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Posted on Jan 25, 2018 by

When I visited The Idle Rocks earlier this week, the sun was streaming in through the windows and it was positively warm.

The hotel sits on the harbour front in St Mawes, and the views from the dining room (and terrace in the summer) are just fantastic. I could sit there for hours, watching the boats whizzing back and forth across the water, enjoying the comfort of the calm, restful hotel.

A friend and I were invited to sample the hotel restaurant’s new “Catch of the Day” menu; for £19.50 guests can enjoy the fish dish of the day and a glass of house wine. Currently the house white is from Trevibban Mill, near Padstow.

Along with an Idle Rocks branded bottle of sparkling water, we were given a basket of bread – warm, springy sourdough, and a salty pretzel bun, which we slathered with salty Cornish butter. I tried not to eat too much bread so that I had plenty of room for my meal, but failed miserably.

Our main course was stunning, a real work of art. This was the “Catch of the Day”: curried hake on a bed of spinach and Israeli couscous, and topped with sliced grapes and onion bhajis. On the plate was herbed yogurt, cauliflower purée, pickled cauliflower, Assam tea soaked currants, grape purée and curry butter.

What a combination! It was one of those plates of food that is so packed full of flavour you want to devour it, but you also want to savour every mouthful and make it last as long as possible.

There were two desserts on the lunch menu (as well as a cheese selection) so we ordered one of each.

The rhubarb baked Alaska was covered with meticulously piped Italian meringue. It had a gingery base of Cornish fairings, and was served with a little bottle of the brightest pink rhubarb gin, which was poured over the dessert.

I opted for the caramel cheesecake, which was laden with wafer thin slices of banana, cardamom and pear sorbet, and thin strips of deep-fried banana which had an amazing texture and flavour. Just in case this dish was in danger of not having enough oomph, on went the salted caramel sauce.

At this point we could have done with an afternoon nap, but instead we decided coffee was more appropriate. Along with our drinks we were given the teeniest saucepan of petits fours – mini shortbread biscuits and little cubes of cherry gelée – a lovely way to round off a very good lunch.

The hotel restaurant has recently won ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’ and ‘Best Chef’ in the Cornwall Life awards, as well as ‘Best Restaurant’ in the Trencherman Guide Awards. Head chef Guy Owen’s cooking is getting the recognition it deserves; every dish that comes out of his kitchen is beautifully presented, perfectly executed and, most importantly, delicious.

I must also mention the wonderful restaurant staff; they were faultlessly polite, friendly and professional. Thank you for looking after us so well.

For more information about The Idle Rocks’ rooms and restaurants, and to make a reservation, visit

All photos by Ellie Michell.

Disclaimer: We were treated to the “Catch of the Day” menu (main course and glass of wine, priced at £19.50pp) and paid for our desserts and coffee.

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