During our holiday in Cornwall we were spoilt for choice for places to eat lovely food. One restaurant that we had both been really, really excited about however was Nathan Outlaw at Rock. A two Michelin starred restaurant that only serves tasting menus comprising of just fish – how would I cope with no meat?!
The restaurant is situated in St. Enodoc hotel in Rock where Nathan Outlaw also has the less formal and slightly more affordable Seafood and Grill there too. The dining room was a comfortable place to sit and had a relaxed atmosphere. Husband and wife team Stephanie and Damon ran the front of house with the same charm and passion that you’d expect from owners let alone employees. They made the experience, from beginning to end, a very special and memorable one.
The tasting menu, priced at £99 per person (golly!), started with two amuse bouches. Seaweed cured salmon with a chilled mushroom broth and cured brill with blood orange and tarragon. The lumps of fatty salty salmon in the earthy mushroom broth was delicious. The brill looked very pretty and had really taken on the orange flavour.
Next up was two more amuse bouches; port Isaac crab, kohlrabi and coriander-ginger yoghurt and scampi with red pepper sauce. The crab and kohlrabi had a bright yellow appearance and tasted so fresh and zingy. This contrasted the cockle-warming red pepper sauce and crispy scampi which was so soft and sweet. These four dishes were unusual and intriguing; far more adventurous than we’d imagined the food might be.
The house bread (which was replenished 3 times!) was outstanding. The white and brown mini loaves were so light and spongy with a crunchy crust that we literally couldn’t stop eating them.
Next up was the first course; lemon sole, crispy oyster and Jerusalem artichoke. It looked elegant and tasted so good. The lemon butter sauce beneath the soft sole was incredible. Even though it was placed under the fish, the plump and juicy deep fried battered oyster had remained delightfully crisp.
Cod with hazelnut and wild garlic tartare sauce was a superb dish both in terms of flavour and appearance. The tartare sauce unusually had no creaminess and instead was seriously tangy which worked beautifully with the soft fillet of cod. One thing we came to realise very quickly here was the skill at making insanely tasty sauces. We gladly used the bread to mop up any leftover sauce on every dish as they were all really that good.
Our final fishy delight was monkfish wrapped in bacon with clams and a parsley sauce which was our stand out dish by far. The meaty monkfish was cooked to utter perfection and although the parsley sauce had a strong wallop of flavour it didn’t overpower anything. A fried potato slice added a decadence which made us swoon over every mouthful.
Next up was a cheese course of which four cheeses had been expertly chosen. The Tunworth was an obvious favourite as it originates near my hometown of Alton in Hampshire but the pickled celery that accompanied it was something most unusual but totally delightful. The Dorstone which is an unpasteurised goats cheese was another highlight and the beetroot and apple chutney that it was paired with had the perfect amount of tanginess. All in all – a seriously impressive cheese board.
The description of our first dessert may have sounded simple ‘rhubarb and custard’ but it was anything but. There was rhubarb jelly topped with a set custard with a sugary top and sprinkled with biscuit crumbs then topped with a champagne and rhubarb sorbet. Each component was an explosion of strong flavours which I really liked but my gentleman companion felt there was a little too much going on – what does he know eh!
Our final dessert was a passion fruit and coconut ice cream sandwich. There’s nothing better than an ice cream sandwich in my book! It may have looked simple but the flavours were big and bold; each mouthful was a little taste of Summer.
Nathan sadly wasn’t cooking in the kitchen during our visit but we were kindly given a signed copy of our menu which was a lovely touch. Considering we had eaten barely any meat all night (and I LOVE meat) I hadn’t actually missed it – I left feeling like I should order fish more in other restaurants. Each course was superb and we loved the sauces just as much as the beautiful pieces of fish. That, along with some of the finest service we’ve ever experienced, Nathan Outlaw at Rock is a darn good place to eat.