If you live in these parts, and are into such things, you will probably have heard about a little seafood restaurant down an alleyway in Falmouth called the Wheelhouse. Despite actively shunning publicity, it is booked for months in advance and seems to get choice mentions regularly in the media as a den of great awesomeness. Last week, finally, a table had my name on it*.
When restaurants become this desirable, a whiff of pretension can creep in – a subtle revelling in the lack of available tables, or complacent service, contributing to a feeling that we should be so lucky. But despite my tentacles being out, I found the mellow, candlelit scene to be a down-to-earth pleasure. Don’t get me wrong, the Wheelhouse is certainly confident – waitresses take a seat and chat assuredly about the merits of spider crab, the size of mussels and seasonality – but thankfully it is still eager to please.
So, you might ask, what’s the biggie? Well, the story is this: super fresh, seasonal-only seafood – whole crab, shell-on or -off prawns, scallops, lobster, oysters (native only). It is served simply in metal pans with skinny chips, salad and – this I love – a tube of kitchen roll on the side. The shellfish is messy, minimally messed with and the whole experience is moderately priced. Simple. So many restaurants at the moment seem to be failing, but this place makes it all look so easy.
Now taking bookings for August – get on in there.
The Wheelhouse, Upton Slip, Town Centre, Falmouth, TR11 3DQ, 01326 318050. No website. Roughly £25 per head with drinks.
* booked about five weeks in advance for a weekday evening