No trip down to the sunny south west coast would be complete without sampling the traditional Brit delicacy of fish and chips, so when my father-in-law recommended local hot spot Beck’s Restaurant, I jumped at the chance to get stuck in to some classic Cornish fodder. Not only does Beck’s offer an inviting restaurant, but there is also the takeaway option – the queue stumbling out of the door a very decent sign of the quality of the food within.
Just a simple five minute drive away from our holiday base camp, Beck’s has all the hallmarks of a favoured local restaurant that oddly enough was inundated by OAP’s and the older generation! As we walked in through the main entrance, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the easy going grandeur, putting you at ease instantly yet also making you feel that the venue had an understated class. A beautifully glossy light oak bar was situated on the right hand side of the entrance, gleaming bottles of spirits reflected against a background mirror. Opposite the bar was an old fashioned crazy paving style stone fireplace, bejewelled with a golden gilded mirror balanced artfully above the mantelpiece; typical logs or coals swapped for a decadent spray of flowers. Vases of vibrant coloured lilies were scattered about on visible surfaces, giving a fresh and homely feel.
Muted, dusty golden sofa seats lined the left edge of the room, with small circular tables surrounded by low seated stools adjacent the sofas, forming a rather luxurious waiting area, emphasised all the more by the burnished chandeliers hanging casually above our heads. Despite the carefully planted glamour, the atmosphere was incredibly relaxed and comfortable, with a distinct feel. The majority of the staff also seemed to be middle aged or older which was a contrast to the swap of twenty-something servers you usually come across back home, which suggests how beloved this place really is in the community.
Moving through from the waiting area, we were shown to a wooden rectangular table, vertically against a sofa seat; with one dining chair either side to accommodate the three of us. I let the long legged menfolk take the dining chairs as I squeezed myself on to the sofa seat – annoyingly, the table leg was directly in my way, so I had to inconspicuously shuffle to one side just so that I could sit vaguely comfortably, so I’m not sure how much thought had gone in to the table arrangement. The dining area was just as lovely as the waiting area though, with seaside images in black and white adorning the walls, a collection of glass bottles holding salt, pepper and vinegar decking out the table. I loved the unique vinegar glass that reminded me of a perfume bottle – apparently you tip the glass so vinegar drenches the glass stopper lid, and then this is what you use to scatter the vinegar across your plate of steaming chips.
Since this was our first official night in Cornwall, it had to be the whole hog of three courses, so to start I settled on deep fried brie and camembert, served with a small side salad and a cranberry jelly that arrived in a separate dip dish. When it arrived, I was pleased by the generous portion size – two thick wedges of triangular brie and a small round of camembert. The breadcrumbs did seem a little processed, but the cheese encased within was completely oozy with a thick, treacly texture; the skins of the cheeses completely soaked into the darkly golden crumbs. The pungent yet silky melted cheese was completely delicious, especially when paired with the bite of the fried breadcrumbs. The cranberry jelly didn’t seem homemade but added a tangy squish to crunchy crumbs, also acting as a thick dressing for the salad leaves.
When in Rome, you order fish and chips, so from the varied selection on offer I went very traditional with a cod and chips, opting for tartar sauce and a slice of wholemeal bread to boot – after all a decent fish and chips always requires a chip butty. The cod fillet was massive, filling an entire half of my plate, the batter a blossoming golden colour with a simple coated crunch, bubbling blissfully and generously over the fish. It was almost like unwrapping a present when you cut into the light and crispy batter, as the cod was cooked to perfection, the pure white fillet flaking easily. It was so soft to eat adding a great juxtaposition to the batter, the quality of the fish evident in its texture and natural taste.
The chips were also very moreish, rather like your normal takeaway chips but smaller and skinnier in size and less soggy. I drenched my plate in the zingy tang of the gloopy tartar sauce, as well as a generous blob of tomato ketchup for my chip dunking purposes. At the end of the day, this is a dish without a glossy veneer – it’s a classic combo that works well, but Beck’s have gone the extra mile to ensure that their produce and execution stand up to the mark, and this is evident when the delicious food is placed in front of you. It was a real pleasure to devour every single mouthful, as my family jokingly watched in amazement as I cleared my colossal plate with loveable gusto. Big thumbs up for the main course.
I take my desserts very seriously, so I was super impressed by the astounding amount of choices I had to pick from – not only was there a page in the main menu dedicated to the sweet stuff, but there was also a specials board containing a list of at least seven additional desserts. My track record for dessert decision making isn’t great, but I knuckled down and decided to go for something I have never tried before, yet still counts as a classic – the Knickerbocker Glory. Served in a tall and slim sundae glass, there was a base of strawberry jelly and fruit cocktail pieces that were then piled with strawberry ice cream, lime jelly cubes, chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream and an opulent scoop of clotted cream on top. Squirts of whipped cream surrounded the solid clotted cream creating a moat effect, two wafer triangles speared into the ice cream, adjacent to a chocolate straw, cherry and the ever optimistic bright yellow paper brolly.
I was a tad underwhelmed, as it looked like a load of easy components I could just chuck together at home, however it was really refreshing after the heavy carb overload for my main course, and it dealt with my ice cream craving nicely. The clotted cream was a really brilliant surprise that boosted the sundae massively, as it tasted divine with the ice cream, giving it an extra depth of texture and an additional thickness that I loved. It was nice and I always enjoy a good sundae.
Price wise, I would say Beck’s is incredibly reasonable for the food that you receive. Two courses for three people, plus my cheeky additional dessert came to £50, our drinks at the bar beforehand (a shandy, lager and glass of white zinfandel) totalling £7 so on the whole, so you get an awful lot of food for your money, which is great value especially when considering the quality of the dishes. The atmosphere was also really unique, offering a relaxed vibe that was also lively and full of chatter, distinctly popular with the locals. I thought Beck’s Fish and Chips Restaurant was fantastic, and it is definitely a venue I will be re-visiting when next in Cornwall – the food was almost like pub grub with a focus on local produce, with big portion sizes leaving you satisfied and stuffed without draining your wallet. We waddled back to the chalet very happily!