The Longstore, Charlestown
You had us at steaks and seafood! This Cornish harbour-side eatery was named ‘Best Restaurant’ in this year’s Muddy Awards. Here's why...
The best thing about running the Muddy Awards each year is discovering brilliant new places to visit in Cornwall and this year, our clever readers voted in their droves for a brilliant harbour-side restaurant that specialises in steaks and seafood. A crowd-pleasing combination and especially good here in Cornwall, where the local meat and fish is so fantastic. And the quintessentially Cornish setting doesn’t hurt either…
The Longstore occupies the spacious upstairs of an industrial-style building, overlooking Charlestown’s ridiculously picturesque harbour and historic tall ships (Poldark ahoy!). And downstairs you’ll find Short & Strong, a brilliant café/ coffee house, which is under the same ownership.
There is masses to see and do in this part of Cornwall and The Longstore would make a perfect lunch stop or dinner destination, after a day out exploring. The Lost Gardens of Heligan (another Muddy winner) is just a few miles away as is the Eden Project and numerous pretty harbour towns are dotted along this stretch of coastline, from Polperro to Mevagissey.
Stylish (right down to the waitresses’ denim aprons) yet relaxed, the large lofty interior is cladded with white wood with industrial touches, exposed brick work and an open kitchen.
Beautiful oyster-shell chandeliers (designed by artist Sarah Hunkin) provide an elegant focal point and floor-to-ceiling windows look out onto the L-shaped balcony and the bustle of the harbour beneath.
The kitchen team is lead by Ben Ambridge – one of the friendliest chef’s I’ve met and formerly of Fifteen Cornwall, Rick Stein’s Seafood and The Plume of Feathers. His extensive menu (as it says on the tin) showcases the very best of Cornish produce from the land and sea and changes seasonally, with daily specials to keep it fresh.
We sampled insanely good scallops, with garlic and caper butter, n’duja and crispy pangrattato, crab on toast (refreshingly with the flavoursome brown meat included), rump steak with béarnaise and rosemary fries and their best-selling sticky beef salad, with chilli, lime and coriander. Mr Muddy could literally have eaten this all day.
I also ordered a veggie dish – for research purposes you understand – of harissa smoked aubergine, with mint yoghurt, fresh bread and pickles. And while the emphasis is on meat and fish, there are a few tasty and imaginative vegetarian options on the menu – this one made a lovely light starter.
One thing you can be sure of is that you won’t leave The Longstore hungry, the portions are generous and we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave a bite. The service is equally good, provided by a welcoming and efficient front of house team.
The Longstore has recently joined The National Lobster Hatchery’s ‘Buy One, Set One Free’ conservation efforts and for every lobster sold in the restaurant, they will sponsor a baby lobster to be raised and released back into the Cornish sea.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Meat and seafood lovers. Cocktails and a special dinner or a lazy lunch with a view, overlooking one of Cornwall’s most picturesque, historic harbours.
Not for: If you are a veggie/ vegan who likes a lot of choice – there are a few options but meat and fish dishes dominate the menu.
The damage: Starters from £6.75 / Steaks from £20 / Fish mains from £15.50
The Longstore – Steaks & Seafood, Charlestown Harbour, Cornwall, PL25 3NJ. 01726 68598. Thelongstore.co.uk