Restaurants have been ‘popping up’ for a while in London and other metropolitan centres but I believe I attended Cornwall’s very first pop-up restaurant at the weekend – a collaboration between Gallery Latitude 50 on the Penwith moors near Cripplesease and Lime Tree catering, the people behind the much-loved Lime Tree restaurant that once occupied Trevelyan House on Chapel Street in Penzance.
In my (female) party there was a flurry of excitement on arrival: our prettily dressed table was surrounded by delicate ceramics adorned with tiny birds and bees, hand-made sheepskin slippers, spools of coloured wool (care of gallery owner and knitwear designer Corinne Carr), abstract paintings, and high-squeal-inducing jewellery. And that was before the food even arrived ;-)
On the menu was rich, wintery venison, crispy gurnard, velvety creme brulee and a platter of Cornish cheeses… I think my favourite bit was the crisped-up pork belly starter, ideal for laying down your own personal insulation system on a bitterly cold January night.
Though pop-ups are generally considered an urban thing, I actually think the set-up suits Cornwall to a tee. Think of all the restaurants here who struggle with the overheads through the winter and how much in these parts we all love a) a bring your own, b) arty/unusual surroundings and c) word of mouth happenings.
A restaurant producing this calibre of food would struggle to survive permanently in such a remote location but as a pop-up I can see it thriving. There are two more Lime Tree pop-ups planned at wonderful Gallery Latitude 50 – see the website for details – and Miki of Lime Tree hinted at future happenings in yet-to-be-revealed exciting locations…
Which got me thinking about a pop-up location wishlist… mm, maybe among the paintings at the Tate St Ives, at the Eden project (pref. tropical biome!)… or perhaps a crumblingly elegant old dining room at Godolphin House?