A wealth of top-notch experience, ‘celebrity chef’ status from several TV appearances, and an infectious passion for great food (specifically seafood) on the part of the proprietor of this world-class eatery in the Cornish town of Rock has led to Restaurant Nathan Outlaw being awarded two Michelin stars.
Outlaw’s profile ensures that his name above the door is enough to draw the crowds. Confidence in the quality of the food is behind the decision to only supply one main tasting menu to diners, along with a vegetarian menu available on request. Both location and chef’s speciality lead to the prominence of fish and seafood on the selection. There is a grill restaurant in the same hotel where an a la carte menu is available, but it’s the fine dining restaurant that tends to draw the crowds.
Light, airy, spacious and contemporary, the restaurant is entirely in keeping with the feel of the hotel itself, which provides stylish and modern home comforts in the midst of resort-style beauty. Service has been praised for being engaging and knowledgeable, as befits an establishment of this calibre, and – given the double Michelin star status – you can expect a degree of formality, although not to excessive ‘stand on ceremony’ levels. Yet, it’s the food itself which sets this aside from the competition.
Choosing to focus on seafood and desserts is a bold move on behalf of Outlaw; opting for a single tasting menu for all (non-vegetarian) diners is bolder still. But here, since everyone expects the best anyway, the dishes are cheekily simple on paper and hugely accomplished in execution. Take sea bass with bacon, egg and ketchup; a tempting enough combination in itself, even before the dish - with ketchup made from roasted sardines and a crispy egg – arrives and surprises. Scallops and other shellfish feature heavily, perhaps in a tartare or served with seasonal vegetables; desserts focus on seasonal fruit and classically elegant preparations of meringues, sorbets and so on.
Wine is paired with the dishes according to individual tasting menu, and you can order with or without; prices are surprisingly competitive.