If you’d asked me a week ago to name my favourite restaurant in the entire world, I’d have said the Ministry of Crab in Colombo. (We rise above the allergic reaction my son William had to a mystery ingredient on the plane home: the crustaceans were above reproach.)
But that establishment has been trumped, in surprising circumstances. Returning from Cornwall, I beguiled the time that I had to spend waiting for the sleeper at Truro by ordering a fish dinner at the Falmouth Bay Seafood Café. Reader, it was heaven.
Sometimes, the fish is caught by the owner, Valerie Thomson, and her daughter Charlotte in their boat. The wild garlic that flavoured the mayonnaise was foraged from the hedgerows by the 25-year-old chef Tom Mackins. Before opening the restaurant in 2008, Valerie ran an oysterage in Falmouth (hence the name) and so knows a thing or two about shellfish.
The business has taken its toll, as her husband died of a heart attack on the eve of the opening of new premises in 2013. But the show had to go on and the menu was transformed when Tom took over the kitchen two months ago. Local is their watchword. Michelin ought to take note: this remote cathedral city is nurturing creativity and food ethics. No wonder the behemoth of Tesco, no-place food personified, is suffering.