Paul Ainsworth is a lovely, lovely guy, who wants nothing more than for his guests and customers to feel happy, relaxed and comfortable. I know this because I visited his restaurant recently and I bumped into the man himself on the upstairs landing. We probably chatted for no longer than a few minutes. Polite conversation about business; the effect of the winter storms on the local economy; travelling down from London, that kind of thing, and Paul was smiling and twinkling throughout. But you know when small talk leads a sort of impasse, when two strangers who don’t really know each other come to a full stop and that silent gap suddenly appears?
Snatching a quick glance at his watch, it soon became apparent that Paul was desperate to get back into the kitchen. Me? Well I was gyrating like Tom Jones by that point because I was desperate for the loo. Thankfully the stand-off didn’t last too long and after shaking each other’s hand, we both soon got down to business. And so, if I had to be at all critical about my experience at Number 6, it would be that Paul very nearly made me wet myself. But other than that, everything else went off like a dream.
Based in the Cornish epicentre of food that is Padstow, Number 6 used to be a bed and breakfast and you can sort of tell. The modern interior may be relinquished of chintz and porcelain dolls but the main mantra of comfort and friendliness remains. And after stepping through the doors, it really does feel like you are stepping into someone’s home. Having been greeted by various members of front of house, who were all warm, engaging and funny, I felt the tension ease from my shoulders straight away. Some restaurants with Michelin stars on the door can create a vibe where you feel like you’re sitting there a broom pole shoved down the back of your jumper, but not here.