Muddy Eats: Ruin Beach Cafe, Tresco
Well here’s a little gem I heard about back on the mainland. Rumour has it, The Ruin Beach Cafe at Old Grimsby on Tresco has a waiting list as long as your arm. Ok maybe not as long as my arm, but you’ll have to book at least a few days in advance in high season, which is no joke when you’re in desperate need of somewhere to feed the fam. So in the name of (selfless) research, I thought I’d put it to the Muddy test for you and find out if its worth the wait. I know, I’m ALL heart (ok and belly).
Lets start with the location. 10 out of 10 for having a beach aspect, with unbeatable views out to the Eastern Isles (where we saw seals earlier in the day). Decorated in typical Tresco style (think Jack Wills on holiday in Martha’s Vineyard – lots of driftwood and pebble art), this is smart-casual dining at its most laidback – deck shoes without socks is a must if you’re a bloke.
With no cars (ie taxi’s) on the island, its fortunate that the Ruin Beach is in staggering distance of anywhere on Tresco whether you are staying at the New Inn or luxeing it up in your timeshare, which means no-one needs to be the designated driver.
Menuwise, its pretty standard, but interesting enough as the choice is vast – from the specials that change daily, to six or seven choices per course on the standard menu. The focus was Italian, and quite fish centric, but not exclusively so: there were local veg and meat dishes along side the seafood offerings. Oh and a pizza menu. The Ruin Beach has its own wood fire oven and offers a choice of five or six pizzas too.
Mr MC tucked into Cornish Scallops, wood fired in garlic butter to start and they were lightly cooked with just a hint of the wood fire and lashings of garlic. I plumped for the duck agrodolce on grilled focaccia – a really delicious cold duck salad.
For mains, Mr MC chose the pork from the specials board, and I played it safe with chicken. Both were very good – a tip of the hat to the chef on these. We quaffed quite a lot of decent red wine, suggested by our waitress, which may be why I can’t quite remember what it was.
We shared a deadly chocolately ganache for desert. By this point I was rather comfortably sozzled in a laidback on holiday kinda way and I didn’t take any pics, but believe me it was rich and heavenly. A few more glasses of wine ‘for the road’ and we wended our way.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
So was it worth the wait? This is definitely the best place to eat on Tresco, and with a captive audience, its not surprising you need to book ahead. It was typically busy the night we went, which the staff are clearly well used to dealing with. Amazing views, prompt service, friendly and efficient staff and decent grub.
Good for: Families: ask for a shady table outside and the nippers can play on the beach. The menu is varied so they will be something to suit everyone. Day trippers to Tresco (as long as you book) – Ruin Beach is right on Old Grimsby quay. Birthdays – I’d happily celebrate mine here. Breakfast! They’re open from 8am – try the granola, I’ve heard its tasty.
Not for: Fans of formal dining. Spontaneous diners – you have to book. Quiet romantic twosomes: the restaurant is nearly always full = can get a bit rowdy, so I’m stumped as to why the Telegraph listed it one of Britain’s most romantic restaurants – though maybe out of season it is more so.
£££: Exceptional value. Tresco has a reputation of being expensive, but this wasn’t reflected in the price – The most expensive starter was the crab at £11, and mains wise, nothing was more than £20.
8am – 10:30pm daily, The Ruin Beach Cafe, Old Grimsby, Tresco TR24 0PU T: 01720 424849