Lovers of seafood often dream of perfectly created meals using their favourite ingredients. Inspired by the latest television show they set out to find the great chefs in fine dinning restaurants along the coast.
While most of these restaurants live up to or even exceed expectations, visiting Michelin starred restaurants everyday is not always feasible and definitely not budget friendly.
What we discovered is that spontaneously choosing a restaurant to enjoy local seafood in Cornwall or Devon is not as simple as one might be led to believe. Though fish and chip shops abound, those in search of more delicate flavours or shellfish might be disappointed at the quality or prices in most local restaurants. There are the standard chains offering shellfish with tartare sauce or fried calamari in a tub but refined seafood at non Michelin star prices is not so easy to come by.
After several disappointments we decided to try a simpler approach. We are traveling with our expedition mobile and have access to a small kitchen and dining table so we set out in search of the right ingredients for the shellfish meal we had in mind. In the little fishing village of Looe in Cornwall, we happened upon "Pengelly's" the fishmonger featured on the BBC program "Coast". The owners are very friendly and helpful and made the shopping experience even more pleasurable. The quality and variety of fish on display was a treat for the eye and the food lovers soul. Crab claws at 10 pounds a kilo were irresistible, as were the clams, smoked anchovies, mussels all ready to eat and cooked just right. We purchased a good selection of all of these and headed back to our expedition mobile. Now all we had to do was lay the table, unpack the delicious seafood and open the chilled local cider. A feast for two with a beautiful view at less than half of the cost of an equivalent meal in a local restaurant.
This experience led us to try various fishmongers on the rest of our travels and we were seldom disappointed. Seafood lovers would probably find this combination of top restaurants on some days and fishmongers fare on others to be the right mix to enjoy all of the splendid seafood on offer.