We may be Devon foodies but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate all the fabulous places to eat and drink in neighbouring Cornwall. We recently spent 3 days down on the peninsula, discovering some of the best places to eat & drink.
Please note: While we were lucky enough to visit the majority of these destinations free-of-charge, all of our views are our own and we were not paid to endorse any establishment.
1. Star & Garter, Falmouth
The Star & Garter is a gastropub with the addition of 3 stylish rooms for overnight guests. We have already visited Star & Garter once this year and stayed in their beautiful Penthouse Suite. However, this time round we stayed in The Crows Nest suite. The Crow’s Nest offers uninterrupted views over Falmouth harbour, as well as a trendy open plan kitchen/lounge, log burner, bathroom and bedroom.
The Star & Garter serves a menu of British classics for lunch and dinner, as well as Bottomless Brunch every Saturday and a hearty all-day Sunday roast. They cook their food over an open fire and have adopted a “nose to tail” approach. This allows the kitchen team to pick and choose what goes on the menu each day, ensuring the whole animal is used and everything is as fresh and seasonal as it can be.
What we ate: During our visit we opted to try one of their Sunday roasts. Between four of us, we ordered three Roasted Lamb Shoulders (£17pp) and a Dry Aged Moorland Rump (£18). These were served sharing style and arrived at the table on plates piled high with tender meat, vegetables, and mammoth Yorkshire puddings. The meat was absolutely divine, while the veggies all tasted fresh and were seasoned beautifully.
The Verdict: Star & Garter is well worth a visit next time you’re in Falmouth. Dinner doesn’t come cheap, but the quality of the food and the service speaks for itself. Meanwhile, rooms are affordable, nicely decorated and boast fabulous harbour views.
Book/Find out more:starandgarter.squarespace.com
2. Canteen Cornwall, Wheal Kitty Workshops
Next up on our itinerary was a visit to Canteen at the Wheal Kitty Workshops, near St Agnes. Canteen is a catering business with a difference. Self-described as a ‘shared space for like-minded people’, they promise cinnamon buns and flat whites galore, as well as affordable wood-fired food, fresh bread and good conversation.
When you first arrive at Canteen, you may find yourself feeling a little lost. There’s no signage and very little to suggest you’ve arrived; but once you’re inside you’ll start to get a good feel of what these guys are all about. Set in a large warehouse space – with one long communal table at the centre – Canteen is a space that brings people together through affordable food and good company. At it’s heart, it’s about creating communities around food and highlighting how much better meals can taste when everything that goes into producing them is fair and inclusive. Each day the Canteen menu changes and features two different options (meat & veg) for around £5pp. The menu varies depending on what is available on the day and will no doubt change in accordance with the ingredients available – or the whims of the kitchen team that day.
What we ate: During our visit we tucked into two incredible burgers with colourful slaw and a zingy sauce. Not only were they very tasty, but for just £5 you really can’t go wrong! We also sipped on teas and eyed up some of their delicious cinnamon buns.
The Verdict: You can read more about Canteen in my upcoming blog post, but for now it suffices to say that we left Wheal Kitty Workshops with a lot of food for thought. Co-founders Sammy and Ben are clearly passionate about bringing people together and you can feel this in every aspect of their business. If you don’t like the idea of limited lunch choices or dining alongside others then you may want to give this one a miss. But if you like the idea of trying new things and supporting positive people, lunch at Canteen is a unique experience!
Book/Find out more:www.canteencornwall.com/canteen
3. Driftwood Spars Hotel
For the rest of our Cornwall trip, we based ourselves from The Driftwood Spars Hotel. The hotel is just a stone’s throw away from the gorgeous Trevaunance Cove and many of the bedrooms offer guests unrivalled sea views. The atmosphere is laidback and relaxed, with three cosy bars and a restaurant on offer. There’s also an onsite gluten-free brewery and if you ask nicely enough you can find out more about the process of making Driftwood Ales before heading over to the pub and sampling them yourself!
The restaurant at Driftwood Spars serves up quality homemade pub food and guests can opt to dine downstairs in the traditional pub area or upstairs for a more peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. We opted for the latter and found the atmosphere to be warm and inviting, with light background music and very friendly staff.
What we ate: After a long day walking coastal paths and checking out the nearby Canteen, we opted to play it safe and ordered a classic Fish & Chips (£12.95) and Crispy Pressed Belly Pork (£16.95). We were really impressed with both dishes and we both felt that the portions were very generous.
The Verdict: Visitors to Driftwood Spars are no doubt going to be heading there for the incredible views and the stunningly Trevaunance Cove. However, we found ourselves just as enamoured with the local community and the area’s collection of independent businesses. Driftwood Spars is incredibly welcoming and value for money. We wouldn’t hesitate to return and we would certainly recommend their restaurant for a spot of lunch or dinner.
Book/Find out More:www.driftwoodspars.co.uk
4. Scarlet Wines, Lelant
On our day trip to St Ives we took a quick detour to visit Scarlet Wines. Tucked away in the village of Lelant, ideally located on the way in to St Ives, Scarlet wines is a must stop destination for anyone with a penchant for wines and artisan produce. The shop/restaurant is packed with delicious produce, from charcuterie to cheese and plenty of wines. It’s also a great place to enjoy breakfast, lunch or supper, with a small seasonal menu with a Mediterranean leaning.
What we ate: We didn’t eat at Scarlet Wines but we did get to try some of their coffee and were particularly impressed by how smooth and drinkable it was! If you are interested in grabbing lunch here then you can expect light dishes such as skewers of marinated meat, cured fish and cheese platters. They also offer a range of breakfasts and flatbreads.
The Verdict: Actions probably speak louder than words here. We left Scarlet Wines with not one but two bottles of wine. The selection of wines and spirits on offer was immense and we felt like children in a sweet shop. If in doubt, just ask one of the friendly members of staff for some guidance. They’re really knowledgable and can offer some sound advice on what tipples or products to take home.
For more information: www.scarlet-wines.co.uk
5. Porthminster Beach Cafe, St Ives
During our visit to the gorgeous St Ives we stopped to sample lunch at the multi award winning Porthminster Cafe. We visited on a particularly sunny day and the light, contemporary decor (combined with the beachside location) made us feel as if we were dining in the Mediterranean. The restaurant opens daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the menu reads like a trendy Aussie beach restaurant. Dishes are packed with clean, healthy flavours, as well as Asian-inspired flourishes (like the kimchi in my side salad and my tasty tempura prawns). Chef Michael Smith describes his style of cooking as ‘modern seafood’ and uses the freshest ingredients from land and sea to craft his dishes.
What we ate: We started our lunch off with some freshly baked bread & mackerel ponzu pate (£3.50/£3.50) followed by The Seafood Linguine (£18.50) and the Crispy Fried Whole Sea Bass with sweet & sour chilli sauce & tempura prawns (£23.50). Everything we enjoyed was delicious and many of the flavour combinations and ideas were unexpected. Portion sizes are extremely generous, but nothing feels like too much because it’s all so clean and fresh.
The Verdict: If you enjoy seafood and you’re planning on visiting St Ives anytime soon then Porthminster Beach Cafe is a must. We found the service to be warm and the food was both delicious and in many ways inspiring. Lovers of European and Asian food alike will no doubt find something on the menu to take their fancy and the beach views are among the best in Cornwall.
Find out more: www.porthminstercafe.co.uk
6. The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn
Our evening meal took us to the town of Newlyn. Here you’ll find a cosy inn that’s packed to the rafters with locals and food lovers alike. The Tolcarne Inn has been making waves – excuse the pun – on the foodie scene for years; but you best leave your preconceived notions about ‘good food’ at the door. Chef Ben Tunnicliffe earned his spurs in some of the best restaurants in the UK, before setting up Tolcarne Inn on his terms. Expect a laidback ambience, friendly service and exceptional dishes that speak for themselves.
What we ate: There are no paper menus at The Tolcarne Inn. Instead, a large chalkboard menu occupies the main wall featuring a menu that evolves to reflect the seasons. Seafood is fresh off the boat and many of the dishes on offer utilise the fruits of the sea. For our main courses, we opted for Fillet of Gurnard with Creamed Fennel & Herb Gnocchi (£19) and Fillet of Cod with Clams, Chorizo and Squid Ink (19.50). Like the inn itself, the presentation of the food is rustic and simplified, but the flavours were fabulous. Both fillets were meaty and exceptionally well cooked, with very well balanced sauces and accompaniments. £19 may sound a little steep for a casual dinner, but you’re paying for the quality of the ingredients and you won’t be leaving hungry!
The Verdict: Tolcarne Inn was a great way to finish off our foodie short break. Ben Tunnicliffe sure knows how to utilise Cornwall’s natural larder and we felt that our meal was the perfect reflection of this wild and wonderful county. Want to enjoy fabulous food without the fuss? This restaurant is one for the Cornish bucket list!
Book/Find out more:tolcarneinn.co.uk