The love heart on the outside of Amélies hints at the fun and vibrant dining space to be found inside. High ceilings, sparkly sails and designer driftwood tables lend romance and glamour to a restaurant that reflects its harbourside setting, discovers Rosanna Rothery
In winter, when Porthleven can be notoriously stormy and savage (we’ve all seen footage of 50 ft waves crashing over the harbour’s granite tower), the snug terrace at Amélies, with its wood burners and candles, makes for a cosy refuge. On sparkling sun-kissed days, it transforms into a perfect alfresco spot where you can soak up the Cornish fishing village vibe.
VISIT for the joy of simple food, done well. As you would expect with the harbour right outside the window, there is a stack of seafood on the menu. Beautiful bivalves, rosy langoustines and sweet, smoky tiger prawns are just a few of the pescatarian pleasures to rip apart from the platter of wood-fired shellfish.
DON’T VISIT for cheffy showing off and pointless footering. ‘Less is more’ could be the motto of this straightforward menu of fish, pizzas and surf and turf classics, which is adapted to the seasons.
WE LIKED the Porthleven fish dish which depends on the day’s catch. Ours was a handsome hake sitting on a bed of samphire and pink peppercorn sauce with cream and garlic – artful in its simplicity and delish.
Chocoholics and their chums, meanwhile, will go giddy over the daily-changing sharing plank which features classics such as hot sponge, mousse, ganache and truffles.
Music and fun has always been a part of the Amélies offering so look out for events. Owner Samantha Sheffield-Dunstan grew up surrounded by music: her father, Norman Sheffield, owned the famous Trident Studios in Soho and it was down to his insistence that the ceiling was bedecked with swish sails – because in addition to looking cool they greatly improve the acoustics.