As part of our foodie tour of Cornwall, we booked into Rojano’s in the Square, in Padstow. Billed as bringing a taste of Italy to Cornwall, I was really looking forward to this hearty meal. Rojano’s is owned by Paul Ainsworth and Derek Mapp, and is Paul’s second restaurant in Padstow alongside his flagship, Paul Ainsworth at No.6.
During our stay in Padstow we were lucky enough to meet the general manager and chef at Rojano’s – Paul Dodd (follow him on twitter), under who’s guidance Rojano’s is thriving.
They combine amazing Cornish produce with some authentic Italian artisan breads and meats to produce some fantastic results. The restaurant is split over 2 levels and we had a great booth upstairs.
For our starters we ordered a couple of dishes with the plan to share them both, some tomato bread – pizza bread baked with garlic tomato and chilli and also an Italian Bresaola; Air dried, salted 3 month cured beef, thinly sliced with Granny Smith apple and celeriac slaw, caramelised walnuts, radishes, lemon and rocket oil. Both of these really were taste explosions. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve eaten ‘pizza style’ flavoured breads that were lacking in flavour and really doughy, but this bread was light and fluffy and the tomato flavour really came through with a chilli kick. The bresola was also divine, the apple flavour again amazing and the walnuts added a really nice sweet contrast to the sharpness of the lemon.
For our mains both Lee and I went for pasta. I had the Monachelle Al Pesto Rosso; Free range chicken breast, sweet chilli, spring and red onions, red pesto, finished with crème fraîche and basil while Lee went for a traditional Spaghetti Alla Bolognese; A classic beef ragu made with Cornish beef and fresh herbs, finished with Chianti and crunchy parmesan.
I really enjoyed mine – fantastic flavours and not a common combination that I have seen with a pasta dish before. Lee also polished his off, the only slight comment he made that maybe it was a touch dry and needed to be a bit ‘saucier’, a personal preference.
There were so many tasty sounding dishes on the menu I found it really hard to choose. I also particularly liked the sound of the Pizza Al Tartufo; Truffle, mushrooms, Parma ham, gorgonzola, rocket and basil and the Insalata Al Prosciutto DI Parma; salad of Parma ham, watermelon, goat’s cheese, caramalised walnuts with local garden salad and spinach. I wish we could have managed dessert but it was our second restaurant meal of the day and it was all a little bit too much to contemplate dessert as well!
This was certainly Italian food done brilliantly well and done at really affordable prices. It seems a great addition to the food scene in Padstow and Cornwall and maybe, who knows, someday Padstow will no longer be known because of the empire of Rick Stein, but because of the empire of Paul Ainsworth instead.
9 Mill Square
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own