We’re excited to present a very special collaborative cocktail by Porthilly Spirit Distillery and Prawn on the Lawn, paired with one of their most-loved dishes, blowtorched hand-dived scallop, shaohsing cucumber, crispy Szechuan oil and Thai basil.
We’re longtime fans of Cornish favourites Prawn on the Lawn, founded by Katie and Rick Toogood. Pre-pandemic, their two restaurants in London and the centre of Padstow were incredibly popular and always busy. They caught our eye doing things differently, more creatively, more experimentally — and, if times had been different, they would have hosted a long-table supper at our festival. COVID times have forced them to seek somewhere with more space, and so they’ve joined forces with our friend Ross Geach at Padstow Kitchen Garden on Trerethern Farm.
Prawn on the Lawn wanted to create a cocktail that celebrated the ingredients grown in the garden behind the restaurant and that would pair with their torched hand-dived scallop dish. With general manager Jonny taking the lead on a cocktail recipe they chose our Coastal Gin, which is distilled using botanicals gathered along the Cornish coast — a welcome pairing to the hand-dived scallops. Ross had a glut of cucumbers along with cucamelons, tiny fruit that resembles a cross between a watermelon and a cucumber. The flavour of this fruit is very similar to cucumber with a hint of sourness. We loved this drink, a true meeting of land and sea.
POTL X PSD Cucumber and Thyme Sour
CUCUMBER AND THYME SOUR
- 50ml Porthilly Gin
- 25ml blitzed cucumber, skin on
- 12.5ml lemon and thyme syrup*
- 25ml lime juice
- Half a pipette of Ms. Better's Miraculous Foamer Bitters (VG) or one egg white
- Inch of thyme leaves
Combine all of the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and give them a dry shake (shaking without ice), then add ice to the shaker and shake again, hard, for around 10 seconds. Strain into your chosen ice filled glass and garnish with a cucamelon and sprinkling of thyme leaves.
LEMON AND THYME SUGAR SYRUP
- 200g caster sugar
- 100g water
- Juice of half lemon, zest of a whole lemon
- 10 sprigs of thyme
Bring the water to a simmer and then take off the heat before adding the sugar. Next add the lemon juice, zest and thyme. Stir then cover and allow to cool before fine straining into a sealed sterile container. Store in the fridge and use within two weeks.
Prawn on the Lawn paired it with blowtorched hand-dived scallop, shaohsing cucumber, crispy Szechuan oil and thai basil. Cucumbers are peeled, diced and combined with soy sauce, Shaohsing rice wine, mirin, sesame oil, black and white sesame seeds. The Szechuan oil is based on one that Rick tried and loved in Chinatown, made from fermented soy beans, toasted Cornish chilli, Sichuan pepper, deep fried shallots, soya bean oil, pinch of smoked paprika and a little salt.
“Our connection with the sea began with Rick. He was born in Guernsey and came to Cornwall every summer as a kid, and was obsessed with fishmongers and seafood. I used to holiday in Padstow too and loved being close to the sea.
“We started our restaurant seven years ago to take the formalities out of fish and seafood dining. While at home we all share dishes, but in seafood restaurants we eat differently — they are often set up to order individually. We were one of the first seafood restaurants in the area offering small-plates, to make seafood more fun and experimental and less intimidating — to stimulate curiosity and encourage people to not be afraid to try different things and ask questions. We’re inspired by other cultures — Thai, Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese, Spanish, Italian to name a few!
“We wanted to tell a story about where our produce comes from. People want to know more about the source than they have before — they want to know what boat the fish comes from, and even the name of the fisherman. People are also a lot more conscious about the environment too — from thinking about buying locally to waste. Here we use every part, including fish heads and tails.
“Lockdown times have made us simplify things. We moved to Padstow Kitchen Gardens at Trerethern Farm and we reassessed our priorities — what we should keep and what we can lose. We will often only have three elements on a plate now, with brilliant ingredients doing the flavoursome work, and our cocktails are simplified too.
We knew Will at Trefresa Farm was opening a distillery but we were so busy, we hadn’t had the time to look into cocktails. We began offering the classics and then gave Charlie & Johnny free reign to be more creative. Now, people come here for the cocktails — Porthilly Spirit Distillery’s drinks made over the crest of the hill that you can see in the distance are a part of that story. Lockdown has given us the time to forge new relationships and work on interesting creative collaborations like this one with Porthilly Spirit Distillery.”
“My advice for anyone starting out is to stay true to your vision and listen to your gut. When you start something, you’ll have whole swathes of advice given to you — some of it good, some of it less useful — and it’s easy to be pulled in other directions. The way to remain unique is to stay true to what you set out to do.”