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Published: 3 December 2009

Camden's Coast Dining
The Cornish coast is clear, and it’s a lot nearer than you think

The natural light and warm climes of Cornwall, continues to attracts famous artists. Now Matthew Lewin has found a restaurant that draws from the same characteristics

BRINGING Cornwall to Camden” is the idea behind this bright and welcoming new addition to that increasingly impressive culinary centre known as Parkway, Camden Town.
I know it’s hard, as we go into dark, wet winter to imagine all that warmth and famous Cornish light that attracted Hampstead artists like Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth, but Coast founder David Upton, whose family comes from St Ives, makes a jolly good stab at it – and the food is good too.
The tables are pale wood, the chairs white leather, the walls white, there is lots of light and, down towards the open kitchen, there are communal tables.
The result is a feeling of space and cheerfulness, but there is a downside – there are no soft furnishings to absorb sound and when it’s busy it’s going to be rather noisy.
The menu sports lots of things like beer-battered fish and chips, rock oysters, fishcakes, fish pie, fish soup, scallops, mussels, and various specials from the market.
There is also a very enticing-sounding (but fairly pricey) plateau de fruits de mer for two – with fresh Dorset crab at £30 each, and with a whole split lobster it comes to £40 each.
But there is also some comfort for unreconstructed carnivores with rib-eye steaks and a classic beef burger and chips.
My Chief Culinary Adviser had a glass of nice fresh prawns with a proper aioli that, unlike some we have had recently, was not just some Hellmann’s with added garlic.
My starter was a rich and flavoursome fish soup with melba toast croutons – which could have been even better had the accompanying rouille had a bit more bite and backbone.
My adviser then opted for the evening special, pan-fried red mullet with crushed Jersey royals and bits of lobster (lots of bits) in a light shellfish jus. This notoriously bony fish was expertly filleted and perfectly cooked, and I wasn’t surprised to see that before the night was out this dish was sold out.
I had a sumptuously creamy lobster tagliatelle in a white wine cream sauce. The pasta was suitably al dente and I was impressed by the amount of lobster involved.
Mind you, the dish cost £15 so one has a right to expect a decent portion of shellfish.
We found the desserts on offer a little pedestrian, except for a chocolate mousse with clotted cream that engaged my adviser completely for a few minutes and resulted in a very thoroughly scraped plate. I think she liked it.
Our bill came to £48 for the food. Add one glass of wine and service and the whole thing came to £30 a head. Not cheap, but the price vs quality coefficient was on the right side of the equation. Just.
On Monday to Friday there is a good value, two-course special menu at £9.50 at lunchtime and from 6-7pm.

Very cheerful fish restaurant with good food, clean white interior and art (for sale) on the walls. Open Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. Expect to spend around £25 each for three courses, before drinks and service.
50 per cent off house Champagne and sparkling wine for December
Rating: 3/5

Coast Dining
108 Parkway, Camden Town, NW1
 020 7267 9555



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