I was a huge fan of Twin Peaks in the early 90’s. This being my first extended trip to the States outside of New York, I was fascinated to discover a gorgeous little town in California that had a real Twin Peaks flavour to it – obviously this train of thought was conducted entirely in my own head, much to the amusement of my husband when I told him about it. Cambria is a small beach town halfway down the coast between San Francisco and LA, which on my visit was semi drenched in fog, giving it a slightly eerie atmosphere. It had quaint little shops and restaurants built of dark timber. It was picturesque without being twee, and everything looked homely and peaceful as though it hadn’t changed since the 1950’s. The locals were delightfully cheerful, and I half expected Agent Cooper to exit a coffee shop carrying donuts with a spring in his step. I’m sure he would have loved this restaurant we discovered, called ‘Robin’s’.
We ate one of the best meals of our holiday here. The food is absolutely delicious – the owner Shanny Covey calls it ‘handcrafted local cuisine’, and the chefs pride themselves on using lots of local produce. The dishes are sophisticated, yet rustic and unpretentious. You can get a curry, a stir-fry, some local fish or Mexican food, all done to a super high standard. The ambiance feels like a cosy living room at a friend’s house, and the staff are so welcoming.
Light, crispy calamari served with an aioli dip and pea shoots:
A velvety salmon bisque – a Robin’s ‘classic’:
Outstanding lobster and cheese enchiladas. There were so many flavours going on here – the lobster was delicate and sweet, the black beans were spicy and flavoured with cinnamon, the salad had a dressing with a taste reminiscent of curry leaves and the guacamole hidden underneath was fresh and creamy. I would never have expected lobster baked in a cheese sauce to have worked, but everything on the plate tasted amazing.
Fillet of local bass served with giant pea shoots, Russian kale and black rice – super fresh fish, and a myriad of spicy herby flavours going on in the rice and salad. Delicious.
I had been fantasizing about eating a good carrot cake all holiday, and this was possibly the best ever carrot cake I have eaten in my life – the sponge was light and perfumed with spices and chunks of crystallised ginger, there were shreds of coconut and juicy raisins, and the cream cheese frosting wasn’t too sweet. We couldn’t finish it, but it was too good to leave behind, so the staff put it in a pretty little box:
4095 Burton Drive
Cambria, CA 93428