Places To Eat In Cornwall: The Mariners, Rock
So, after an annoyingly long drive and a good amount of tea and homemade brownies at our hotel (more on that later) we spent our first night in North Cornwall heading down the road to the little waterside village of Rock, home to a rather special little pub that has just re-opened: The Mariners. Previously run by Nathan Outlaw and now taken over by Paul Ainsworth (another of North Cornwall’s big name chefs) while they have a traditional pub food menu in the dining room upstairs, downstairs in the bar you’ve got a proper pub to go grab a drink by the water in a booth or on the terrace, and an excellent menu of small plates to enjoy with your drinks.
After grabbing a local gin and tonic (I had the gin Tarquin’s made with Rick Stein which I was not a big fan of, but after that I discovered Cornish Rock Gin, which is also made in North Cornwall and is really, really excellent) we settled at a table overlooking the water and ordered up a storm. One of my favourites was the 1/2 pint of crispy prawns with lemon and lime. Plump, hot, and zingy, they were really more-ish and burst in your mouth with flavour, to honest I don’t think the Marie Rose sauce on the side was necessary. Get these.
The scotch eggs were also really, really good, perfectly cooked and worth a shout, and the ‘Fried ‘Whitebait Tom Kerridge’’ served with yet more marie rose sauce was also rather good (I asked, and what makes it ‘Tom Kerridge’ is that it was made from his recipe) too, though we still had those incredible whitebait we had at The Pig in Bridge on the brain. The ‘Hunters Snags’ glazed in marmalade and Pommery mustard where, while tasty, nothing more than cocktail sausages in sweet sticky mustard. Pleasant, but unexciting.
What did utterly blow us away, however, was the potted duck liver pate with local grilled sourdough toast (we got extra with a great olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipper) and Cornish orchards jelly. The pate was outstanding: rich, smooth and creamy, with a richness and a depth of flavour that you just don’t expect from a simple bar snack, even in a pub run by a chef of this caliber. One of the most memorable dishes of the trip, and if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know h0w many more amazing things we were yet to eat!
Puddings were traditional pub classics with a bit of a pastry chefs twist, and everything – I mean everything – came with custard of some fashion. My dad had the golden syrup steamed brown butter pudding with slow cooked lemon, a nice, traditional English pud served with an excellent vanilla custard and it really hit the spot at the end of the meal. My Mum and I opted for the chocolate craquelin profiteroles, filled with vanilla custard and served on a bed of warm dark chocolate sauce. Absolutely lovely.
As you’ll soon see from my upcoming posts, North Cornwall truly is the foodie hub of the county with some fantastic producers and amazing places to eat, but if you want a break from all that fine dining, The Mariners is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat. Upstairs was fully booked and I recommend you book a bit in advance when you book your trip, but as long as it is not high summer when everything will be heaving, you should be able to spot in downstairs for a drink and an excellent bite to eat no trouble.