The Guardian made a splash in G2 on the launch day, and the Falmouth Packet also got pretty excited, but it’s been three weeks since it opened and I don’t think anyone’s actually reviewed Rick Stein’s first foray into the Falmouth dining scene. The venue in question is a high-flying fish & chip shop, judiciously placed bang opposite one of Cornwall’s biggest visitor attractions (the National Maritime Museum).
I know I will irritate Stein backlashers no end by saying this (including, to an extent, myself) but I can only describe my experience as a masterclass in the art of fish and chips.
The food This being a gourmet rendition of the humble dish, you can expect a nice lemon slice and a sprig of parsley for garnish, as well as chic white packaging. But most importantly, it features thick, fresh chips, and delicate, moist fish that breaks away effortlessly.
The bill £6.65 for takeaway cod & chips, £1.20 for a can of coke (add roughly a fiver to that to eat in, plus drinks & service).
The look Silver, sans-serif lettering with urbane light-blue neon backlighting; clean, white interior with lashings of glass looking out on to the piazza and the ships; not a greasy fingerprint in sight.
The location I’m into the National Maritime Museum (especially the Tidal Zone, where, if you’ve got time on your hands, you can watch the tide rise up the glass walls) and the airy, continental feel of the piazza, but on a cynical day Falmouth’s Discovery Quay can feel a little bit like a marketing stand for ‘Cornwall – The Brand’. With a slick new branch of Simply Cornish just opened next door to Stein (selling such exotic goods as ‘Cornish bacon’), Pizza Express across the way and Musto next door, it’s certainly a smart package.
The highs The fish, the fish, the fish – flaky and fresh, encased in melt-in-the-mouth beef-dripping batter. The chirpy, how-great-is-my-job staff. The takeaway prices (only a few quid on your average local chippie).
The lows The way I felt like a total Stein sheep trying to get a look at the menu outside along with everyone else.
With Cornwall’s chef du moment Nathan Outlaw handing out tips on how to make the perfect fish & chips in Metro the other day, though, Stein may not hold the monopoly on posh fish & chip shops in Cornwall for long…
Rick Stein’s Fish & Chips, Discovery Quay, Falmouth. http://www.rickstein.com. No bookings taken.