The Scarlet

For the first time ever we enjoyed a whole week in Cornwall AND it didn’t rain, actually the sun shone all week so we decided to stay an extra night if by some miracle we could get a room at the upmarket Scarlet Hotel in Mawgan Porth. It was May Bank Holiday but you can but ask…. One room available and it was a dog friendly as well, so it was meant to be. The hotel itself is set on the hillside overlooking a most magnificent Cornish beach and is renowned for its beautiful art, contemporary architecture and environmental credentials. Lots of wood and glass provided light filled rooms and stylish al fresco choices to sit and enjoy lots of locally sourced food options.

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As this was a special treat we decided to start with a bottle of Sancerre Rose accompanied with some of our favourite Nocellara olives, to while away some time we sat outside on that strange arty furniture that looks uncomfortable but is amazingly comfortable. The seagulls menacingly hovered above so when D decided she wanted to try the afternoon tea we took it inside. Homemade scones and jams with clotted cream, I was asked to share but decided to save myself for dinner so only half was eaten but that did require a great deal of discipline as it was pretty perfect. After snacking a snooze was required so we retired to our room chilled and readied ourselves for the evening.

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The bar is very well designed and as you would expect incredibly well decorated and furnished with those arty stylish types in mind……. We fitted in nicely, joking apart everyone would feel comfortable and chilled. One comment to make is that they had no cucumber for the Hendricks and the spirits were, well, independent and not many brands which made you try new stuff but I was a tad surprised as you would expect both brands plus independents would give the choice customers would want at this type of place. That said The Scarlet is trying to be different and proud of it.
The menu was small but a perfect mix of meat, seafood, veggie and everything was tempting. We both ordered the same dishes, pork belly and black pudding for starters.

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Veal for mains…..

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Absolutely delicious, perfectly presented with lots of panache, faultless.
Another fantastic Cornish sunset, sat in the huge windows with Mrs S, it really doesn’t get any better.
We finished off some more Sancerre Rose and I had a half bottle of an excellent Rioja Gran Reserva with a lovely cheese board which we shared in the “retreat”.
It isn’t cheap but now and again a place like this, you just got to go for it.

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G&D.

The Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick beach near Portscatho

We had enjoyed watching the Caroline Quentin TV series on Cornwall and were fascinated by The Hidden Hut so we decided that we should try find it. Yes, it is well hidden and parking isn’t easy but boy is it worth the effort. At the end of a coastal path from the little village of Portscatho from one end or at the end of a long cul de sac from the even tinier village of Rosevine from the other is a beautiful little beach which is where you will find a picturesque wooden hut run by a couple of proper foodies. You sit at one of two long wooden communal tables with enormous benches or a few smaller steel tables. Almost everything on the chalk board menu, except the wonderful breads which are sourced locally, is home made.

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I had a smoked haddock chowder followed by a piece of orange and almond cake and D had spicy chicken and butternut squash tagine followed by mint chocolate chip ice cream. Luscombe juices and tea accompanied the food with the most wonderful view.

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You know we all talk about those gems on the med that are good value but serve the freshest simplest food and make a holiday, well here is as good as any in the UK.

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G&D

The Cornish Arms, St Merryn

Second day in Cornwall and the sun had taken a day off, funny then that unless you are abroad thoughts drift towards a nice pub lunch….perhaps even a roast.
So it was that we decided to take a drive over to St Merryn to find The Cornish Arms, Rick Steins pub. As almost everywhere in Cornwall the drive along country lanes means most places have to be “destination” hostelries and therefore after the drive they better be good or the disappointment can be big. The Cornish Arms is an old pub that has been cleverly extended without taking away the character right down to real log fires and RAF Curlew memorabilia harking back to previous use of the establishment. The menu is not huge and is quite old school comfort food, burgers, scampi, curry etc but all posh nosh style.
We both decided on Sunday lunch, D went for the beef and I had the pork. All that needed to be said it’s faultless right down to the plate of mixed vegetables old school form.

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At £12.95 per head or £15 if you had a pudding…we opted to have puddings too, sticky toffee for moi and chocolate nut Sunday for D. Service and value was excellent! We will go again I fancy Mumrez Khan’s lamb and spinach karahi! Booking is advisable even out of season.

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G&D

The Blue Tomato, Rock

When we first started to visit Cornwall over ten years ago, frankly, the accommodation and restaurants left a lot to be desired. The exception to this rule was either the couple of Michelin starred restaurants or the odd independent super beach cafe like The Blue Tomato at Rock. So it is that every year we take a couple of trips as it is still going and still superb. We do breakfast once and lunch once. This year for our breakfast visit we both had a fresh berry granola with yoghurt and honey which was fantastic.

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This was followed by the full Cornish for me and portobello mushrooms with walnut and blue cheese sauce on granary for D. Ranks as probably the best breakfast one can have but the view makes certain it is the best!

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Another day and the sun was shining across the estuary with views over to Padstow we couldn’t think of a better place to walk the dog and have lunch than Rock.
This time for lunch I had an unusual dish; crab rarebit with mixed salad, some would just go for crab and others just rarebit but I can honestly say that crab rarebit is the way forward! D had battered king prawns with a chilli dip and mixed salad, I pinched a couple and agreed they were perfect, crispy batter soft juicy hot prawns inside.
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And to finish with…..

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As always this place is hard to beat anyway BUT impossible to beat particularly if you have a dog…….check out the Doggie Menu!

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Don’t miss out you have to try it for great food, fantastic view, totally chilled.
G&D

Beach Hut Cafe, Watergate Bay.

We had arrived in Cornwall for a weeks holiday late on Friday night watching the sky become clearer and clearer showcasing a blood red moon, good omens for the week ahead?
We awoke on Sat morning to a gloriously sunny day and despite a chilly breeze we had a late breakfast in Padstow or should this place now be called PadStein? A foodie heaven nowadays with not only Rick Steins various establishments but highly acclaimed newcomers like Six now making the headlines. However for us a week on holiday in the UK means a week that is as much a holiday for The Lad (Chester our old dog) so we can only pick places that allow him to come too, Cornwall is great in this respect as I think it is probably the most dog friendly place in the UK.
So with the sun beaming we decided that a trip to Watergate Bay to watch the sunset was in order, unfortunately Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen does not take dogs but underneath it is a recommended Cafe Bar called The Beach Hut where the views are breathtaking. A huge beach, incoming tide with waves making the sea appear as if it is made of milk AND the sun setting slowly, pretty perfect. The informality of the place is deceptive as the bar is well stocked, service attentive and food pretty good. We were hungry so went for three courses, fish soup which comes with croutons on the side as well as grated cheese and a spicy mayo for me, grilled prawns with garlic mayo for D both were very tasty perfectly cooked. For mains I had mussels in Thai green sauce with D opting for the veggie option of Falafel burger. The mussels were fab but the burger didn’t quite work as a burger but the individual ingredients worked very well.

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We shared a marmalade sponge whilst the sun set the sea on fire. A cheeky cheap Rose went perfectly. For a basic lunch or dinner the specials fresh each day are displayed on the board.. we would definitely recommend this place and not only for the views.

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Which brings us on nicely to our second visit two days later, D had calamari to start and I went for a small nibble of anchovies these were followed by a Cornish bratwurst Po Boy plus pulled pork (not as big as you would think, just right) and a main of the grilled prawns for D. To finish D had a hot chocolate with the full marshmallow/jazzies extravaganza and I had a cognac. The sun put on a show again!

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G&D.

The great pasty challenge

In Cornwall last week for a few days and what is the first thing I yearn for? Apart from Rick Stein‘s fish and chips (which are sublime) it has to be the authentic Cornish pasty.

Just like Guinness in Dublin, the pasty definitely tastes better the other side of the River Tamar. Everybody will have their favourite bakers and recipes for the ubiquitous pasty and by and large I have to say I’ve yet to have a bad pasty in Cornwall.

For those not familiar with pasties, they originate from the miners who used to take them down the mine for food. Pasties tend to be variations on meat, swede and potato with bits and bobs added. Purists of course will insist on beef, onion, potato and swede with plenty of seasoning.

So who’s pasty is the best?

Well for a bit of fun I bought an authentic, traditional pasty from the Chough bakery in Padstow (award winning no less) and a pasty from the famous Rick Stein deli in the same town. Of course Stein has rather monopolised Padstow but I don’t mind as he’s definitely taken the place up market and the quality of his food is top notch.

This wasn’t a scientific test by any means but we blind tested the two pasties with our party and there was one resounding winner – Rick Stein’s. The flavour was infinitely better – well seasoned and the quality of the meat was superb. Oh, and it was bigger. So the locals may decry the johnny come lately Stein pasty but it is far superior to the ‘traditional’ recipe.

But what do we know? We’re just from Yorkshire…

A week in Cornwall ongoing.

Saturday evening we all thought we were full after the St Kew experience but Tony had room for fish n chips from Aggies takeaway. Really tasty.

Continuing the breakfast quest from a distance. Sunday morningish at Schooners. Full english for Pat & Tony (fat B***tds) Tess asked for 2 eggs on toast with beans and brown bread (she only got one egg)! Dawn enjoyed her beans on toast. Tony’s sausage was good! but the bacon was like leather. View however to die for and reasonable value for money.

Same day, lunch at Perranporth. Only Dawn hungry so roast lamb was the order of the day at The Watering Hole. Full Sunday lamb roast at £7.95. She smiled and told him that she had three friends so her plate was piled high, but she didn’t share! Gurdev, buy a new bed, she’s coming back heavier.

Went to Falmouth on MondayFish and chips for lunch at the Harbour Lights recommended by Ernie… corr….!!!Haddock and chips good but Tony wasn’t that keen on his Hake.Dawn had cod and plaice goujons a pickled onion and garden peas, she’s been pickled ever since !

Monday night at the Tap House St Agnes (to use the wifi) but the battery was dead so couldn’t use it, it took us two bottles of rose to work that one out. They graciously accepted that their nachos were underwhelming so very average but they didn’t charge,so we had another bottle of wine to make up. The jelly beans on the bar are also good and free..Dawn went green with her mixed salad all grown locally and a bowl of olives.

Caraways is a yummy cafe in Wadebridge, we usually call in when we are cycling the Camel trail but on this trip we were in search of brochures for log burning fires(Pat & Tony’s new house). Brochures in hand we were in need of a coffee and cake break….Coffee was lovely but the homemade cakes were delicious, carrot cake for Pat and Tess, lemon drizzle for Tony and warm upside down apple cake served with ice cream for me…Mmmm…

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After watching the Hairy Bikers in Cornwall I researched Viners Restaurant in Carvynick, Summercourt…Kevin Viner was Cornwall’s first chef to earn a Michelin Star and has since won many accolades. Good enough for me so excitedly we set out for lunch…Viners Restaurant is a lovely building and courtyard set in a holiday complex in the countyside….quiet surroundings as half term had not started..

In the bar area we were greeted by a young man who informed us that they did not open at lunch unless someone had made a reservation, so we made a reservation for the following evening 19:30 prompt and decided to travel to Padstow for lunch.

On arrival 19:30 prompt we waited in the bar area, eventually we were greeted by a young lady who tried to whisk us to our table. Pat suggested a drink at the bar but the young lady suggested a drink at the table, so we were escorted upstairs, shown our table, given menu’s and left! 10 mins later we were asked if we would like to order our food, we pointed out that we were still waiting to order drinks!! Drinks ordered, we viewed the menu and Tess and I opted for the Viners special offer menu £13.95 for 2 courses. Soup and Pate’ to start followed by shin of beef with veg, Pat and Tony ordered from the A la Carte menu, mussels for Tony and twice baked cheese souffle for starters with Lamb and fish as mains. As Tess stated you can’t go wrong with tomato and basil soup, my pate was good, Tony enjoyed his mussels but the best was Pats souffle which arrived resembling something like the leaning tower of  Pisa, although she did say it was very tasty! Mains, Pat’s fish was nicely filleted and Tony lamb looked great and was served with no less than 8 different types of veg, wow? but the total let down was the shin of beef which looked like a pile of hot steaming, lets leave it there shall we…Our Viners experience was a let down and we will not visit next summer when we go back to Cornwall.img_16261                                                         

 

 

 

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Sat afternoon, a long journey and St Agnes fish and chips for tea, Tony’s tea to be exact, but we all had some ….sorry Tony, the chips were soft and fluffy and the fresh fish was in lovely crispy batter…superb!

Schooners

Our last evening was booked at Schooners which is situated at the bottom of the cove at Trevaunance overlooking the sea, a position to die for.

It turned out to be the best eating experience of the week. Its so long ago now that I can’t remember all the detail but Tony and Dawn had paella and boy did they enjoy it. It had everything, chicken clams, prawns, mussells etc. The only slight complaint was that the prawns could have been bigger.
Pat had a fillet steak. It was cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth and Tess had fillets of Gurnard served on a bed of spinach. All the food was beautifully presented and tasted fantastic.

Desserts were also excellent but can’t remember why!

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D,T,P & T.

You can’t go to Cornwall without having an Hedgehog ice cream at the cafe in Chapel Porth. Dawn and i set off walking from Travauenance Cove whilst Pat and Tony took a car to Chapel Porth and walked to meet us on the tops. Beautiful views just to put you in the mood for a sandwich and an Hedgehog ice cream. This is vanilla ice dipped in cornish clotted cream and then rolled in nuts what can I say, fantastic. The sandwiches were very good too.