Prawn on the Lawn is a fishmonger cum restaurant by husband and wife Rick (chef) and Katie (front of house) Toogood. They first opened one in Islington then decided to move to Padstow in Cornwall and open another which is where they are based now.
There’s a lovely relaxed vibe about the place during our visit. The seafood counter in the window attracts a lot of attention from passers by and many a local pops in during lunch to buy their fish for cooking at home.
We start with a Dirty Oyster Martini, which is a vodka martini made with the oyster liquor and served with an oyster on the side. It makes me go boss-eyed for a second. It’s seriously strong; both a seafood and booze wallop unlike anything I’ve had before.
The signature dish of ‘Prawn on the Lawn’ (£7.50) is basically avocado on toast topped with prawns and chilli. It’s simple and delicious – the quality of the prawns do all the talking needed. Seared tuna (£8) with soy, spring onion and mirin is a lovely and light thing.
Whole sand sole (£10) is a reminder of the quality of ingredients. It helps that the fish is cooked absolutely perfectly. Marinated scallops (£9) come in their shells and with their roe attached. Crushed up peanuts add texture and are an unusual but welcome addition.
A tempura courgette flower (£5.50) is stuffed with crab and has a curry sauce on the side. Flavours, textures – it’s got it all. A side of crushed spiced potatoes (£3.50) are some of the finest potatoes I’ve come across – crispy as anything and aggressively seasoned.
Padstow really is at its best right now. Paul Ainsworth has opened Padstow Townhouse, which is a lush place to stay and then you’ve got places like Prawn on the Lawn, where you can eat the very best seafood in a relaxed and buzzy space. When it comes to fish, these two are on the money.
Would we go back? Yes.