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.


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  1. Rachel
    January 27, 2013 / 3:50 pm

    We came across that place last year and i too was so excited to find the words “gluten free”. Unfortunately when we then went to order our brunch we were disappointed with their response. My husband wanted a bacon roll and since they were offering gf cream teas we thought it likely they would have other gf options too or have a good understanding of being gluten free. They didn’t have a gf roll or any gf bread but said they would still be charging us the full price for the bacon roll even though hubby would only be able to eat the bacon! Then there’s the issue of contamination too…

    • March 24, 2013 / 1:31 pm

      Hello, thanks very much for commenting. This is really interesting feedback. Sorry to hear they wanted to charge you full price for a bacon roll – without any bacon. I was given a discount for my soup because they didn’t have any gluten free bread – although I was offered a scone to go with it. I’d declined as I was going to have the cream team and thought it would be too much. But it does show that places can have both good and bad days