THE FOODIE DIARY: APRIL
There’s a busy month ahead for Cornwall, with visitors already arriving for the Easter holidays. Gardens are pretty as a picture, with camelias and magnolias in full bloom, and spring vegetables and salad leaves are making their way to our tables.
This month should also see the arrival of the first prized spears of Cornish asparagus. My favourite sight at this time of year is of the fields full of lolloping lambs, tails wiggling as they drink and bouncing around in the sunshine. They taste pretty good too.
THE END OF AN ERA: MARGOT’S BISTRO CLOSES
Margot’s Bistro in Padstow will close at the end of March. After nineteen years at Margot’s, Adrian Oliver (the longest standing head chef in Padstow) and his wife Julie are hanging up their aprons.
We’re looking forward to following Adrian’s culinary adventures and wish him the best of luck for the future. Watch out for him at Cornish Chefs’ Club events and pop-ups. (Image courtesy of www.seangeephotography.com.)
ADRIAN OLIVER POP-UP AT THE OLD MILL HOUSE
Fans of Adrian Oliver’s cooking don’t need to wait long to eat his food again. He will be popping up at The Old Mill House in Little Petherick on 9 April. The evening will kick off with a glass of fizz, followed by a five course tasting menu.
WHEN: Thursday 9 April.
WHERE: The Old Mill House, Little Petherick, near Padstow.
RESERVATIONS: £45 per person, call 01841 533441 to book.
BREW CORNWALL TAKES TO THE ROAD
The boot of Brew Cornwall‘s summery turquoise van opens to reveal a shiny chrome espresso maker and grinder, so you can get freshly ground and brewed coffee on the move. Owner Kate uses Origin coffee and Rodda’s milk and sells Da Bara‘s pastries.
Regular spots include Pool Innovation Centre, Health and Wellbeing at Treliske, Wheal Kitty Studios and Trevissome Business Park. Homemade cakes and soups are also available.
From April look out for Brew Cornwall as they do the rounds delivering bacon baps to campsites and fuelling campers with proper coffees and Origin hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and mini marshmallows. For more information or to book Brew Cornwall for events (a great idea for school sports days) visit their Facebook page.
COFFEE AND CAKES AT ST TUDY INN
The old bar at St Tudy Inn will be open for coffee and cake from Tuesday 31 March from 10 am and for drinks all day. (Closed all day on Mondays.) Emily Scott’s cakes are legendary, and we can vouch for the flourless orange and almond cake, sunken chocolate cake, chocolate brownie, treacle tart, pistachio and lemon cake… In fact everything that comes out of the kitchen here is delicious, and looks so pretty too.
GIN O’CLOCK AT DOLLY’S
In the words of Dolly: “Do you love gin? Do you wish you knew more about gin? Those awfully nice people from Portobello Road Gin are coming to Dolly’s to share their knowledge of the Queen Mother’s favourite tipple.”
WHEN: 7.30pm, Wednesday 15 April.
WHERE: Dolly’s Tea Room and Wine Bar, Falmouth.
TICKETS: £5 each, phone 01326 218400 to book.
LUNCH RETURNS AT THE OLD QUAY HOUSE HOTEL
From Easter weekend, ‘Q’ at The Old Quay House Hotel in Fowey will re-open for lunch. The hotel’s restaurant and its waterside terrace have stunning views over the Fowey estuary twoards the coastal village of Polruan.
Q’s lunch menu includes a selection of lighter options such as moules marinière and crab or pulled pork sandwiches. More substantial choices include lobster served with seaweed butter and chips, or a fillet steak, along with a selection of summery puddings.
For more details visit www.theoldquayhouse.com or phone 01726 833302.
On 10 April Knightor Winery will guide guests through specially chosen wines at a four course tasting dinner at The Waymarker, in Constantine, near Falmouth.
The menu includes a Cornish fish chowder, venison loin served with spring vegetables, lemon posset and a selection of Cornish cheeses.
WHEN: 7pm, Friday 10 April.
WHERE: The Waymarker, Constantine, near Falmouth.
TICKETS: £42.50 including wine flight (£30 without wine), phone 01326 341323 to book.
EVENTS AT FIREBRAND BAR
Due to popular demand, Launceston’s Firebrand Bar will be opening at lunchtimes from 30 March. The new menu will be available from 12 noon until 2.30pm, seven days a week, and will be previewed at Al Fresco in the Square on 28 March – a licensed pop up café with table service in a marquee in the town square.
11 April sees a Pop Up Bottle Shop and Pulled Pork Joint from 10am to 3pm in Launceston Town Square. Visitors will be able to sample a selection of craft beers and real ales and tuck into smoky pulled pork from Penpont Brewery‘s rare breed pigs raised on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
PEOPLE AND GARDENS AT ST EVAL CANDLE CO.
We love the work done by People and Gardens at their nursery near Pentewan, and are thrilled to hear that their veg bags will soon be available to collect from St Eval Candle Company, where you can also buy bags of their brand new dried chillies and dried oyster mushrooms.
From Thursday 9 April you can collect your bag, filled with fresh, wholesome, locally grown produce. All profits from the scheme go towards employing the disadvantaged – see the People and Gardens website for more information.
Large bags cost £13 and small bags £10. To place an order phone 01726 70721 or email [email protected].
Moorish, the first event from the Cornish Street Food Collective, will take place from 6 to 10pm on Saturday 18 April on Falmouth Moor. As well as a wide range of street food there will also be live music from Jeanne Naylor and Band and Lucy Anna.
The Cornish Street Food Collective consists of four key Falmouth-based members who each own their own mobile business: Bangers on the Go, Proper Pancakes, Falmouth Fish and Seafoods, and Eat This. The group plans to hold two events each month.
For more information see Facebook.
SPRING FEAST AT NANCARROW
The next Nancarrow Feast will be held on Friday 17 April. Since their launch last year, these feast nights have become very popular. Chef Ben Quinn heads up an excellent team and will be serving up a spring menu, featuring organic meat from the farm.
WHEN: Arrive at 7pm for nibbles, sitting down and feasting at 7.30pm. Friday 17 April.
WHERE: Nancarrow Farm, Zelah, near Truro.
TICKETS: £35 per person, available online from www.nancarrowfarm.co.uk.
LOBSTER ROLLS AT BINTWO
Our favourite Padstow wine merchant/wine bar/coffee bar has just launched a new terrace menu. Of course it features a selection of amazing wines that can be enjoyed by the glass whilst soaking up views of the harbour, but there’s a new addition to the food offering: lobster rolls made to the classic Maine recipe featuring fresh lobster from a Padstow day boat served in a Baker Tom brioche roll.
They’re also about to press the go button on their new website featuring an on-line shop with home deliveries across the UK.
HUBBOX OPENS AT PENTEWAN
A welcome addition to the south coast, a new Hubbox will be opening at Pentewan this Easter. The Driftwood Beach Bar will be serving Hubbox classics: burgers, dogs and beers.
For more details phone 01726 844189 or visit hubbox.co.uk.
EVENINGS AT TIM’S PLACE
Tim Dean opened Tim’s Place in Wadebridge three years ago, when he was just eighteen. With a successful daytime trade of coffee and cakes, breakfast and lunch, Tim has decided to extend his opening hours to Friday and Saturday evenings.
In his quest to be the “Best Taste of Cornwall” Tim will be serving good quality, locally sourced food. Try the “Sofa Sharer” (pictured) – a selection of fresh fish which varies from day to day, but can include crab claws, mussels, scallops, prawns and the catch of the day. The menu also includes a homemade Red Ruby Burger, line caught cod in Doom Bar batter, and pan fried hake with griddled red peppers. The port and rhubarb crumble sounds rather good too.
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday 9am to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 4pm, and from 27 March Friday and Saturday 9am to 10pm. For more information see his Facebook page, and to reserve a table phone 01208 812550.
NEW TEAM AT THE LLAWNROC
The Llawnroc Hotel on the Roseland has a new general manager. Stephen Marsh has over twenty years experience in the hospitality sector, and has held two AA rosettes as a chef for the last ten years. Stephen has worked at The Idle Rocks, The Wellington in Boscastle, and most recently at The Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth.
Also recently appointed is chef Max Savage, whose past experience includes The Idle Rocks and The Nare Hotel.
The menus sound fabulous and, with a new spa in the offing, The Llawnroc is going to be a popular luxury destination for foodies.
BRUCE RENNIE OPENS THE SHORE RESTAURANT IN PENZANCE
Chef Bruce Rennie spent four years at The Gurnard’s Head before running Clay Quay in Porthleven, and is now taking over the old Buttery in Penzance. Renamed The Shore Restaurant, Bruce’s concept is for a relaxed neighbourhood restaurant serving high quality food using the best and freshest produce, in particular day boat fresh fish and tasty local meat.
Plans are for the restaurant to open in mid-April. Keep an eye on their website for more details.
The energy which head chef Aaron Janes has brought to Newquay’s Harbour Fish and Grill is infectious. As well as serving delicious food, there are regular events and special offers at this newly reopened restaurant.
On Tuesdays during term time families can take advantage of a three course dinner for two for £49.95, including a glass of wine each and – the best bit – childcare.
On the first Wednesday of each month try the eight course tasting menu for £49 per person, including wine.
And I love the idea of the “Fabulous Family Club” where Aaron gives advice on nutrition, shopping on a budget and how to create easy weekly menus, including shopping lists and recipes. This takes place on Wednesdays during term time, from 10am to 2pm and costs £9.95 per person, including a sandwich, cake and mug of tea or coffee.
Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more offers and events.
WHERE: The Harbour Fish and Grill, The Harbour, Newquay, TR7 1HF.
RESERVATIONS: Phone 01637 873040 or email [email protected].
COOK YOUR OWN DINNER AT THE PADSTOW SEAFOOD SCHOOL
The new Cook your own Dinner course at the Padstow Seafood School looks fun. Guests are taught to cook their own three course dinner, which they then eat with fellow students at the large communal table.
The menu includes lemon sole goujons with a Parmesan crust, mussels with black beans, garlic and ginger, and chargrilled mullet with a mango, prawn and chilli salsa.
All ingredients, tuition, canapés, wine, coffee and petit fours are included. The first course runs on 3 April and costs £100 per person.
The annual food and music festival returns to Porthleven over the weekend of 24 to 26 April. The main marquee will host the chefs’ theatre, with demonstrations from chefs including Antony Worral Thompson, Rick and Jack Stein, Josh Eggleton and Neil Haydock.
Over 100 traders will be exhibiting (including plenty of food stalls), live music will be performed at various venues across the town, and films from Half-Cut Cinema will be screened at The Ship Inn.
For more details visit porthlevenfoodfestival.com.
THE CRACKING CRAB COMES TO POLZEATH
The team behind Salcombe’s popular Winking Prawn are opening a new restaurant, The Cracking Crab, in Polzeath. The restaurant overlooks the beach and is due to open on 27 April. We’re looking forward to enjoying the views from the terrace in the sunshine, with fresh seafood and a nice glass of crisp, dry, white wine. Roll on summer.
To keep up to date with The Cracking Crab’s news see their Facebook page.
NO 4 OPENS FOR LUNCH
Fans of No 4 Peterville in St Agnes will be pleased to hear that the restaurant is extending its opening hours. As well as Wednesday to Saturday evenings, Saturday breakfast and Sunday brunch, No 4 will also be opening on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes from 12 to 2pm.
The lunch menu looks fabulous with dishes such as scallops with crispy belly pork and calvados, crab and cress on toast with crispy Burford Brown egg, and mussels with wild garlic or ‘nduja butter and fries, all around £8. Or take advantage of their offer of any dish and a glass of wine for £12.
This solar-powered off-grid café in Wenfordbridge at the start of the Camel Trail is a well kept secret. The Snails Pace Café specialises in vegetarian (organic and fairtrade where possible) food, and is open from breakfast until tea time, with monthly vegetarian pop-up evenings too.
You can also hire bikes here and we think we’ve worked out the perfect (yet to be tested) itinerary: breakfast at Snail’s Pace Café, coffee at Relish in Wadebridge, lunch in Padstow (try Rojano’s, Burgers and Fish, or Rick Stein’s Fish and Chips), then pedal like crazy for the 17 miles back to Snails Pace Café in time for a cream tea. If you’re quick you might even have time to pop in to Camel Valley for a glass of fizz.
For more information visit www.snailspacecafe.co.uk.
TASTING MENU AT ROSEWARNE MANOR
On the last Thursday of each month head chef Phil Thomas prepares a special seven course tasting menu at the award-winning Rosewarne Manor. The next tasting evening will be held on 30 April and if past dinners are anything to go by, the menu will be impressive.
WHEN: Thursday 30 April.
WHERE: Rosewarne Manor, near Hayle.
RESERVATIONS: £45 per person, phone 01209 610414 to book a table.
NEW CHILDREN’S MENU AT AMELIES
The new menu includes garlic pizza bread, crispy squid, mini moules and mish mash chicken, all of which have been tried and tested on Amélie’s lucky friends.
For more information see www.ameliesporthleven.co.uk.
Sam Sixton has reopened his beach restaurant at Crinnis Bay for the season. Keep an eye on Facebook for Sam’s news and events, which include regular live music.
If your knives need sharpening then pay Zoltan a visit. Knife sharpener extraordinaire, Zoltan can be found at his regular spots including Relish in Wadebridge, The Cornish Food Box Co. in Truro. Visit his Facebook page for more information, and don’t forget to buy some plasters.
We love Baked Brownies and now you can get your fix of their delicious products in Newquay’s Surfing Life store. Baked at Surfing Life sells good coffee, juices and milkshakes, as well as brownies, cakes, flapjack bars, sausage rolls, quiche, and more.
Good luck to Kernow Chocolate who will be opening their new factory in St Eval on Saturday 28 March. The factory will be open to visitors, with a café and chocolate shop too.
Rick Stein will be hosting an evening at the Padstow Seafood School on 8 April. Guests can enjoy a glass or two of wine whilst watching Rick demonstrate three of his favourite dishes as he regales tales of his adventures around the world. Tickets cost £85 per person. For more details visit www.rickstein.com.
Rick will also be holding a book signing at his Porthleven restaurant between 2.30 and 3.30pm on 25 April.
From Easter Monday Kernowforno will be back for their regular Monday evenings at Lostwithiel Community Centre. They serve delicious wood-fired pizzas, and drinks and cakes are available from the community centre. On 4 and 11 April lucky visitors at the Eden Project’s YHA site will be able to experience a pop up pizza night.
Due to popular demand, new markets are now up and running in Bodmin and Padstow. The Bodmin Produce Market is held in St Petroc’s Church on the second Friday of each month, and the Padstow Artisan Market is held in the Memorial Hall every Monday and Tuesday.
Every Thursday is now Taco Thursday at Wadebridge’s Little Plates. Expect specials such as squid taco with mango salsa, or a hard shell taco filled with spiced beef or drunken beans. Tequila optional. Phone 01208 816377 to book a table.
The fantastic Boscastle Fishing Co. will be reopening its doors at Easter. Get your fresh cooked or live lobster and crabs (whole or picked) here, or grab a tasty lobster or crab roll to eat then and there. Phone 01840 250450.
The Tanner Brothers’ fish and chip shop in Looe, The Catch, reopens with a new menu on Thursday 26 March.
Origin are now running the coffee shop at Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange in Penzance, where they will be offering a wide and ever-changing speciality coffee menu, featuring a selection of single origins. Open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
Lusty Glaze Beach is holding a Secret Supper Club on 23 April. The menu is a secret, but expect five delicious courses as the chefs take the opportunity to show off their creative skills, and there will be live acoustic music. Tickets cost £35 per person and are available online.
The Smugglers Den Inn at Cubert are holding a Pie and Ale Festival over the bank holiday weekend from 30 April to 4 May. There will be over 70 ales to choose from, plus homemade pies and live music all weekend.
I have heard good reports about Jericho’s Brasserie in Launceston. At a quick glance the evening menu looks very tempting, and the venue also plays host to monthly Acoustic Café and Café Scientific events.
Keep an eye on Facebook for more details about Bude’s new La Bocca Restaurant. Due to open at the end of April, La Bocca will be serving pizzas to eat in or take away, with home delivery available too.
From May the Laid Back Coffee Co. will be setting up permanent residence at their new coffee bar next to Roo’s Beach in Porth. In the meantime, you can get your coffee fix from their trusty van at Mawgan Porth during the Easter holidays.
The Porthminster Kitchen in St Ives is due to open soon. As a fan of the beautiful food at Porthminster Café, I can’t wait to visit their new café, which promises more gluten/dairy free and vegetarian options, at reasonable prices.
Another new arrival in Bude is Starboard at Rosie’s, a “wood-fired bistro”, serving pizzas, fish and meat from their wood-fired oven. See Facebook for more details of this new restaurant from the team at Rosie’s Kitchen, which opens on Friday 27 March.
The Harbour Light Tea Garden in Boscastle is under new ownership and has been completely refurbished. Pop in for homemade cakes, proper Origin coffee and Tregothnan tea.
The St Moritz Hotel’s Sea Side restaurant has reopened for the season with the addition of twelve fish, meat and veggie tapas dishes to the menu. The Sea Side is open daily from 11am to 5pm, serving food 12pm to 4pm.
Food blogger Choclette has a new vegetarian food blog – tinandthyme.uk – with Cornish food, venues and reviews featured as well as baking and chocolate recipes.
We love to hear from you, so if you have any Cornish food news please email [email protected], or post a comment below.