Always on the look out for great local food producers and suppliers across south-west England. Not necessarily the smartest restaurants or the swishest delis but good local pubs, tea rooms and restaurants, village stores, farms and bakeries that punch above their weight. Follow me on Twitter @localfoodgeek
Tucked away up a cobbled side street a few minutes walk away from the main harbour, Blas is too easy to miss for those not in the know. And even for those who stumble upon it, it might not have the immediate appeal of some of the “smarter” restaurants in St Ives. No bookings, no toilets, communal tables, kids’ pictures on the wall and a menu consisting mostly of burgers might sound like the worst kind of fast food outlet but it doesn’t take long to realise that Blas is a million miles away from this.
The small, single room with four slightly rickety shared tables and chairs made from reclaimed materials can’t help but encourage a informal approach to dining and with staff who really seem to enjoy being run off their feet by hungry locals and holidaymakers, the atmosphere is busy but relaxed.
The food (and drink) is almost entirely locally sourced from small producers, which is a key element of the Blas philosophy of being local, sustainable and ethical and the menu includes a wide enough variety of beef, chicken and vegetable burgers to keep the fussiest of eaters happy. We opted for the Bacon Cheeseburger, Chilli burger and Halloumi stack each served with a mugful of deliciously crisp skinny fries and our unanimous choice of the Cornish Orchards Black and Gold cider. For the first time since we arrived, the conversation slowed as we began to work our way through our imposingly sized choices but, once plates were emptied, we were in agreement that these burgers are pretty exceptional.
In all honesty, writing about something so seemingly simple as a burger seems almost self-indulgent but there’s definitely something to be said for that rare combination of good quality, well-seasoned beef, served pink with an interesting mix of leaves and relish and (yes!) a decentroll. Simple maybe, but it’s amazing how few places actually get all the elements right.
Full, but too tempted by the brownies with clotted cream to say no, we finally stagger back out into the dark reflecting on how well the Blas formula works and how there should be one in every town in the country. But maybe that’s forgetting that it’s Blas’s uniqueness that makes it what it is? So yes, scrap that idea and lets leave it perfectly tucked away on a back street of St Ives- it’s where it’s meant to be and who wants a second rate copy of something this good anyway?