DINNER AT THE SHORE RESTAURANT, PENZANCE
Bruce Rennie has worked as Head Chef at Michelin-starred restaurants in Edinburgh and Northern Ireland, as well as for Gary Rhodes and Rick Stein, and at The Gurnard’s Head and The Old Coastguard.
It was only a matter of time before he was going to open his own restaurant, a dream he realised in early July when he took over The Old Buttery in Penzance.
The Shore Restaurant is the result of a huge amount of hard work from Bruce. The building is immaculately decorated, with smart, comfortable furniture, and the space is light and airy, yet warm and cosy. Everything has been done properly and feels solid. Top quality cutlery and beautiful crockery add to the experience.
With a name like “The Shore” you can expect lots of super-fresh fish and shellfish on the menu, and there are vegetarian and non-fish options too. Ingredients are local and carefully sourced, with some produce even coming from Bruce’s garden.
A group of six of us visited The Shore for dinner last week. We kicked off with baby sourdough loaves (one between two), complete with the round floury ridges you get from a wooden proving basket. The bread was perfect with a soft but elastic and slightly chewy (in a good way) texture and crispy crust, and slathered with salty (hooray) butter.
Starters included a salt fish and red pepper tartlet with a saffron and sweet onion cream (pictured above).
My Morvah chicken terrine with pickled grelots and curry mayonnaise was really good. The terrine was packed with layers of rich, flavoursome meat, balanced by sweet and sharp bubblegum-pink onions. The curry mayonnaise evoked memories of Coronation chicken, something we all decided we loved and hadn’t eaten for a long time.
The langoustine carpaccio looked stunning (see below). Slithers of langoustine, tiny mushrooms, spring onions and coriander were served in a wide bowl, with a jug of hot aromatic broth alongside.
For main course, my pollack (pictured below) was superb. The fish was perfectly cooked, moist and succulent, with a deliciously crispy skin. It was served on a bed of white beans, with tenderstem broccoli, roasted baby fennel and a bouillabaisse sauce.
Others enjoyed plaice with new potatoes, peas, girolles and baby gem lettuce (below left) and cod with ratatouille, potato crisps and tomato sauce (below right).
Also on the menu were a pea risotto with black olives, broccoli and Rosary goats’ cheese, and Primrose Herd pork tenderloin with runner beans, Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnut and pigs’ head. Choosing which dish to have was a tough decision.
Despite being full, we managed to try all three puddings on the menu. The blackcurrant and vanilla cheesecake with white chocolate ice cream was declared amazing, and the Braeburn apple and almond tart with Granny Smith apple sorbet disappeared rapidly too.
I can’t resist chocolate, and the dark chocolate delice didn’t disappoint. It was rich and smooth and dark. The delice was topped with crystallised pistachios (yum) and served with a Victoria plum sorbet and a (boozy) plum.
The food was consistently good; superb ingredients were cooked with a light touch and the flavours spoke for themselves. The combination of classic dishes with some innovative twists worked well, and everything was perfectly seasoned.
Our evening was thoroughly enjoyable, service was great, and we didn’t guess that Bruce had been in the kitchen single-handedly cooking for the entire restaurant whilst struggling with a broken dishwasher.
We paid around £75 for three courses, with wine, for two people. Definitely worth a visit but make sure you book a table, or you may be disappointed.
The Shore Restaurant, 13/14 Alverton Street, Penzance, TR18 2QP