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On a good week, I get paid to criticise restaurants so it’s rare for me to find nothing to fault in a place. That unnerving occurrence did, however, come about last Saturday at Hugh F-W’s new River Cottage Canteen in Royal William Yard in Plymouth. The enclave of bold, forbidding waterside former naval buildings – once a symbol of British military might – has been made into a subtly chic (it’s Grade I listed) ensemble of apartments, boutique bakeries and restaurants facing Mount Edgcumbe over the Tamar in Cornwall. Frankly, it was all a blessed relief after the relentless bleakness of Plymouth city centre in the sheeting rain – it really takes no prisoners.

Service was quick and bend-over-backwards-forwards-any-way-you-like friendly, decor upcycled chic and food just as you might expect from the man of Fish Fight and farm life fame – wholesome but not boring. Splitting hairs, there is the small matter of the smug gilets-and-spotty-Cath-Kidston-bag brigade to be coped with but I can handle that just fine as long as it’s served with a perfectly cooked piece of pollack on a bed of subtly spiced lentils for a tenner (pictured below).

River Cottage Canteen & Deli Plymouth, Royal William Yard, Plymouth PL1 3QQ. http://www.rivercottage.net/canteens/plymouth/

Click through for pics of the food.. Read the rest of this entry »

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For reasons that will become clear later in the week, I made a run for the border yesterday and embarked on a daytrip to Plymouth. Not everyone’s first choice on a grey Tuesday morning in January but, having only really ever been to the station (under the dubious care of First Great Western) and the punishingly grey main shopping street, I was actually very taken.

The city centre is still soul-saddeningly bleak but the seafront and the harbour area, looking out on the Plymouth Sound, is really rather striking. Of course, I am not the first Read the rest of this entry »

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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