Like all the best stories, the precise history of the Gimlet is a little hazy and differs depending on which bartender is making your drink. What is agreed on, is that the Gimlet was born at sea, concocted as a cure-all and administered to British naval officers in the 19th century. The Gimlet was even considered so essential for good health that London Dry Gin and Rose’s Lime Cordial - the two key ingredients - were staples on all British expeditions.
Today, of course, the Gimlet is widely enjoyed around the world as a truly classic cocktail. Its crisp, refreshing flavours take us back to the sea, and we can’t help but be reminded of bright, breezy days spent along the rugged Cornish coast. Known for its breathtaking scenery as well as its exceptional seafood, we can’t think of a better match for our Gimlet than this slice of paradise on our own doorstep. If you’re dreaming of dipping your toes in the sand while indulging in sublime seafood along with a Gimlet, you’re not the only one. To inspire your next staycation, we've sought out a few of the best Cornish restaurants with menus that perfectly accompany this iconic cocktail.
1) Ferry Boat Inn, Helford Passage
Meander down from Falmouth along the South West Coast Path, and you will eventually come to the Ferry Boat Inn sat on the waterfront of Helford Passage. This is a model Cornish pub: dating back over 300 years, the family-owned Ferry Boat Inn is wedged into a small cove, surrounded by sloping fields, with idyllic views across the water. Fresh fish dishes and seafood are, naturally, the stars of the show - seabass linguine and mackerel tacos with beetroot harissa are notable favourites - but a “farm-to-table” philosophy resonates throughout the whole menu and dishes are changed depending on what's in season.
2) Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick Beach
The Hidden Hut, to those in the know, feels like it ought to be a closely guarded secret. Another coastal path gem, at first glance it appears to be little more than a seaside shack with a handful of picnic tables clustered outside. It may then surprise you to hear that the same beach hut has been described as “an unforgettable eating experience” by culinary giants like Rick Stein, not just for its picture-perfect location but for its fresh take on phenomenal seafood. Smoked haddock chowder comes with fat hunks of focaccia still warm from the oven, served with fresh local samphire for a suitably Cornish twist. A real must-visit destination for any dedicated foodie.
3) Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac
Formerly the 2 Michelin Starred “Restaurant Nathan Outlaw”, Outlaw’s New Road is the youngest restaurant on this list and opened its doors in July 2020. The eponymous head chef, Nathan Outlaw, is considered by many to be the finest seafood chef in Britain; so it may surprise fish lovers on a pilgrimage to this restaurant on the North Coast of Cornwall to see simple, unfussy dishes that focus firmly on the main ingredient. A laidback set menu highlights the supreme quality of the local fish, featuring locally inspired dishes like Port Isaac Lobster Tart, and dover sole with rich clotted cream. Visitors are flocking to Port Isaac to nab a seat at the table here, so we highly recommend booking in advance.
4) Prawn on the Lawn, Padstow
We all, of course, know Padstow is famous among foodies for Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant - so much so that it’s sometimes dubbed as “Padstein” by the locals - but instead the next stop on our trip along the Cornish North Coast is a rising star in the Michelin rankings, Prawn on the Lawn. With honourable mentions in The Michelin Star Guide every year since its inception, POTL won the prestigious accolade of Best UK Seafood Restaurant last year, and looking at its menu of Asian inspired small plates it’s easy to see why. Although the menu changes on a daily basis (even hourly, depending on what the local fishermen have caught), guests can expect to sample scallops seared in a Thai marinade with basil, or Hake with truffle oil and parmesan cheese. Londoners, rejoice: they even have a location in Highbury!
5) Porthminster Beach Café, St. Ives
Last but by no means least, we come to the final stop of our South West pilgrimage: the Porthminster Beach Café. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming name - this beachside restaurant, wedged onto the St. Ives coast, serves up a thoroughly memorable dining experience. Spectacular, uninterrupted views across Porthminster Sands and St. Ives bay accompany elegant Asian-Mediterranean cuisine, prepared with produce gathered from its own garden and herbs foraged from coastal walks. Fragrant and beautifully spiced dishes such as the Indonesian monkfish curry are popular here, although customers in search of perfected classics like Cornish Moules Marinière will not be disappointed.
The botanical aroma and zesty citrus profile of our Gimlet makes it a perfect match for the seafood and days on the coast. Take a closer look and create your perfect Share Box to pair with your next staycation here.