Cupcakes Café, Port Isaac, Cornwall

The last time I visited Port Isaac was about 4 years ago when I still ate gluten. We’d walked the South West Coastal Path from Tintagel, a walk the man in the Tintagel Tourist Information Office had told us would take at least 7 hours to cover. Being fairly competitive and keen walkers, neither of us had believed it could possibly take 7 hours to cover 9 miles – albeit most of which turned out to be going up and down hill rather than noticeably forwards. In the end the walk took us half that time but we were ravenous from a fairly challenging walk and the sea air by the time we marched into the picturesque Cornish coastal fishing village of Port Isaac. We each greedily devoured an enormous Cornish pasty.

This time, things were different. After a slight incident involving a hungry person (me) watching someone eating an enormous Cornish pasty (guess who) on Port Isaac’s pebbly beach while the tide was out, we sought out something gluten free to eat. To be honest, my hopes weren’t high. But ever the optimist, I’d asked in the Cornish pasty shop if they knew somewhere offering gluten free food. No, they’d said, there’s nothing like that in January. The jolly lady behind the counter (un)helpfully suggested I had one of their pasties and just ate the filling and discarded the pastry. Ummm….thanks, but no thanks!

So I was ecstatic as we walked up a narrow street by the Port Isaac lifeboat station to find the Cupcakes Café.

I love it when restaurants and have exactly what I fancy eating rather than just anything gluten free on the menu because there is only one ‘choice’. A bowl of leek, potato and celery soup was delicious and warming.

The waitress said they usually have gluten free bread but they didn’t on that day. Maybe it was a January thing. They did offer me a gluten free scone but…..

Slightly overawed with the opportunity I felt it would be wrong to turn down a gluten free cream tea. I’m not a fan of cream but the Cornish clotted cream knocked my socks off, it was SO good. Good job I live a long way from Cornwall and can’t buy any of that! I was also pleased that they had my favourite Tea Pigs tea available.

I later found out that the Cupcakes Café is run by one of the Port Isaac RNLI lifeboatmen and former Fisherman’s Friend.

Location: Cupcakes Café, Middle Street, Port Isaac PL29 3RH

Opening hours: Breakfast, lunch and afternoon cakes

Would I go back?: Absolutely. Next time I need a gluten free scone and Cornish clotted cream fix, I’m heading straight for this super friendly café.

Port Isaac Fact: Although I’ve never watched it, Port Isaac is the setting for the ITV series Doc Martin.

Gluten Free Fish & Chips at Rick Stein’s, Padstow

There are few things which say seaside holiday more to me that tucking into fish and chips while sitting beside the sea, irrespective of the best the British weather can throw at you. Sadly, these days the opportunities for gluten free fish and chips are limited.

So imagine my delight when I discovered that the king of fish, Rick Stein, offers gluten free fish and chips from his establishments in Padstow.

The strange thing is that they don’t advertise gluten free fish and chips either on their website or within the shop. I have no idea why this is.

As well as standard fish and chip shop fare, the menu offers a vegetarian option and also a healthier grilled fish.

In advance of our trip to Cornwall I contacted Rick Stein’s to ascertain whether they were truly gluten free – gluten free batter in a separate, dedicated fryer. They replied immediately to confirm this is the case.

Once I’d ordered the highly efficient staff in the kitchen (even those I hadn’t placed my order with) all seemed aware of my gluten free order. Good levels of communication in the kitchen always impress me and offer me comfort that the team are taking special care with my order.

So how did the gluten free fish and chips taste? I thought the batter was deliciously light, like a tempura style batter. The fish was wonderfully fresh. And the chips! Only chip shop chips can taste as great as these. I thought the portion size was extremely generous, great sized piece of fish and heaps of chips.

We enjoyed our fish and chips while sitting on the highly salubrious location of a large wheel of a digger (not in use!) while overlooking the Camel estuary on what turned out to be the only sunny day of our holiday. Lunch at the seaside doesn’t get much better than this.


Cost: £7.85 for cod & chips (takeaway is cheaper than the restaurant menu pictured above)

Location: Stein’s Fish & Chips, South Quay, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8BL

Opening times for Stein’s Fish & Chips, restaurant and takeaway: (Check website here for up to date info)

Monday to Sunday
12 noon – 3pm

Thursday to Saturday
5pm – 8pm
(closed Sunday to Wednesday for dinner)

Would I come back? Yes. A trip to the seaside is only complete with (gluten free) fish & chips eaten out of the box!