About the Basement
The Basement Restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall
We aim to provide our customers with quality, well cooked food, sourced from local producers and suppliers at reasonable prices. We encourage our staff to portray their own personalities in their work which enables them to enjoy what they do and make for a relaxed and informal dining experience. We welcome feedback from our customers, it helps us to improve our business and evolve over time.
We currently employ up to 5 chefs in our very busy kitchen. This enables us to make all of our food from scratch on the premises, daily, giving you the freshest of seasonal produce. We are lucky in that all our chefs support the vision of the business to provide reasonably priced, quality food from local suppliers.
Influences for our food come from all over the world but essentially we produce British food which is aimed at a high culinary level using techniques and practices used in much high levels of cookery. We pay particular attention to our presentation and the balance of flavors trying not to over complicate dishes. Simple cooking executed to a high standard.
Local suppliers are carefully chosen for their produce quality and ability to deliver little and often to keep our produce fresh. Being local doesnt always guarentee a quality product that said where quality exists we will always aim to buy locally benefiting our community in Padstow and Cornwall as a whole. There really is nothing we like more than a fisherman bringing in a bucket of fish or a local farmer turning up with a bag full of salad or vegetables.
History of The Basement and its location
The 19th century saw the crowded corners of ‘down town’ Padstow filled with its inhabitants of shipwrights, sawyers, block makers, blacksmiths and rope makers associated with its successful shipbuilding trade, along with the families of fisherman at sea and the butchers, boot makers, clock-makers, drapers and tailors who supplied their needs. Not forgetting the innkeepers who provided food and shelter for many a traveler. Padstow was in its’ hey day, exporting cured fish of many types, especially pilchards, as well as wheat, barley, oats, cheese and minerals.
Nowadays, all around the harbor, the warehouses, workshops and storerooms of an earlier age have been transformed, to meet the needs of its locals in business and the visitors who flock here each year to see its beauty, feel its atmosphere and sample the delicious food and drink it has to offer. Indeed, Padstow has welcomed visitors ever since the arrival of the railway in 1899 and the South Western Hotel (now the Metropole) soon after.
The Basement, restaurant is set in this unique cobbled alley known as ‘The Drang’, and all around, in the grey slated buildings, there are echoes of the people that lived and worked here.
Next door to The Basement, now the Lobster Pot, was the Candle House, supplying much needed light for home and shipboard and up the steps , above The Basement, was a sail loft with a large window to give the necessary vision for this highly skilled work. Beneath the activity of the workshop were the store rooms that are now The Basements restaurant area, where the rope, canvas and fishing nets would be stored. Maybe too the odd contraband item away from the prying eyes of the excise men. The store rooms were damp caverns smelling of tar and sea water that, at times of high tides, swirled about your feet! It seems difficult to imagine looking at it today.
What is now The Basements’ outside restaurant eating area was bordered by a high wall, behind which was part of the Bray and Parken empire; The last of Padstows merchants that had served the town so well. Their garage and various outbuildings were sold in the 1970’s and the business continued for a while from a caravan on the quay.
The premises then became an aquarium for a great many years until in the early 90’s the growing number of tourists enlightened its owners to provide a Cafe service then know as The Tea Leaf.
Then in 2001, current owner, David Flide was travelling in Australia and got a call from the owners of The Tea Leaf to say that the lease was available. This was signed and on his return, Dave opened the doors of The Basement as a Cafe in Padstow in February 2002.
The Cafe continued to grow and develop year on year and through valuable feedback adapted to its customers’ needs. In 2009 the Cafe part of the name was dropped when an internal and external re-fit transformed The Basement into what you now see today. Emma-Kate became very much a part of The Basement and a lot of money was invested into the food, and operational side of the business.
Through this investment and our passion for good food and service we are now able to hold our own in the very competitive streets of Padstow.