Emily Scott is a rare find: a restaurateur who does things just how they ought to be done. You might take issue with that, after all, food is full of great restaurants across the South West where you’ll find fantastic cooking, great service and a lovely ambience, but rarely do you find all three done with such skill and care in a tiny neighbourhood restaurant.
As head chef, owner and director of the Port Isaac restaurant, Emily’s firmly stamped her identity on every aspect of the business. Firstly, there’s the shabby chic-meetsnautical décor, which is as beautifully styled as anything you’d find in an interiors magazine; secondly, the warm atmosphere and laid-back style of front of house manager Jason Brain (ex-Fifteen Cornwall), and lastly, of course, the delightful food. With a background in French cooking, Emily’s skill is plain to see, but it’s the application to very local ingredients, in particular Cornish seafood, and the pared back, elegant presentation, that makes it so special.
The diminutive size of the restaurant – 30 covers are pretty closely packed into the old beamed building – gives the place a friendly feel (you can easily talk to your neighbours) and there’s a great sense of joie de vivre, which only happens when diners are confident that they’re going to be well looked after.
Expect to find mains such as a fresh fillet of cod with tiger prawns, peashoots and tartare sauce, or a beautiful piece of tender monkfish served with saffron cream, rosemary, rocket and a little jug of twicecooked chips. Details like this run through the whole experience, from the stalks of rosemary in the zinc bucket of Jason’s homemade sourdough and focaccia breads, to the sprig of fresh thyme decorating the orange tart with clotted cream. The wine list is also small but perfectly formed, with a pleasing 12 wines by the glass, including dessert wines and port.
Of course, situated as it is in a small Cornish fishing village, it’s the local restaurant of only a very few lucky individuals, but if you need an excuse for a foodie weekend away this winter, The Harbour is a very good one indeed. JR
Published on November 16, 2012.
Why not try Emily’s treacle tart recipe?