The Mermaid restaurant St Ives

The Mermaid exterior

The Mermaid exterior

When we walked in I was immediately impressed. “This is what Cornwall should be like,” I thought to myself. The place was covered in bric’n’brac’n’nic’n’nac’n’tat. And so forth. Everywhere were photos of salty fishermen, nautical memorabilia, fishing nets, statuettes, bottles in wicker baskets. The only thing I would have added would have been a few of those mermaids sailors brought back from the Orient in Victorian times. You know, the ones where they sewed a monkey’s upper body to a fish. I can’t believe the oversight.

A very nice lady showed us to our table and took our coats. Our table had a Thai flag hanging over it for some reason. That must have just been a crazy coincidence. I ordered a bottle of very nice Pinot Grigio and we looked through the menu while listening to Billie Holiday. All pretty damn pleasant and Cornish. Of course my entire experience of Cornwall comes from movies and vague assumptions I’ve just made up.

Charming little booths

We shared a starter of Scallops which were awesome. Nice and big and in a tasty sauce. Being a glutton, I also ordered some garlic toast which mopped up the scallop sauce nicely.

For our mains – Nim opted for a dish that had three fish on it: John Dory, lemon sole, and seabass. They were all tasty and well cooked but I get bored of fish pretty quick unless it is done Asian style with a spicy sauce. Because I’m an oik and fish are just fish.

I had a monkfish and tiger-prawn crepe. Which was fantastic. Nice big chunks of monkfish and fairly big tiger-prawns for England. (In Asia they’d just call them prawns but that’s another issue.)

The meal came with side-dishes of new potatoes, mange tout, and two large cauliflowers in batter. All of which were nice, although the cauliflower got to be a bit much with all my cheese sauce from my crepe. Even I have limits on batter and cheese.

After this, we had two lattes. Which were like, you know, lattes.

The bill came to exactly sixty quid. So thirty a head. Which is fairly good value I guess, although better deals can be found elsewhere.  I’ll get back to you on that.

My only real gripe with the whole evening was that after Billie Holiday they played a boy-band album. I think it may even have been Take That. I mean, for fuck’s sake. When the song ‘let it shine’ came on, I kept thinking of budget supermarket adverts and it made the food taste slightly cheaper. I suddenly felt like I was eating in a Harvester or something.

I suppose I could have got the music changed but it’s not my restaurant and I shouldn’t have to. Nowhere should play this kind of music in public unless they are catering for teenage girls or twats who think a big gold chain looks good.

Other than that. A very pleasant experience indeed! Good food, nice ambience, great staff. A bit cheaper and better music and it would be superb. There is better food to be found in St Ives but the Mermaid has a atmosphere of its own.

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