Big Sur is renowned for it’s spectacular views… so we visited Nepenthe, a restaurant right up on the cliff top, to see what all the fuss was about. However, in true British style, when we got there… we were surrounded by cloud! Our waiter, Devin, (who by the way was the coolest guy ever!) promised us that on a good day you could see for 60 miles and that just 20 ft away from us there were stunning views down the 800ft cliff drop to sea level!
So we sat outside and ordered ourselves the Famous Ambrosia Burger, plus a few of their other house favourites… a Shrimp BLT, French-Dip Beef Sandwich, and the daily special Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sandwich.
Let me tell you now… the Shrimp BLT was amazing! I’d even put up with several more hours of Mike singing to One Direction in the car just to drive back there now and have another. It contained huge tiger prawns (not small shrimp like I was expecting), crispy smoked bacon that had been rendered down to create the perfect snap as you bite into it, a tomato jam, basil aioli and crisp fresh lettuce all in a soft golden french-style roll!. I’d scoffed half of it before realising we were supposed to be filming and sharing! Ooops!
The French-Dip Sandwich landed in front of Mike… and once we’d explained the importance of the ramekin of roast beef jus in front of him he started dipping and eating. He too made some rather audible ‘nom nom noms’! The beef was still slightly pink and there was plenty of it. Slice after slice of roasted prime top sirloin in the french baguette with oozing Havarti cheese and the glistening jus that was as clear as a consommé and yet tasted like you’d just wiped your finger over roasting juices from the bottom of the roasting tray!
Jamie is ‘Mr Pulled Pork’… so was elated when his sweet, sticky, fruity Hawaiian BBQ-style Pulled Pork Sandwich arrived. The chef at the restaurant is from Texas and Devin promised us that the pork was done the proper way, but with a hint of Hawaii in the form of pineapple! He was not wrong… even before taking a bite your nose told you that the waft of sticky, smoky, bbq and porky goodness was going to be top notch… and after a mouthful… your tastebuds agreed!
For us though, what we’d really come for was their Famous Ambrosia Burger… as requested by Caitlin S. She has insisted that if we make to Nepenthe we must try the burger… with fries! We opted for the ground beef pattie to be served slightly pink in the middle with half swiss cheese and half cheddar to create an almost jack-like cheese. In the soft french roll (in my eyes better than a really sweet brioche) with the Famous Ambrosia sauce it was heavenly. Oh, and I asked about the sauce… it’s 1 cup of mayo, mixed with 1/4 cup of ketchup and 1/4 cup of a green chilli salsa. So kind of thousand island dressing meets Tabasco, meets salsa! We even had extra on the side to dunk the fries into!
They say that at Nepenthe the Phoenix bird comes to repair and you can relax and forget your worldly cares… and to be honest, with those plates of food in front of us, even without the postcard view we were hoping for, I think I’d say that’s about right!
Big shout out to Devin who couldn’t have been more fun, helpful and informative… all in all… a very strong lunch suggestion before hitting the road to travel on to Monterey!