A NIGHT AT THE OLD QUAY HOUSE
The Old Quay House Hotel in Fowey has recently changed ownership and undergone a refurb; we were invited to test out the new look restaurant and rooms.
When the wall behind the bar is emblazoned with the words “Time to drink Champagne and dance on the table”, you know you’re in for a good night.
Hotel Manager Martin Nicholas’s main aim is for guests to be happy, and with his good humour and generosity of spirit you can guarantee you’ll be well looked after.
After a glass (or two) of Champagne on the squishy sofas in front of the fire, we moved to the cosy dining room, with new super comfy dining chairs.
We kicked off with a zingy pre-starter of scallop ceviche with chilli jelly, coriander foam and mango, which really got the taste buds going.
Ryan Kellow has been head chef in the hotel’s “Q” restaurant since spring 2015. He describes his style as “classical French with a modern twist” and I love the flavour combinations he creates.
Starters included pan-fried scallops with mango, chilli, coriander and shimeji; a duo of mackerel, smoked and soused, with cucumber and fennel; and a goat’s cheese mousse with beetroot, candied hazelnuts and balsamic.
I had the pan-fried pigeon, with black pudding, spinach and pearl barley. The pigeon was juicy and succulent, the black pudding was transformed into a rich purée and the barley was perfectly al dente. A very good way to start a meal.
My main course (no decent photo I’m afraid, despite many attempts involving diffusers and reflectors) was a huge fillet of plaice with smoked haddock mousse, served on a bed of purple sprouting broccoli and a beurre noisette. It was salty and rich, and the fish was spot on.
Martin’s “Plate of suckling pig” (pictured) looked delicious and the beef fillet with rosti, mushroom, spinach and foie gras was superb.
Other dishes included lobster raviolo with salsify, mussels, cockles and an oyster emulsion; roast poussin with kale, celeriac and duchess potato, and duck breast with braised chicory, boulangère potatoes, beetroot and pickled grapes.
If you fancy recreating Ryan’s fantastic food, try his recipe for roast pigeon with fondant potato, beetroot, kale and blueberries, from West Country Foodlover magazine.
And on to desserts… My vanilla pana cotta was silky smooth, gorgeously vanilla-y and served with “textures of plums”, stewed and foamed. It looked disconcertingly like bubble bath, but tasted a lot, lot better.
The dark chocolate parfait, macaron, marshmallow and mousse was beautiful, the only complaint being that there wasn’t enough of it.
The espresso crème brûlée and cinnamon beignets elicited many oohs and ahhs. Needless to say nobody shared their doughnuts with me.
Martin opted for the cheese selection, served with fig chutney and crackers and some delicious candied walnuts.
Another recipe for you to try at home is Ryan’s dark chocolate delice with pistachio and olive oil cake, and raspberries.
Full to bursting, we chatted at the bar (who knew that Amaretto and Baileys tasted so good together?) and drank peppermint tea by the fire, before heading upstairs to bed.
Following the hotel’s refurbishment, bedrooms have been updated with new furniture and fabrics, and they are all quietly understated, stylish and very comfortable.
The new look was developed with Kieron Cockley of Brocante, an interiors shop based just along the road in Fowey.
Whilst on the subject, there are some thoughtful touches in the rooms, including packets of earplugs in the bedside table and “his and hers” waterproofs hanging in the wardrobe. Flat screen TVs and wifi mean that you can stay in touch with the rest of the world if you want/need to.
The following morning we were treated to a stunning sunrise. The view from the bedroom was mesmerising, with the sky’s ever-changing colour, fishing boats heading out to sea, and the ferry pootling back and forth between Polruan and Fowey.
Rooms are equipped with Nespresso machines and kettles, so there’s no hurry to head down to breakfast.
A large cupboard in the restaurant is transformed into a breakfast bar in the morning. It’s packed full of fruit and cereal, pastries, yogurt, and my favourite – The Old Quay House’s amazing homemade granola.
There is also a cooked breakfast menu, which includes classics such as eggs Benedict and scrambled eggs with smoked salmon.
I chose the French toast with maple syrup and bacon – a heavenly combination of soft and crispy/sweet and salty/egg and bacon – which, along with a good flat white, set me up for the day very well.
Thank you to Martin and his team for looking after us so well, and for treating us to dinner, bed and breakfast. We had a fabulous time.
Dinner is priced at £30 for two courses and £37.50 for three courses.
Bed and breakfast starts at £190 for two people in a double classic room. Dinner, bed and breakfast rates start at £265 for a double classic room.
Stay before 11 February at a special reduced rate, starting at £145 for bed and breakfast in a classic double room. Book a two night stay before 11 February and enjoy dinner in the restaurant at half price. Phone 01726 833302 or email [email protected] to make a reservation.