‘Restaurant: a place where meals can be bought and eaten’ (Websters Dictionary)
This seems an appropriate place to begin, being such an honest and functional definition. Restaurants have been operating for guests to dine out since Roman times, however, even in this era they were seen as more than just for this utilitarian use, as at the very least a place for communities to gather and socialise as well. Congruently nowadays, and particularly in the beautiful setting of North Cornwall this stark definition, while technically accurate, seems perfunctory and unbefitting for what we intend our guests to experience at Nathan’s restaurant.
No matter what the reason for dining; be it a passion for food, a special event, or just to spend time in the company of others, (I find I can personally always find an occasion/excuse to dine out), all are valued and momentous to us. Being an intimate team, each with a love of the industry, and being on both sides of a restaurant, we understand a meal can be so much more than just sating hunger. Partly what I love about our dining room is how intimate it is, accommodating a maximum of 24 covers in an evening. As a result of this, I always feel that there is so much more scope for enhancing a guest’s experience.
Of all the moments throughout an evening, my personal favourite is the beginning, the welcoming and adrenalin of what is in store for our diner. This is because no matter what the expectation, or the occasion, the pleasure that Nathan’s menu brings is one that I feel is an experience to be excited about. During an evening, there is no requisite or requirement of how involved or open our customers should be, our intention is merely for our diners to have a truly fantastic time.
This week we have been lucky enough, as ever, to have such lovely guests with us. I don’t know why we are blessed like this. Perhaps it is our location in gorgeous Rock where, even on an overcast day, it is very difficult to feel gloomy when you have the glistening estuary stretching before you. Or possibly it is just the exhilaration of being in the very talented hands of the small team of extremely passionate chefs with Nathan physically at the helm every day of service. For whichever reason, we do attract an unusual amount of genuinely good-natured guests.
Within the past few days, occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries, or simply being away in the bubble of Cornwall have called for loved ones to be spoilt. Our sommelier, Damon, has been kept busy as his matching wine flight has been particularly popular with some really beautiful wines featured. A Damon serving and talking about beverages is a happy Damon, especially with matches such as an extraordinary Frühburgunder from Ahr in Germany offered with our bream course, a wine that lures you in with its seductively smoky aromas only to surprise on the palate being incredibly fruit-driven with a silk-like texture.
On the food side of things, the sea bass has been an unprecedented success from the tasting menu. This dish is a carefully constructed ensemble of incredible produce, prepared to perfection, yet managing to let the flavours speak for themselves; and they are quite some flavours. The appearance of anything beetroot influenced always initially comes across quite ladylike with it’s vivid fuchsia colour. However, on the palate the deeply aromatic richness coming from the almost earthy pearl barley with the subtle smokiness running through the accompanying cured sea bass pâté could certainly be described as ‘macho’. Having said this, our guests’ favourite dish changes on an almost hourly basis, with Nathan, Tom and the two apprentices’ making this selection tough by delivering consistently stunning fish, and that is before even talking about the desserts!
At the end of the restaurant week, with the chefs cleaning down and the dining room being put to bed for the final time, we truly hope that all our guests are happy, that they have perhaps thought something phenomenal, tried something new or considered seafood in a different way. On Tuesdays we look forward to starting all over again and directing all our passion and drive into ensuring for our diners that their experience will be more than purely a functional evening in a place where meals can be bought and eaten.