Moving away from home was the start of a new creative chapter for these adventurous chefs
Savour gastronomic journeys, from Padstow to Provence
Prawn on the Lawn’s Rick and Katie Toogood left their Islington restaurant to be closer to the source of their produce in Padstow The Prawn on the Lawn story could easily have started and ended in London. Established in 2013, Rick and Katie Toogood’s Islington-based fishmonger’s, where customers were encouraged to sit in and enjoy a glass of wine with seafood from the counter, attracted critical acclaim and soon expanded into a 35-seater restaurant. At the same time, the couple were regularly travelling to Cornwall to meet their suppliers; during a visit to Padstow, they spotted an opportunity to open a second site where they could expand their culinary horizons. They haven’t looked back since moving there permanently in 2015. ‘Here, we can change our menu up to five times a day depending on what the fishermen bring in,’ explains Katie. ‘That keeps us thinking creatively.’ So does the opportunity to serve hot food, which they hadn’t been licensed to do in Islington. ‘Now we can bake our crab with, say, a lime and coriander butter instead of just putting it on ice, and we can add a tempura-style batter to oysters grown a stone’s throw from the restaurant,’ says Rick. On summer evenings, the pair love heading down to the beach with a picnic hamper packed with their beetroot-cured salmon, smoked-haddock Scotch eggs – ‘a classic with a twist’ – and a wellmatched local beer such as Padstow Brewing Company’s Lobster Tale. ‘Prawn on the Lawn: Fish and Seafood to Share’ by Rick and Katie Toogood (£18.99, Pavilion Books) is out now.
BUTTERFLIED SARDINES WITH MANGO SALSA
INGREDIENTS 12 sardines, butterflied (ask your fishmonger to do this) Olive oil, for drizzling Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ mango, peeled, stoned and cubed ½ small red onion, finely diced 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced A small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped, with some leaves reserved for garnish Juice of 1 lime
Place the sardines on a baking tray, skin-side up, drizzle with olive oil and season. Mix the mango, red onion, chilli, coriander and lime juice together with a little oil. Set aside. Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Place the butterflied sardines into the pan, skin-side down. The meat of the fish will gradually change colour from a pinkish-red to an opaque white. When it gets halfway up the side of the fish, flip the sardines over and cook for a further 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving plate, spoon on a pile of the mango salsa and garnish with the coriander leaves.
prawn on the lawn’s seafood dishes. below left: katie and rick toogood