Restaurant review: Stargazy Inn, Port Isaac

stargazy inn

In the picture-perfect traditional fishing village of Port Isaac on Cornwall’s rugged northern coast – the location of the TV programme Doc Martin – is the Stargazy Inn, perched on the edge of a cliff on the far side of the village.

The Inn sits high above the equally lovely National Trust village of Port Gaverne, overlooking a scenic bay that runs up towards the mystical Tintagel Castle (the birthplace of King Arthur, according to legend). This is linked to Port Isaac by the South West Way, one of the best coastal footpaths in the UK. All along the path you can explore secluded beaches, coves and rugged headlands.

If this is not enough reason to visit, this stunning corner of Cornwall now boasts the recently renovated Stargazy Inn, which has attracted a new head chef in the shape of Andrew Sheridan of Great British Menu fame (his innovative take on rice pudding, which won 10/10 from the Great British Menu judges, is on the menu).

This seaside inn with its stylish modern terrace for lunchtime drinks or evening aperitifs is divided into a tavern for locals, dog walkers and more modest dinners on one side, and a fine-dining restaurant on the other side: a very pretty room with beautifully set tables looking down to the sea.

The food is outstanding. You can choose between a set menu of either five or seven courses, each course using local, seasonal ingredients: the best of the sea and land.

stargazy inn

The first treat is homemade beer bread with Marmite butter, and for those not so keen on Marmite, a local Cornish cultured butter. This is followed by crab tart using the whole crab, repackaged in a crisp pastry shell, alongside a tempura oyster with a tasty parsley emulsion.

Course two was a firm favourite: Forest House tomato and basil ice cream and tomato water. This has to be tried: it is fresh and full of flavour. Outstanding salmon, potato salad and lamb accompanied by cauliflower cooked many different ways, followed. The five-course menu ends with a local farm’s fabulous strawberry dessert served with sorrel and goat’s curd.

The seven-course menu continues with Andrew Sheridan’s famous hay and banana rice pudding, with the rice pudding skin used to make rehydrated shards. We added this onto our five-course menu as an extra – as did our nearest fellow diners.

Do save some room, as the tasty tea treats that come at the end are Cornish specials: saffron bread and a chocolate tart. Although the food is first-class, there is no stuffiness from the staff, who are so jolly you feel completely at home. The chef has brought his whole team with him from Wales.

The Stargazy Inn also offers nine luxurious bedrooms with picturesque views – the perfect place to sleep off a memorably delicious dinner.