We won’t talk about my first visit to the Mariners in Rock (just a short boat ride over the estuary from Padstow) back in the day when it was owned by Nathan Outlaw. Let’s just say it left me feeling cold. Freezing cold. It was good news then to hear Paul and Emma Ainsworth were taking it over.
I’ve been a fan of this husband and wife team for quite some years now. With Paul in the kitchen and Emma’s keen eye for design, their Michelin starred No.6 and casual-Italian Rojanos in the Square are marvellous places to eat. If sleeping is your thing, they also own the six-suite Padstow Townhouse which is the height of luxury. And now a pub.
Spread over two floors, it’s a gorgeous fit out. Downstairs is for pints and snacks, upstairs there’s a proper pub menu. We sit against the floor to ceiling window looking out to Padstow and the Porthilly oyster farm beyond. What a spot.
We start by sharing half a pint of crispy king prawns (£11) and a Cornish Tamworth scotch egg (£7). I don’t think I’ve seen more orange yolks in all my life. With a pint of Doombar it’s the perfect start.
Fried ‘Whitebait Tom Kerridge’ (£5) is an ode to his friend Tom Kerridge’s two Michelin starred pub The Hand and Flowers. Here they are crisp, fresh and full of seafood flavour.
A hand raised pork pie (£9) is a work of art. It tastes as good as it looks. A tangfastic piccalilli cuts through the richness of that buttery pastry and dense porky filling.
I’m in a pub so can’t resist ordering sausage and mash (£15). Also, they’re Phillip Warren sausages (that’s the butchers who supplies Blacklock in London) so you know they’re going to be fab. And they are.
My Dad goes for another pub classic; ham, egg and chips. Here, it’s a bacon chop with fried St. Ewe egg, soy glazed pineapple and triple cooked chips, naturally. The meat is missing a bit of a fat but its cooking and flavour is extraordinary.
A side of chargrilled hispi cabbage (£4.50) shows the kitchen’s passion for quality ingredients cooked with care. There are blackened burned bits, soft buttery bits, super salty bits. Pure veggie bliss.
For pud, The Mariners trifle (£9) comes topped with hundreds and thousands and is big enough to share. So pretty. If you’re a custard lover, then the golden syrup steamed brown butter pudding with slow cooked lemon (£6.50) is a must. JUST LOOK AT THAT CUSTARD.
If you’re visiting Cornwall then The Mariners should be top of your list. It showcases local produce in gorgeous surroundings with a team who exude passion. A proper pub.
Would we go back? Yes
We dined as guests of the restaurant