DINNER AT APPLETON’S AT THE VINEYARD
On 16 March Andy Appleton opened his new restaurant Appleton’s at the Vineyard at Trevibban Mill, near Padstow.
Following over a decade at Fifteen, Andy has brought with him the skill and flavours of modern Italian cookery, along with his creative flair and obvious passion for food.
Alongside fantastic Cornish and Italian produce, Andy has access to Trevibban Mill’s home-reared lamb, and herbs and vegetables from the garden.
In hindsight it was rather unkind of me to book a table for 16 people on the first evening service of a new restaurant. Phrases such as “baptism of fire” and “in at the deep end” come to mind. But sitting at the huge table in the middle of the brand spanking new restaurant, you’d never have guessed that it was their first night.
Lyndsey Marshall, Andy’s partner and front-of-house, was on hand to talk us through the menu, along with Engin and Liz Mumcuoglu, who own the vineyard. Andy had back up in the kitchen, in the form of Fifteen chef Jack Bristow.
I’m not going to hang about; the food was outstanding. We kicked off with “two of everything” from the “Crispy Bites” section of the menu (£2-3 each).
“Sage and anchovy” was an anchovy fillet, wrapped in sage leaves, dipped in a light batter and deep-fried. The crocchette were perfectly smooth-centred, crispy coated potato cakes (and I think they contained little pieces of ham).
The olives and smoked almonds were sublime; still warm, these huge green olives each contained a whole smoked almond, and had been crumbed and deep fried. The oysters were delicious; crispy and salty, and dressed with cucumber and gin.
Salty, crispy goodies; a great start to a meal, and washed down with Trevibban’s delightful pink fizzy wine.
Starters included duck liver with beets and wild garlic (£10), and roasted squash with ricotta and bee pollen granola (£8). I chose the Padstow crab with crispy quail egg and monk’s beard (£12).
The generous plate of crab was perfectly dressed, lemony and oily, with plenty of herbs and chilli to give it some oomph. The crispy coated quails eggs were warm and soft yolked; the monk’s beard fresh and juicy.
This menu is good; I struggled to choose. The chestnut ravioli with duck and burnt blood orange (£15) looked fabulous, as did the wild garlic farfalle with artichokes, peas and mint (£14).
The squid ink gnocchetti (£15) was stunning (pictured above). Served with clams and ‘Nduja the flavours really packed a punch.
I opted for grilled octopus (if octopus is on a menu I seem unable to not choose it) which was charred on the outside, soft and succulent within.
This sat atop a rich red wine risotto, which also contained chunks of octopus, and was perfectly al dente yet creamy.
Again, a generous portion (£16).
And so to pud. Obviously I had to choose the chocolate with Black Ewe Red (one of Trevibban’s red wines) and boozy cherries (£7).
The chocolate was silky smooth and rich; the cherries juicy and most definitely boozy.
“Rhubarb and custard” was another pretty dessert (£6). Squares of golden, set vanilla custard were served with stewed rhubarb and mini meringues.
We ate a huge amount; we got through a lot of wine too. Everyone loved the food, the restaurant, the venue… We only hope we didn’t break Andy on his first night.
I’m sure that Appleton’s at the Vineyard is going to be a huge success. Thank you to Andy, Lyndsey and team for looking after us so well.
Dinner cost approximately £60 per person, including lots of crispy bits and wine. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday lunchtimes, and Friday and Saturday evenings. To book a table phone the vineyard on 01841 541413, email [email protected] or book online.
Trevibban Mill, Dark Lane, Nr Padstow, PL27 7SE