THE FOODIE DIARY: FEBRUARY
Hooray for February as Cornwall springs back into life, restaurants and hotels reopen, and hearty eating begins again. (Congratulations to those who have completed a virtuous January detox, healthy eating campaign or dryathlon.)
Once again, our diary is jam-packed with food news, out-of-season deals and special events. Love is most definitely in the air and we’ve a luvverly list of special Valentine’s menus. Happy eating!
Until 13 February, you can enjoy three courses of Italian-inspired dishes, using the best seasonal Cornish ingredients for just £21. We’ve tried it and can vouch for every course being absolutely delicious.
The sample menu includes crispy fillet of pollock with borlotti beans, purple sprouting broccoli in speck and salmoriglio, and potato gnocchi with romanesco alla barese. Pinolata della nonna (Grandma’s pine nut and custard tart) sounds wonderful.
Book online or phone 01637 861000 to reserve a table. Available lunchtimes, Tuesday to Saturday.
PINOT LOVERS SUPPER WITH FIONA BECKETT AT THE GURNARD’S HEAD
Renowned food and wine journalist Fiona Beckett is hosting a wine tasting dinner at The Gurnard’s Head on 27 February. After Champagne and canapés the four courses will comprise of:
Starter, with Pinot Blanc (Alsace) vs Pinot Bianco (Italy).
Fish course, with Pinot Grigio (Alto Adige) vs Pinot Gris (NZ).
Duck course, with Pinot Noir (Burgundy) vs Pinot Noir (Martinborough NZ or South America).
Pudding, with a sweet Pinot.
The Gurnard’s Head were placed at no 9 in the Top 50 UK Gastropubs awards in January 2015, and were also highly commended in the “Wine List of the Year” category.
WHEN: Friday 27 February
WHERE: The Gurnard’s Head, Zennor
RESERVATIONS: £55 per person, to book your place phone 01736 796928.
HALF TERM TREATS
If you’re venturing out for food with the children at half term then have a look at our top ten family friendly restaurants blog. It doesn’t always have to be pasties and chips followed by a scoop of ice cream.
NEW AT THE LIVING SPACE
Watergate Bay Hotel’s Living Space has long been a favourite hangout of ours. No need to book, plenty of stylish tables, comfy sofas, a stunning view and, most importantly, great food.
New on the menu this month are some fabulous dishes. Mainly serving British and European food, there are also influences from North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. There are more vegetarian dishes, and healthy options such as the new toasted freekeh salad.
The New York deli-style sandwich looks amazing (grilled Da Bara rye bread with onion leaf, pastrami, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and dill pickles) and I can vouch for the mushroom chips (pictured above) being absolutely delicious. Huge chunks of portobello mushrooms in a crispy breadcrumb coating, covered with parmesan and served with aioli – what’s not to love?
TAKE POTLUCK AT MACKEREL SKY CAFÉ
Potluck’s seventh gathering will take place at Mackerel Sky Café in Penzance, with guest speaker John Strike from Quayside Fishmongers in Porthleven, who will discuss the Cornish fish trade.
There will be a selection of food, including Cornish crab rarebits, smoked mackerel pâté, beer-battered local white fish & home-made tartar sauce, marinated white anchovies, slow roast sticky pork belly, smoked Cheddar cheese straws and grilled halloumi & spiced beetroot relish en croûte.
WHEN: 6.30-9pm, Thursday 26 February
WHERE: Mackerel Sky Café, 45 New Street, Penzance, TR18 2LZ
RESERVATIONS: £12.50 per person, book online.
It may be winter here, but it’s summer somewhere, so The Beach Hut is putting on its annual Summer Somewhere Barbecue.
With experience as a chef in Barbados, Executive Chef Neil Haydock will be cooking fresh fish and barbecued jerk chicken, Caribbean salsa, steamed fish in banana leaf with rice, peas and other Caribbean classics.
Stay warm by the beach bonfire, get into the spirit with Tequila Sunrise and Pina Colada cocktails and enjoy the live music, steel drums and limbo dancing.
WHERE: The Beach Hut, Watergate Bay
WHEN: 7pm, Friday 27 February
RESERVATIONS: £30 per person, book online.
WORLD PASTY CHAMPIONSHIPS AT EDEN
Registration for the World Pasty Championships is now open as the competition returns to the Eden Project on 28 February, the Saturday before St Piran’s Day.
Amateur and professional pasty bakers from across the globe are invited to enter the competition with either a traditional Cornish pasty (baked to strict guidelines and must be made in Cornwall) or other savoury pasties.
The competition is the centrepiece of a day of pasty celebrations, with comedy and music headlined by The Fisherman’s Friends.
To find out more or to enter the competition visit www.edenproject.com/pasty. Entry costs £10/£5 for each adult/junior category. This entitles the competitor and one guest to free entry to the Eden Project on the day of the competition.
The Old School Bar and Kitchen in Mount Hawke is celebrating after being included in the Top 50 UK Gastro Pub Listing for 2015. They were also awarded Gastro Pub of the Year in the Cornwall Life Food and Drink Awards in November.
We love their design your own burger night, where you get to choose your bun, meat, salad, pickles, cheese and sauces.
I wish I was a little bit older so I could join the OSBK Young at Heart Club – just £7.95 for a main course, tea or coffee and slice of cake for the over 60’s.
Until the end of January the pub is running a special offer: buy one main course, get a second half price. Visit their website for full details.
The first Launceston Family Food Fun Day will be held in the town square from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 21 February, the end of half term week.
The event is being organised by Joe Thomson (Firebrand Bar) and the day will focus on choosing and making good food, with lots to keep children engaged. Kernowforno will be running pizza making workshops and you can build a burger with the Firebrand chefs. No 8 Café and Coffee Bar will have a smoothie shack and cupcake decorating, and if the children need more entertaining, there’ll be face painting and games.
There will also be a selection of street food and Cornish produce stalls. For more information keep an eye on the Facebook page.
WHEN: 10am – 4pm, Saturday 21 February
WHERE: The Town Square, Launceston
COST: Free entry. £1 to park all day in Cornwall Council car parks.
LUNCH AT THE SCARLET
Make the most of the quiet beaches and have a stomp along the sand or coast path before retreating to the warmth of The Scarlet for lunch.
Three courses are £22.50, with starters such as ragout of wild venison with saffron pappardelle and parmesan, or stir-fried squid with fennel salami, chilli, ginger and spring onion.
Main courses include Gloucester Old Spot pork with black pudding, caramelized red onion and glazed roots, or roast hake with chicken skin, sautéed girolles and sherry vinegar. The puddings sound dreamy: dark chocolate and salted caramel trifle with vanilla cream and granola or treacle tart with clotted cream and banana sorbet amongst others.
I’ve only ever eaten delicious food at The Scarlet and highly recommend their lunch menu, along with a breathtaking view out to sea.
AN EVENING WITH NATHAN OUTLAW AT CORNWALL COLLEGE
Nathan Outlaw will be hosting a fine dining experience at Cornwall College’s Trevenson Restaurant in Camborne. The mouth-watering five course menu will be cooked by Nathan, with help from the students of Academy Nathan Outlaw, and features some outstanding dishes.
Tickets are £45 per person and include a glass of Prosecco on arrival. Nathan will also be available to meet people and sign books.
WHEN: 7pm, Wednesday 11 February
WHERE: Cornwall College, Camborne Campus
RESERVATIONS: call 01209 616160.
NEW OYSTER AFICIONADO MASTERCLASS AT PHILLEIGH WAY
Philleigh Way Cookery School have created a new oyster masterclass in collaboration with Katy Davidson (who runs Mangez Moi and The Oyster Academy).
During the hands-on day-long course, Katy will guide students through a shucking masterclass on both native and rock oysters, taste education and the comparisons of the two species before demonstrating some of her signature dishes using fresh oysters, including steak and oyster pie.
Students will then be able to have a go at recreating the dishes themselves. By the end of the course, students will have a thorough insight into the geography, gastronomy, history and culture of the oyster.
WHEN: Saturday 4 April 2015
COST: £125 per person, including lunch
RESERVATIONS: book online.
If you’re hungry while out and about then it’s worth popping into Cornwall Services, on the A30 at Victoria.
The Open Oven Pizza Co. makes stonebaked pizzas to order, topped with their homemade tomato sauce and fresh, seasonal ingredients. They are currently offering free garlic bread with any full size pizza at lunchtime, and 20% off pizzas after 5pm, Monday to Thursday. Plus tea or coffee and a slice of cake for £3.
Sausage and Roll serves gourmet hot dogs with meal deals from £6.25 (includes a hot dog, side of fries or coleslaw, and a drink).
Cornish Delish is a deli/takeaway serving everything from breakfast through to cream teas. They now have a loyalty card scheme – get your 10th pasty free. 10% off purchases over £5 and how about soup and a roll for £3?
Check out current offers on their website.
BEN TUNNICLIFFE HEADS TO SENNEN’S BEACH RESTAURANT
Chef Ben Tunnicliffe is to take over The Beach Restaurant at Sennen in March, which he will run alongside his pub, The Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn. Previously Ben held a Michelin star at The Abbey in Penzance and worked at The Scarlet Hotel.
Ben is known for his seafood and at Sennen will be serving classics (fish soup and rouille, monkfish scampi) as well as local mussels, scallops and crab. A specials board will show the catch of the day, and family favourites (fish and chips, burgers) will also feature on the menu. The family friendly restaurant will be open all day with a relaxed atmosphere where dogs and walkers, surfers and cyclists will all be welcome.
Save the Children charity lunches continue at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant until Sunday 8 February.
Three courses cost just £18, with a £2.50 cover charge which is donated directly to Save the Children. Over £12,000 was raised at the lunches last year.
The sample menu includes prawn fritters with tomato chutney and kachumber, followed by salmon rechardo with a mild potato curry, carrots and cumin purée or grilled hake on spring onion mash and soy butter sauce. Stuart Pate’s puddings include a Seville orange steamed pudding with lemon yogurt sorbet, and a dark chocolate mousse with roasted pear and a pear and ginger sorbet.
For reservations phone 01841 532 700.
KINN! BAR IN TRURO
Kinn! is a new Asian streetfood bar, above Chantek in Truro, serving small plates of Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian street food.
The menu features fresh flavours, exotic herbs and vibrant spices. Nibble on chilli cashew nuts and prawn crackers, Thai fish cakes and honey pork spare ribs. Share a platter of tempura vegetables, sushi and spring rolls. And then move on to Pad Thai noodles with king prawns, Chu-Chee duck in red curry sauce or Tom Kaa chicken broth.
The bar menu ranges from craft beers to refreshingly zingy cocktails – fancy a lemongrass and ginger mule or apple and jasmine bellini? Free snacks when you buy two drinks, and the cocktail of the week is £5.
WHEN: Open from 6-11pm, Tuesday to Saturday
WHERE: 15 New Bridge Street, Truro, TR1 2AA
CONTACT: Phone 01872 225071 or visit www.kinnbar.co.uk.
TABLE FOR TWO? VALENTINE’S SPECIALS.
The Idle Rocks are putting on a five course tasting menu including seabass, scallops and Cornish lamb, priced at £60 per person, with accompanying wine flight for £45. (Oysters an optional extra, pictured above.)
Lusty Glaze will be lit by thousands of fairy lights and candles, with flame heaters, a log burner and live music. The seven course taster menu is available on both 13 and 14 February, £35 per person.
The Beach Hut will be serving up sharing dishes for Valentine’s Day, such as a double rib of beef with Béarnaise sauce and sweet potato fries, spatchcock free range chicken with winter panzanella, and whole sea bass with sag aloo.
The Valentine’s menu at Firebrand Bar looks appropriately special. I predict the rib steak for two and chocolate sharing plate will be popular.
If seafood is your thing, then try The Falmouth Bay Seafood Café‘s Valentine’s menu. With live music on both 13 and 14 February, the five course menu costs £39.95 per person.
The Driftwood Spars‘ Valentine’s à la carte menu looks delicious, with fizz and amuse bouche on arrival. The chateaubriand caught my eye – £38 to share.
We really like the look of The Old Quay House‘s menu, especially the rack of lamb and tarte tatin for two. £30 for 2 courses and £37.50 for 3 courses.
Rick Stein’s Café is holding a Seafood Lovers’ Valentine’s Dinner priced at £60 per couple for 3 courses.
Knightor Winery are running a wine tour and tasting, followed by afternoon tea with a glass of Knightor sparkling wine, for £48 per couple.
Padstow’s popular Margot’s Bistro is for sale. After 19 years at the helm, owner and chef Adrian Oliver has decided it’s time for a change, and we wish him well for the future. He’s planning on staying in Cornwall, so watch this space… Stephane Delourme stands to inherit the title of “Padstow’s longest serving head chef”.
Enjoy free live music at Lusty Glaze every night during half term (13-21 February). Phone 01637 851879 to book your fireside table.
Also at Lusty Glaze, if you have a February birthday and you hold your celebratory meal in their restaurant then you will receive a free bottle of wine or Prosecco. Booking essential.
Two Michelin-starred Restaurant Nathan Outlaw‘s move to new premises in Port Isaac is underway. They are now taking reservations from 4 March onwards – phone 01208 862737 to book a table.
For one night only The Round Kitchen will be guest cheffing at The Travellers Rest in Trevarrian on 9 March. The menu looks great for £25, and guests are advised to book early (phone 01637 860245) to avoid disappointment.
After a short break from their popular feast nights, Nancarrow Farm open their doors again with a Tuscan Peasant Feast on 7 February and a ‘Valley of the Stag’ Feast on 28 February. Tickets sell out very quickly so don’t delay. Priced at £35 per person, available online.
From 1 February until 26 March you can enjoy a lunchtime special at the St Moritz Hotel: a hearty plat du jour and glass of wine for £12.50, with an extra 10% discount for Solid as Rock locals’ card holders. (Sunday to Thursday only.)
To celebrate Farmhouse Breakfast Fortnight Picnic Cornwall is offering a free coffee with every breakfast between 8.30 and 9.30am, 19 January to 1 February.
The Falmouth Bay Seafood Café is holding “Jazz up your Sunday” on 1 February, with live music from 1pm and a seafood, meat and vegetarian buffet, £29.95 per person.
The Ship Inn in Wadebridge is holding a charity casino evening on Thursday 26 February in support of Cancer Research, Wadebridge Carnival and Camel River Festival. Three games tables, £20 per ticket which includes a glass of fizz on arrival, a curry dinner and £5 of gambling chips to play with. Tickets available from the bar, or phone 01208 813845.
Also at The Ship Inn on Sunday 8 February is their first Sunday Jazz Lunch, with playlist from the Great American Song Book. Phone 01208 813 845 to book your table.
Want to host a dinner party but can’t face the cooking? The Scarlet is offering Winter Feasts for groups of 8 to 20 in a private dining room. For more details see their website.
On a similar theme, Philleigh Way is offering free bubbles and canapés with any private dining booking placed before 31 March 2015.
Emma Gunn’s next instalment of her foraging book series Never Mind the Burdocks is now available. The winter edition is priced at £12.99 and available from her website. We enjoyed the spring issue – check out our review.
The Rosevine‘s next supper evening will be held on Thursday 12 February, with 3 courses for £19.50. They are also serving shared platters over half term, such as a whole roast chicken for you to carve and plate up yourself at your table, for £60 for 4 people. From 15 February locals can enjoy a 3 course Sunday lunch for £14.95, with a dip in the indoor pool too. Booking essential.
Firebrand Bar in Launceston have extended their January offer for the month of February: kids eat free. For each adult main course ordered, get a children’s main course free.
We love to hear your news, so whether you’re a chef, restaurant owner, food producer or customer, feel free to comment below or send us an email and we’ll do our best to include you in our next Foodie Diary.