People often talk of regrets and whilst I think it’s a daft thing to do, you can’t change something that’s been and it’s only worth talking about things that you can change, we all have at least one or two.
Some people have huge and wide-reaching regrets, people they didn’t say goodbye to, jobs they didn’t take, countries they didn’t visit. I have a couple and they are fairly dull but I regret them nonetheless. It’s a strange emotion, regret, it’s almost like the process of grieving something that never happened which in turn can make it all the more acute. A similar feeling to that of unrequited affection. The possibility of what could have been. One of my greatest regrets is a text message that was left unanswered. Those closest to me can recite this text message verbatim and it’s indicative of our obsession with technology that it would revolve around an 160 character missive. In fact, it was a lot less than 160 characters, but the truth is that I fell asleep. I fell asleep and never replied and in doing so, never knew how something may have turned out. Whilst I don’t know if it would have ever had any impact on my life or would have changed anything in the long run, it would be nice to know how things could have been different or even if things could have been different.
Nearly ten years ago, we spent a blissful week in Cornwall before I left Oxford for university. We’ve been holidaying in Cornwall for years and on this occasion, we were staying with two sets of my godparents in the most wonderful house snugly fitted into the edge of a cliff. Whilst the holiday remains in my memories for many reasons, most notably a text message that I regret never replying to, there was a wonderful meal that always takes me back.
We visited the small town of Fowey on the South coast which is one of those great seaside towns built on a hill and stuffed with great little restaurants, shops and pubs. Fowey is also the one time home of Daphne Du Maurier who writes the best books about bad men on dark moors that have ever been published! Rebecca being my all time favourite.
We ventured into this restaurant for lunch and it was buzzy and the food was brilliant but what we all remember was this family that complained and stormed out because someone was singing Happy Birthday. The singing of Happy Birthday wasn’t remotely offensive and was part of the great atmosphere of the place and this is why we keep going back, every year without fail.
Sam’s of Fowey is an institution, a most over used expression, but it’s full to overflowing throughout the day and night, there’s a queue down the street in the evenings and you can’t book. There’s a reason why. Well there’s several; the staff are cheerful, buoyant and friendly, the atmosphere is great and the music of Ray Charles and the Doors bops about in the background but beyond all of that, the fish is some of the best ever.
It’s a simple place, there are boards up with fish dishes and a menu with other items such as salads and burgers. I’ve heard good things about the burgers but when you only get the chance to go somewhere once a year, you have the main show!
The best thing about Sam’s is the fish and the best thing about the fish is the Seafood Feast. A selection of mussles, calamari, sardines, shell on prawns, served with salad and French bread and only £15.95 each. I don’t like sardines so they kindly gave me some of their wonderful red mullet in coriander and chilli.
The mussels come in an enormous bowl of onions, white wine, garlic and parsley which is really all you could ask for from mussels. The prawns are still in their shells and plump and juicy. The calamari is piping hot and has that lovely softness of fresh, hot squid and the mullet is battered but first rubbed with the most amazing coriander and something red, chillis I presume, paste.
And such amazing value, how often could you get an enormous plate of fish for less than £20. Please visit, visit in droves. It’s completely worth it and afterwards, go home via Brocante and buy beautiful things for your home. It’s at 49a Fore Street.