We were most excited to eat at Paul Ainsworth’s restaurant, Number 6 in Padstow. I guess I’m a little ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of him really until his appearance on the Great British Menu in 2011 which really shot him to fame and ‘celebrity chef’ status. The dessert he did which made it to the final banquet of the show that year really was a show stopper as were his other dishes. I think the thing that really caught the interest of my husband and I above a lot of other contestants on that show was that he seemed so friendly, had a great personality and a fantastic cheeky smile. (Well this won me over..maybe not hubby!)
Paul learned his trade under Gordon Ramsay at Hospital Road before he took over at number6, an 18th century townhouse, in 2008, and made a name for himself in a part of Cornwall known for Rick Stein and his Empire.
First impressions of the restaurrant were great – a really friendly welcome -a personlised welcome in fact (I had mentioned on twitter earlier that say we were looking forward to our meal) and it was nice to see they read their tweets and actually took time to figure out who we were on the booking sheet. The dining area was comfortable and relaxed, although a little bit hot! There was a really good ambience and funky decor with lots of nice touches, for example our water came in a lovely painted terracotta jug (see pic).
The website boasts unpretentious and uncomplicated food which is simple, affordable and fun. Would it fulfil all these criteria?!
They offer a set lunch menu, childrens menu and the a la carte, I thought it was quite refreshing to see a Michelin Starred Restaurant without a tasting menu. At least it saved me the dilemma of having to choose between the two!
While we were making our choices a lovely crate of bread arrived, freshly made on the premises accompanied by either the standard butter, but also a type of fish brandade which was delicious, especially with the olive bread.
For my starter I chose ‘Goose and Pickles’ – Goose liver parfait~toasted clotted cream brioche. This was simply amazing, one of the best parfaits I have tasted, so smooth and creamy, and topped with some amazing pickled vegetables and edible flowers. To use a cliche, it was as pretty as a picture. My husbands starter was equally as beautiful, ‘Torched Cornish Mackerel’ – celeriac remoulade~parma ham~cucumber and the taste certainly lived up to the presentation.
So far, and so very very good. There was a bit of a fight over the main courses – we both wanted the Red Hereford Short Rib – butcher’s tartare~onion~horseradish~red leaves. By my ruling we were not allowed to have the same thing, so I caved and went for the Cornish Saddle Back Pork – ‘hazlenut’ summer~crackling~scallop~cider apple. Both were so tasty. The beef melted in your mouth ( I tried a mouthful…or 2) the onions were sweet and soft and again, great presentation. My pork had classic flavours, apple, crackling and the addition of the scallop and the ‘hazlenut’ summer – a small accompanying dish of summer veg including baby turnips, beetroot, peas and hazelnuts brought the dish to up to another level.
For dessert, and how could we not order ‘A trip to the fairground’. This consisted of Raspberry curd, Doughnuts, Chocolate-y peanut popcorn, Toffee apples and marshmallow kebabs and Honeycomb lollipops. All of the elements of the fairground were fantastic, the only thing that didn’t quite wow me was the raspberry curd. So clever and looks even better in person than on the telly!
Did it meet those aforementioned criteria? Tick, tick and tick again.
We were lucky enough to be introduced to Paul himself, by the General Manager of Pauls’ other venture, Rojano’s in the Square, and get a quick look inside the kitchen where all the magic happens. Paul was friendly and charming, despite being knee deep in orders and it was great to speak to him and really made the night even more special and one to remember. If your visiting Padstow and have only got time for one meal – please go to Number 6! You won’t regret it.
6 Middle Street
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own