His recent philandering aside, I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for Rick Stein. He seems to be much more of a cook than a chef and doesn’t seem determined to take over the world through the medium of advertising and being irritating (Jamie Oliver) or aggression and having a big scone for a chin (Gordon effing Ramsay). No, Mr Stein seems to like to produce yummy food with local ingredients, whilst aided by a small dog. So do I, although my small dog is very much in the land of the living; I suspect Chalky has long since passed over to doggie heaven.
So, when we went on holiday to north Cornwall, I knew I wanted to visit at least one of his Padstow eateries. The natural choice would have been The Seafood Restaurant, but that wasn’t an option because my boyfriend isn’t a fan of anything that swims (in the gastronomic sense, that is. I’m not saying that he maintains a state of barely concealed animosity towards goldfish, or anything). There are some fish-free options on their menu, but I didn’t want to pay a substantial amount for dinner only to have the chap left with one dish to choose from per course. As a bistro, St Petroc has a wider selection, so, after having a look at the online menu, I booked for a midweek evening at the end of July. The online booking process was straightforward and just asked that if you haven’t heard from them a few days beforehand to give them a ring to confirm the reservation.
We were staying about 20 miles from Padstow, a distance which I would normally allocate about half an hour to drive. However, Cornwall is full of twisting lanes and places where only one car can safely pass. When you couple this with the fact that you may have to wait a while to get parked, then it’s wise to err on the side of caution, time-wise. The best place to park is in the harbour car park (you can’t miss it, as you have to drive past it) for which you will have to pay, even after 6pm. If memory serves I think it’s around £2-£3 for 4 hours. It’s rare to immediately find a space in this one but turnover is high so if you wait patiently you’ll get one eventually. From there, walk towards the harbour and then take the narrow street uphill beside the blue house. Turn left at the first street and St Petroc is on the right hand side of the road. There is no parking at the restaurant but it takes less than 5 minutes to walk there, even at dawdling speed.
There are lots of ramps in place for wheelchairs and buggies and the tables have a decent amount of room between them, so I imagine most people would be fine. I didn’t visit the lavatories so can’t comment on them.
…Wasn’t quite ready when we got there, but we were guided to a lounge with menus and drinks. We waited no more than ten minutes before we were shown to a lovely table for two beside the window.
…the sharing platter for a starter, which came in at a little over £12. On it was a small dish of marinated olives which were yummy. Still with stones in, which makes them tastier but may be off-putting for anyone with dodgy dentures or decorum about spitting stones out.