After months of wanting to visit ‘Mermaid Alley’, a restaurant hidden down a little lane in Penzance, I finally got the chance on the weekend. For a place situated in a street which itself is very much mundane and ordinary, the restaurant packs enough of a punch of flavour and personality to definitely bring the cobbled alley to life.
With many raving 5 * reviews on Trip Advisor, I knew that whatever I picked I would be in for a treat. The restaurant, although quaint, has two floors which fits an ample of amount of people and can entertain quite large parties of guests. Having checked earlier in the day, I was advised to book ahead as especially on a weekend evening they can book up very easily.
The decor inside the restaurant is aptly fitting for a seaside town, with a name capturing the essence of old folklore tales of Cornwall such as a ‘Mermaid Zennor’. Surrounded by ocean blue walls, the restaurant also has other sea-related bits and pieces floating around the ceilings above.
The menu, which I believe changes between seasons, has a vast array of different flavours and ingredients to take your fancy, whether you’re a big meat fanatic or a vegetarian. Being coeliac, obviously the most important thing to find out was what options can be gluten free. Although there wasn’t a separate gluten free menu, as all of their food is fresh and booked to order, the majority of dishes served could be made with gluten free ingredients which made me a happy lady.
Spoilt for choice, I eventually decided to pick the ‘California Fish & Chips’, although as I said, I did have very much a lot of options across the menu. Fish and chips is at its heart considered very traditional and extremely tasty, however it is not the most adventurous. Mermaid Alley however, stamped their own identity across one of England’s favourite meals, and put their own spin on bringing it to life and making it more aesthetically pleasing and fitting for a high end establishment.
The fish, cooked to perfection, was complimented wonderfully by the strong flavours of the garlic aoili and citrus coleslaw which accompanied it. A special shout out also to the batter which was amazing, so light and crispy. Fish, which of course cannot be without its trusty companion, this time in the guise of perfectly sized wedges, also tasted wonderful with the light hint of a lime and coriander crema delicately drawn across the plate. The meal itself was just the right size, and left me feeling full, but most definitely not stuffed.
As much as I love a traditional takeaway fish and chip meal, Mermaid Alley’s version of this classic gave it a new lease of life for me, and has definitely left me wanting their different take on this English staple again…and again!