The Alba – naming a restaurant after a ship-wreck may have been a bit of a risk, but owner and head chef Grant Nethercott knows a thing or two about making his restaurant a success. The Michelin-trained Chef established the Alba in 2002 in the former Lifeboat House on the edge of the Wharf.
Enjoying panoramic views of the harbour from its floor to ceiling windows, the Alba has been serving customers for more than a decade and in 2012 had a makeover to change its ground floor into a hip bar serving small plates and the latest seaside inspired cocktails. (It does have Tarquins Gin so I am happy)
The upstairs restaurant oozes sophistication with a menu and well thought out wine list to match. The cuisine is modern British, but with definitely French and other worldwide influences evident in most dishes. The signature dish if the chef will excuse me from labelling it such is undoubtedly the pan-fried fillet of seabass, served with forestiere potatoes, confit chicken, calvo nero (kale), girolles (chanterelle mushrooms), chicken jus, and black truffle oil but there is a range of other dishes from Cornish fillet of beef, pot roasted carver duck and roasted fillet of cod.
There’s an early evening three course lunch or early evening menu providing great value at £21.50 or £18.50 for two courses and the restaurant includes a children’s menu too for smaller appetites.
I dined recently with two girlfriends (February 2016). We were seated at the main window seat in the upstairs and even thought it was evening and raining outside our view switched regularly from the gorgeous food and the spectacular harbour setting.
I chose a seafood plate boasting small bites of seafood dishes and delicate dressings – ideal if like me you are always torn between three or four menu choices for your entrée. I indulged my love of seafood further with the Crab linguine which with a small hint of chilli was a very tasty choice perfectly served on lovely white porcelain.
I finished off with my choice of cheeses selected in a Cornish brie and a cheddar. The overall evening was excellent in terms of relaxed atmosphere, excellent service, cuisine and that essential St Ives hit of harbour views. Highly recommended for couples, families with children who appreciate good food, dinner with friends. For booking and details see: www.alba-stives.co.uk