Brilliant craft beer. Brilliant seafood.
These are two of my favourite things.
So, when Cornwall’s Verdant opened a seafood bar it was always going to be bang up my street.
Hidden away in a subterranean space on a Falmouth side street, Verdant Seafood Bar has seating for barely more than 20 people and they don't take reservations either. I was certain there’d be no room for our party of 10 on a Saturday lunchtime. Fortunately, Poseidon was looking favourably on us.
The craft beer gods must have been in a fine mood too as when we arrived, the bar team had just finished taking photos of half a dozen beers for Instagram. As they'd have otherwise been going down the sink Mrs G and I were given them as complimentary pre-lunch apéritifs.
Unsurprisingly, all the Verdant beers were bobbydazzlers. From resinous, dank and boozy Double IPAs such as Unique Damage to citrusy and hoppy classics such as Headband pale ale, Verdant's beers are some of the most hyped in the UK for good reason.
Their beer prices are well priced too - two thirds of a pint of Lightbulb pale ale will set you back £2.60. You'd pay a good whack more for this anywhere else.
With beer this good, the seafood had a lot to live up to. Thankfully, the small plates more than met the beers' match. Mrs G and I worked our way through pretty much the whole menu just to make sure.
A free snack set the standard for the rest of the meal; crisp jet black cuttlefish fritters delivered a big flavoured squidge of seafood and parmesan whilst a punchy wild garlic aioli brought vibrancy.
Thinly sliced toasted sourdough (£7.50) overflowed with sweet and light crab meat and dainty batons of delicately pickled cucumber.
Meaty monkish (£8.50) was given heft from a huge flavoured crab sauce and levity from al dente spears of purple sprouting broccoli.
A hake dish (£6.50) wasn't much of a looker but it made up for it in flavour - funky wild mushrooms, including trompettes, and a rich Jerusalem artichoke puree delivered a ton of taste.
Crisp leaves of lettuce (£4.50) cocooned lightly battered haddock goujons, fiery sriracha mayo and the tang of pink pickled onions.
A light, zesty and fragrant John Dory ceviche (£5.50) made with verjus was coupled with the crunch of almonds and slices of fresh grape.
Perfectly caramelised scallops (£7), with the roe thankfully left on, were joined by cauliflower puree and nuggets as well as a big flavoured curried butter.
Onto puds, and a top drawer trifle (£4) was layered with tart rhubarb and a really clever custard with a good thrum of ginger.
A generous wodge of salty and slightly socky Helford White cheese (£4) came with excellent toasted sourdough and pear and apple chutney.
With its excellent beer, fish and service, Mrs G and I loved Verdant Seafood Bar. It’s exactly the kind of place I would gladly spend a whole afternoon grazing and boozing.
Address - Verdant Seafood Bar, 4 Quay Street, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 3HH
Telephone - 01326 712132