After a long coastal walk alongside the rocky cliff side paths of St Ives, a hearty lunch was in order, and what could be more ideal that some proper pub grub in a swanky seaside local? With the family in tow, we headed for The Lifeboat Inn, one of the 170 St Austell Brewery branches, specialising in providing beer and real ales across the south west. The exterior definitely looked impressive enough for me, with a natural stone slab mason work and traditional black beams adding a grand quaintity to the place, big golden letters announcing the pub’s name, with a matching wooden sign swinging in the gentle afternoon breeze.
Surprisingly sophisticated The Lifeboat Inn is all nautical niceness, awash with pale blue walls juxtaposed with the natural dark wooden beams and flooring with muted grey stone accents. Clusters of tables were splattered around structural stone pillars; they were well spaced so you felt like you had plenty of room and privacy without being set aside from the talkative buzz of the atmosphere. The Lifeboat Inn is clearly all about family and friends, the tables spacious matched with blue and yellow striped armchair style seats or plain wooden dining chairs.
A gleaming and golden ship’s bell by the bar and a dart’s board ringed by a red and white circular float clearly targeted the tourist market, yet the strings of England flags had the hallmarks of a well-loved local, naturally settling into a typical World Cup routine. The décor was stylish and calming, not too in your face yet not underdone or wearing thin. The atmosphere was also great with bursts of chatter that created a comfortable background hum which was reassuring yet not interruptive.
The menu was full of classics – sausage and mash, burgers, fish and chips and plenty more, as well as smaller options such as sandwiches and salads. I decided to opt for a sandwich since it was lunchtime, zoning in on the pulled pork brioche bun sandwich, served with a mixed side salad and nachos. I am quite a fan of pulled pork and it’s one of those things that I don’t really eat too much at home, so it’s a rather nice treat to tuck in to when out and about. When my dish arrived, it looked great, served rustically on a rectangular chopping board, the bun left open so I could admire the mound of pulled pork strands, the dressing pooled elegantly atop the bed of salad leaves, the little side dish of sour cream temptingly smooth and ready for dunking.
The side salad was simple and crunchy, consisting of rocket, tomato slices, onion, cucumber and completed with a light French style dressing that added a nice tint of flavour without being overbearing. The brioche bun was left plain with no sauce or spreads, it’s typically glossy top wonderfully domed and incredibly appealing to sink your fingertips into. The pulled pork sat on the base of my open bun, in a patty shaped circle. It was absolutely delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the flavourful and juicy shreds, the meaty flavours leaking into the bread of the bun. The meat mountain was topped with a couple of small green leaves for added garnish. Although the pork was yummy, it wasn’t quite saucy enough for my liking, so I had to add a dollop of tomato ketchup for some added ooze, although in an ideal world, I think some BBQ sauce would be a match made in heaven for this super lovely sandwich. The pork was succulent and top notch.
The sandwich was said to be served with nachos, however I found this rather misleading. Nachos usually contains tortilla chips piled high with melted cheddar cheese, guacamole, spicy salsa and sour cream but this wasn’t what I was presented with. My nachos were a tall white ramekin filled with slightly salted tortilla chips, paired with a dip dish filled with sour cream. To be honest, this suited me fine and went with the rest of the meal nicely, but if you were a big nachos fan looking forward to tucking into some cheesy, saucy chips with your meal then you probably would have been disappointed. The portion size was ideal for lunch time, being nice and filling without leaving you over stuffed and needing to waddle away from your table. I even had space to nab myself an ice cream at a nearby sweet shop. The pulled pork was the undoubted star of the show, and I really enjoyed my meal, which I had with a large fizzing glass of zingy lemonade. The staff were polite, friendly and efficient, even wrapping up leftover food for us to take away with us. Definitely an ideal spot to sit away from it all if you need to put your feet up over some decent food and drink.