish soup starter.
‘One of the best soups I’ve ever had’ high praise from my sometimes uber critical chef husband, and I would agree wholeheartedly. For my starter I went for their ‘tasting plate’ fish; Gravadlax with sweet mustard dressing / Crab bon bon, red pepper mayonnaise / Lobster with tomato and basil compote / Seared Scallop and avocado / Mussel and saffron soup. All of the elements were lovely, and the fish aspects well cooked. Some of the accompaniments I felt were a little bland (the avocado, and the red pepper mayonnaise) but this was more than made up for by all the other aspects. A particular mention for the gorgeous tomato and basil compote and the mussel and saffron soup. This man and his team certainly have got the art of soup making down!!
On to the mains. I chose Crab Linguine and Lee went for Pan fried fillet of Sea bass, leeks, Girolles, refried confit Chicken leg, pomme chateau and Chicken jus. Again, we had nothing but praise for our dishes. Lee maintains that the seabass was probably the best single dish of the whole holiday. My linguine was delicious, the twists of chilli and garlic really singing through. Have a look at their menu for some of their other great dishes.
Dessert wise, we decided to firstly share the cheeseboard, and chose Ragstone goat, Cornish Camembert and Devon blue which came with Grape chutney, sesame and poppy seed biscuits. I LOVE goats cheese, and the ragstone was amazing.
Not feeling complete without more sweet stuff we then also chose the Cornish Strawberry taster plate- ice cream, pannacotta, gazpacho, marinated strawberry eton mess, Victoria sponge. This was just a giant blast of summer on a plate and the highlights for me were the eton mess and the gazpacho.
The only comment I would have about this dish (and the fish taster starter) is that the presentation looked a little squashed, maybe could have benefited from a different plate, or being spread out a little more.
Another great find in St Ives, slightly more pricey than the average, but a good quality and quantity of food for your money. Go check it out if you visit Cornwall, or if you’re lucky enough to live there!
Old Lifeboat house
Wharf Road, St Ives
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own