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….new bar-restaurant Untitled – the work of chef Robert Wright of Gurnard’s Head fame – is surely the most exciting thing that has opened in west Cornwall for ages.

In the interests of hype limitation, I hadn’t dared to get too excited about it beforehand but I went last night and it was all pretty fabulous. Saloon-bar chic downstairs (the sort of low-lit ambiance that makes you involuntarily order a Disaronno on the rocks – ok maybe that was just me). Terry Frosts and fresh white linen upstairs. Prices feasible. Steak gorgeous. Full of locals. The stuff of PZ dreams!

More, and better, pics here.

www.untitledbyrobertwright.com

What do you make of all this then?

My mouse-clicking finger looked sharp today when I received an email with a link promising a ‘punked-up version’ of old-as-you-like Cornish folk song Lil’ Eyes.

This little blast of Cornish anarchy comes care of a band called Crowns – a rocky, folky, Pogues-inspired band made up of four 21-year-old Cornish lads from Lanson currently living in exile (while Read the rest of this entry »

eden project cornwalleden project cornwall

I think one way or another we all suffer from bouts of green fatigue. Does anyone else, as they toss a lone newspaper in the recycling bin, get a weary feeling of futility? Surely, I can’t help thinking, it is going to take a shitload more than this to get ourselves out of this mess.

The revolution starts at home, and don’t get me wrong Read the rest of this entry »

pop up lime tree cornwallpop up lime tree cornwall

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 Read the rest of this entry »

Anyone else clocked how Penzance stalwarts keep getting posh Truro outposts? First herbal PZ institution Archie Browns, which is now looking very dapper on Kenwyn Street in Truro. And now Lavenders!

I am a walking advert for Lavender’s, a tiny traditional deli and cafe on Alverton St with solid, old-fashioned service (when I left my filofax – AKA my life – Read the rest of this entry »

When you review restaurants, as I have done on and off for ten years for Time Out in London and recently Cornwall, it is always slightly scary to sing high praises about a place or dish out a damning report on the basis of one trip.

So, even though a chef is only as good as his last meal and all that, I was pleased to see that Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner had made it all the way to “a gnarly old building at the skinniest end of Cornwall” to write about Kota in Porthleven, as a year ago I stuck a red star on it in the Time Out Guide to Devon & Cornwall.

“I’d be happy to declare this the best Asian food in Cornwall but the distinct lack of competitors renders it a rather hollow statement; instead, I’ll just say that Kota is quietly superb,” is what I wrote. So what did Mr Rayner make of it?

Despite expecting “the fishing-village shtick: food that went from surf to plate with little interference” (fair), Rayner found that: “There is an awful lot happening on the plates here. Ingredients from a lot more than 810 miles away are chucked at the dishes, culinary traditions co-opted with enthusiasm. There is a kitchen here which has yet to meet an ingredient it doesn’t like, and for the most part it works.”

Now I want to go again, you know, just to double-check that review. Read Rayner’s full review of Kota here.

Kota restaurant, Harbour Head, Porthleven, Helston Cornwall TR13 9JA. 01326 562 407. www.kotarestaurant.co.uk

falmouth_dinner_cornwall_charlotte_tangye

Couldn’t help but notice that a Penzance designer had landed a full-page shoot right at the front of glossy coast magazine this month with her chic ‘Falmouth lampshades’ – pictured bottom. It was the 01736 code that gave it away.

The designer in question, Falmouth graduate Charlotte Tangye, has also created this covetable range of bone china tableware in the same minimalist theme, featuring line drawings of classic Cornish vessels on a totally clean white background.

Must say, it’s nice to see Cornish ceramics break out of the rustic, organic style every now and again… Could this be Cornwall’s answer to people will always need plates‘ urban tableware (below)?!

people will always need plates: 1930s modern london homes

The question is, of course: when’s the PZ range coming out? Charlotte told pasties & cream, ‘I have recently taken photographs for a Penzance panorama – the view from the rotating bridge of Abbey Warehouse, St Marys Church, harbour and St Michael’s Mount…’ Excellent.

Falmouth lampshades £45; plates £25, mugs £10.95; see www.charlottetangye.co.uk for more details. You can check out Charlotte Tangye’s new work today and Saturday at University College Falmouth’s MA show. Open this evening until 9pm.

charlotte tangye falmouth lampshades cornwall


korev cornish lager

Similarly to the way I started necking strong coffee at regular intervals while living in Buenos Aires, having never shown any interest in the stuff before, I have become a keen ale drinker since I’ve been in Cornwall. It just seems, well, the right thing to drink… particularly on one of Cornwall’s specialist mizzly days.

But there are summer days, yesterday was one of them, when Betty‘s warm embrace isn’t quite so appropriate – and for those days rather excitingly there is now a posh new Cornish lager.

While it’s not perhaps a Belgian flavourfest (nor necessarily would you want it to be if you’re in the market for several pints), it has a ton more flavour than the Fosters and Carlings of this world.

Beer demon blog was talking about it just the other day: “I think it’s a good thing that there is more and more quality lager being produced in Britain so we don’t just have to turn to the Europeans for quality alternatives to the mass produced piddle on the supermarket shelves.”  Hear, hear.

It’s a suave-looking bottle too, with black and white pic of Perranporth beach and the Cornish flag. Tis even called Korev, the Cornish word for beer.

With this, the Cornish drink cabinet must surely be almost full: champagne, elderflower wine, ale, cider, aval, tea, spicy cola, pear cider and stinging nettle beer … OK, so who’s going to turn out a nice Cornish aged rum then?

Read all about Korev here on St Austell Brewery’s website.

penzance arts club cornwall

Where oh where would we be without the Penzance Arts Club?

A little while back, the lovely Emily Evans and Harry Gordon-Smith took over the Club (after rumours of a boutique hotel) – located in the instantly memorable old mansion, once the Portuguese embassy, at the bottom of Chapel Street.

I say instantly memorable because, although I only visited Penzance maybe once as a child (for a Kneehigh Theatre production at the Acorn – we have to save it!), the extravagant seaside mansion and its intriguing side entrance etched themselves on my memory.

Let’s be honest, the restaurant situation in Penzance is pretty dire at the moment – I really love a chilli and chorizo pizza and a pint of Otter in the Crown, occasionally get a Curry Corner or Sukothai takeout (both good & friendly) and I stop for a Corona and some tapas at Mackerel Sky now and again but there’s really not much else cooking.

Or at least there wasn’t until the Dining Room at the Penzance Arts Club opened a few weeks back. I made it over last weekend to try it out and it’s brilliant – and *very big cheer* it’s priced with locals in mind. The room is pure shabby chic, with sweet French perfume bottles as mini vases, simple rustic furniture and white tablecloths, and Breon O’Casey paintings on the walls.

Check out the colours in the food – it looks like an abstract art canvas! The chef makes extensive use of Dan the Potager’s salad boxes, which are stuffed with bright, wild greens, and lots of edible flowers.

Bruschetta, giant prawns with aoili and fishcakes were all fantastic – oh, and we met a nicely sticky end with limoncello cake and cream topped with roasted almonds. There are worse ways to go.

Penzance Arts Club, Chapel Street, 01736 363 761/www.penzanceartsclub.co.uk

penzance arts club cornwall

st ives harbour cornwall

The first St Ives Food & Drink Festival seemed to be going with a swing yesterday when I swung by – though it’s hard to imagine what wouldn’t go with a swing when the skies are blue and St Ives looks, as it does on sunny days, like it’s been dropped in from the Bounty advert.

The Guild Hall food fair was a bit of who’s who of cool new Cornish food & drink companies (and there really are TONS). With everyone enthusiastically handing out tasters and being generally friendly and chatty, it was a convivial scene.

Polgoon was there with its new River Cottage-endorsed elderflower fizz in champagne bottles (tasty stuff but £17 – ouch!), then there was the Rev Berriman’s fiery chilli cola (which I enthused about the other day), Cornish Stingers nettle beer, Cornish Blue cheese, amazing Helford River cheeses, real ale, St Ives beef….

Down on the harbour wall, a small crowd had gathered for the chef demos. I listened for a while to the chef from the Greenbank in Falmouth demonstrating how to cook fish to perfection (in brief: score the fish, high heat, skin first, shake the pan, then don’t be tempted to keep moving it away from the hob…).

Oh, and I took the park & (train) ride from Lelant for the first time – it’s the only way to go. (10% off tickets the Cornish rail card btw – yay).

More pics of the festival care of the Clotted Cream Diaries blog here.

http://www.stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk

tregothnan tolcarnetregothnantregothnantregothnan

At the weekend, under heavy grey skies, I set off with friends from Feock for Tolverne Cottage on the eastern side of the Fal, via the King Harry Ferry (free for pedestrians). It’s a serene part of  Cornwall – and you can cut through on a footpath through the woodland attached precariously to the banks.

On arrival at Smugglers’ Cottage, we found what was once one of Cornwall’s most eccentric teahouses looking considerably more dapper, having been taken over by Tregothnan of tea fame.

‘Oh,’ said one of our party, ‘It’s been Farrow and Balled’.

That pretty much summed up my unedited response to the new understated colour scheme and smart garden furniture. Gone was the endearing eccentricity of the place (though all the nautical curios that once hung from all available spaces will appear in a soon-to-open museum) and in their place was a National Trust look, silver trays and lots of beige.

I think I am probably taking out my frustrations about wider issues on this one, ultimately very pleasant spot – it’s hardly like Starbucks has just pitched up in the woods on the River Fal. There is nothing wrong, and plenty right, with tasteful aesthetics and high-quality cream teas but, like all forms of gentrification, in large quantities it starts to feel like it’s endangering the very character of a place – ie the bit people liked in the first place.

I feel that on some level this is what is happening with Cornwall. Where it was once a novelty to have a pricey cappuccino in chic surroundings by the beach, it now seems to be an essential part of the business plan of every beach, cove or garden – and I can’t help thinking that if I’d really wanted to be drip-fed lattes after every muddy walk, surf and wild view, I wouldn’t have moved to England’s most remote county!

On a similar note, Read the rest of this entry »

scarlet wines cornwall

I think Scarlet Wines & tapas bar in Lelant might just be my new favourite place in west Cornwall. I had suspected it might indeed be rather cool when I stopped by Beaten Green next door the other day, but after attending their South American wine & food tasting on Tuesday night, I am now officially Read the rest of this entry »

outdoor gym cornwall

As someone who guiltily neglects to use my gym contract enough (apart from the sauna!) because I always find myself wanting to be outside instead, I was quite enthused by this new National Trust outdoor gym, which blends perfectly into Read the rest of this entry »

As I am wont to where spotty mugs and wild flower arrangements are involved, I went a bit crazy with the zoom the other weekend at the Westcroft. It’s a gorgeous boutique b&b and gallery in the soothing village of Kingsand on the Rame Peninsula, aka ‘Cornwall’s Forgotten Corner’. As you can see, it’s a haven of all-round loveliness…  what you can’t see here is that it’s right on the beach.

Westcroft Guesthouse & Gallery, seafront, Kingsand, Cornwall – www.westcroftguesthouse.co.uk. From £90 a night for a double. Btw, it’s a short drive from Antony House, of Alice in Wonderland fame.

westcroft guesthouse rame cornwallwestcroft guesthouse rame cornwall Read the rest of this entry »

Berry Rattler Bottle cornwallcornish stingers bottle cornwall

In Cornwall’s steady move towards food & drink domination, three new bottled drinks hailing from these parts are hitting the shelves this summer. (Domination is a slight exaggeration, but we do now have 100% Cornish ‘champagne’ from Camel Valley, tea from Tregothnan, ‘aval’ from Polgoon, all manner of Very Expensive premium juices, such as Helford Creek and Cornish Orchards, not to mention the ridiculousness that is bottled Cornish spring water.)

Two of the new brews are alcoholic, but the third is no shrinking violet. I’ve been sipping away selflessly to bring you some tasting notes:

Berry Rattler

Cornwall’s favourite cider, Cornish Rattler, has given birth to a fruity new Rattler infused with red berries.

The look: cloudy, red, girly, new surfy label. The taste: fruity but not Read the rest of this entry »

stein fish & chips

gold standard - stein's fish & chips in falmouth

The Guardian made a splash in G2 on the launch day, and the Falmouth Packet also got pretty excited, but it’s been three weeks since it opened and I don’t think anyone’s actually reviewed Rick Stein’s first foray into the Falmouth dining scene. The venue in question is a high-flying fish & chip shop, judiciously placed Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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