Nathan himself is a huge talent and was awarded his first Michelin star aged just 25 for his first restaurant The Black Pig, also in Rock but now closed. Restaurant Nathan Outlaw opened in February 2010, instantly ranked 5th in the Good Food Guide in 2011 and retained that place in the recently published 2012 Guide. With Nathan born in 1978, it also means that he achieved all this including the second star before his 33rd birthday - seriously impressive.
It hasn't gone to his head however and Nathan is still in the kitchen each and every service, and we were super impressed with his commitment to his diners when we heard that during the previous week, he left half way through his meal at The French Laundry at Harrods so he could return to Cornwall and make the evening service at the Restaurant.
We were lucky enough to meet Nathan on our visit and really enjoyed our opportunity to hear more about his food and his restaurant. The kitchen is tiny and seems filled when occupied by just Nathan, his head chef Thomas Carr and two apprentice chefs. It reminded us of the set up at Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham, another unassuming but brilliant two star.
The dining room is comfortable rather than grand and seats around 20 people. The menu here is a seafood tasting menu only, four fish courses and two desserts. There's an amuse to start of cured mackerel on a smoked mackerel and horseradish roll that is delicious. Running front of house through the night is Stephanie who brought a sparkle to the dining room to give the restaurant a relaxed and lively feel, never hushed and stuffy.
What was also a very nice touch is that Beverage Manager Damon, who paired wines absolutely superbly throughout the meal provided us a drink amuse with a mini glass of Krug champagne which was such a wonderful thing to do.
Next we have John Dory with Girolles, Pine Nuts and Red Wine Dressing. It's a nice progression, taking the flavours up a notch. The John Dory comes both pan fried and in lightly curried batter. Also on the plate are fried tomatoes, rocket and more so that every mouthful is varied and interesting. It's a delight.
There's hogs pudding on a potato terrine that is boudin blanc like and provides the sausage to the breakfast while the egg was a thing of beauty. The sauce around the outside is made from tamarind pods so providing a HP Sauce addition to the dish to really make it an all round breakfast plate. This is a dish of absolute beauty and a dish that we couldn't stop talking about for days after.
It almost makes us feel sorry for the final fish course that has to follow it. The Brill with Crab & Porthilly Sauce really was excellent however, the crab sauce unbelievably good. Porthilly is a coastal settlement four miles from Rock and the source of the crabs; there's celeriac, courgettes and prawns there also. A roasted garlic brioche with mussel butter is served on the side if you want to mop up the sauce. It's another exquisite dish.
We loved our meal at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw. Nathan has put together a great team both in the kitchen and front of house, and Stephanie and Damon really enhanced our enjoyment of the night through their knowledge, care and personal interaction with us.
If you want to know how good seafood can be, a trip to restaurant Nathan Outlaw is an absolute must.
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