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It was a rare, surreal but ultimately life-affirming sight to behold late-middle-aged Truro types unbutton their smart Jaeger coats at Hall for Cornwall last night and party like it was 1979, belting out the lyrics to ‘Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick’ like they meant it even more now than they did in 1979.

Respect to the cast of ‘Reasons to be Cheerful‘ for this achievement and numerous high-voltage standing ovations. The show – delivered by an endlessly energetic cast – is a part-gig, part-play spectacle inspired by the life and music of Ian Dury and it’s playing Hall for Cornwall tonight and tomorrow.

Reasons to be Cheerful at Hall for Cornwall tonight and tomorrow at 7.30pm. £12.50-£20. More details here.

Click through for more pics Read the rest of this entry »

These are words that greet you on a sandwich board outside 108 Coffee in Truro. And that is exactly what the owner-barista at 108 Coffee in Truro has done: he moved on from Starbucks to launch his own house of beans a few months ago.

I’m glad he did, because my flat white was perfection yesterday, as you can see – served in a glass, which always makes things feel that bit more continental. I visited on the strength of Dave’s recommendation in the p&c Cornwall coffee shortlist the other day, and assorted word-of-twitter praise, and left rather enamoured with this nine-week-old coffeeshop.

108 Coffee, 108 Kenwyn Street, Truro.

Move over Ottolenghi, step up to the magimix Billy, the salad supremo at Archie Brown’s in Truro.

Archie Brown’s salads, originating in Penzance, are something of a cult classic in these parts. Chopping up into colourful pieces any preconceptions you might have about salads being boring and/or a side dish, these salads are strong enough to be the main event – they are packed with herbs and sprouts and nuts, as well as secret, rather thrilling ingredients such as preserved lemon and pomegranate molasses.

Long having wondered how they managed to make salad that exciting, I was stoked to see they have started doing salad masterclasses at their Truro kitchen, and immediately snapped up a couple of tickets.

Obviously I am not the only one who is obsessed with them, as all the salad classes have sold out until October – so, it’s not often I say this in Cornwall but, er, book ahead!

£12.50 including a salad and recipes to take home (www.archiebrowns.co.uk); £3.50 for a takeaway salad.

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 »

I had an intensely festive evening in Truro last night. Mulled wine & chestnuts – check. Choirs & carols – check. Hotdog from a van – check. Train home – an hour+ late. No problem, First Great Western, it’s Christmas.

I stopped by the Cathedral to see my Mum singing with the Riverside Singers – here’s a video of them performing the soothing hymn, ‘Brightly Beams’ (also on the Fisherman’s Friends album earlier this year). As ever with my videos, Read the rest of this entry »

seafood restaurant stein

Writing about incredible food you’ve eaten is a difficult thing to do without sounding insufferably smug. ‘The organic, free-to-roam, hand-reared, home-matured beef with foam of expensive stuff and sprinkled with more expensive stuff, was quite simply divine!’. But with that caveat out of the way, I’m going to do it anyway.

I got an invite to last night’s Magnificent Seven, the opening night of the Cornwall Food & Drink Festival – a many-coursed meal prepared and presented by Cornwall’s seven top chefs. Was I free to attend? Oh, I think so.

There were endless courses and canapes so I’ll just do highlights (pics above):

• In at number one, seabass caught that morning served with delicate vanilla butter prepared by Breton chef Stephane Delourme, head chef at Stein’s Seafood Restaurant
Nathan Outlaw‘s tender circles of sirloin – gorgeous
• Chris Eden of the Driftwood‘s posh mini doughnuts dipped in cinnamon sugar with creme caramel

I chatted to he-of-superb-surname Nathan Outlaw afterwards and he seemed every bit as laid-back as he comes across on telly, despite awaiting January 2011 with baited breath to find out if he has managed to secure two Michelin stars for his new restaurant in Rock. He told me the restaurant has had five anonymous Michelin visits in the last few months, and knew there were more to come any day. God, pressure! Oh and he’s working on his first cookery book for next season – you heard it at p&c first :-)

And finally a video of Paul Ripley and Nathan Outlaw bantering about food in Cornwall. OK, in the cold light of day it turns out this is very out of focus – sorry about that, it was shot during the port course.

p&c january header: artist’s studio Newlyn

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