Padstow’s ‘other’ restaurant mogul deals in fun as well as fine dining at his beautiful townhouse dining room
What is it about Padstow and restaurant empires? The Cornish fishing village was put on the culinary map by a certain Rick Stein, who seems to own half its restaurants, but, more recently, there’s been a new kid in town (who appears to own the other half).
Said chef is Paul Ainsworth, who has a chic boutique hotel and a casual pizza restaurant in Padstow (and has also taken on a pub nearby) but who is best known for the eponymous fine dining restaurant he runs with his wife, Emma. The Michelin-starred restaurant, located in a Georgian townhouse, has built a reputation for its fun approach to fine dining, serving modern British food with a focus on Cornish produce.
Ainsworth is a playful character and someone who is keen to bring something new to the table, as it were. A dosh of cod comes with a seaweed ‘quaver’, while his dish ‘All of the pigeon’ has pain of chocolat as an accompaniment. A chocolate vol au vent for dessert, meanwhile, comes with a caramel made from ceps for a more measured sweetness. The dining room itself is just as fun, with bright, colourful artwork helping create a space that reflects the couple’s personalities.
Fans of The Great British Menu will remember Ainsworth’s winning A Taste of the Fairground dish from the 2011 series, which featured for a long time on the restaurant’s menu before coming off. Such was the popularity of the fairground inspired selection of desserts that Ainsworth recently reprised it as A Fairground Tale. It’s a delightfully whimsical way to finish off a memorable meal.