THE FOODIE DIARY: MAY
Summer is nearly here! The first Cornish strawberries and asparagus have appeared. A gorgeously sunny Easter break has brought visitors in their droves, and restaurants have stepped up a gear into summer mode.
From gastronomic events and street food to morris dancing and vintage vehicles, we’ve got it covered in our latest Foodie Diary.
DON’T WAKE THE FISH AT THE GURNARD’S HEAD
The Gurnard’s Head‘s 2014 Real Ale and Music festival Don’t Wake the Fish will take place over the weekend of 24 and 25 May. Now in its third year, this celebration of Cornish brewing brings together breweries and musicians, as well as local artisans, in the Gurnard’s Head’s garden overlooking both sea and moor.
The Posh Pasty Co and The Cornish Pizza Company will be serving food alongside The Gurnard’s Head’s own barbecue. Thirty beers on tap, a cider bar and further liquid refreshments from Polgoon should ensure you don’t go thirsty.
The circus tent will host Cornish musicians throughout the weekend, including Black Friday and The 50 Degrees Choir, plus there will be face painting, garden games, pot throwing and morris dancers to keep the whole family entertained.
NEW MENU FOR ROJANO’S IN THE SQUARE
With manager Paul Dodd taking up the reins in the kitchen as head chef, Paul Ainsworth‘s Italian-inspired restaurant, Rojano’s in the Square in Padstow, has launched a new menu in time for the Easter weekend. Alongside authentic pizzas (the best outside Italy, according to Heston Blumenthal) and pasta dishes (how about linguine with tiger prawns and Cornish crab?), you can now order from the new Cornish meat and Nibbles sections.
On the grill, choose from a Burger Italiano (made with Philip Warren‘s finest beef and served with gorgonzola, crisp spinata, lettuce, pickles and chutney, in a clotted cream bun – yum) or a Red Ruby short pulled rib burger made with pulled braised beef and served with a red onion jam; or a BLT Cornish hot dog: a glazed clotted cream bun containing a Kernow Sausage Co hot dog, bacon, lettuce, tomato and Doom Bar battered onion rings.
WHERE: 9 Mill Square, Padstow, PL28 8AE
RESERVATIONS: Please phone 01841 532 796 to book a table. (Lunchtime reservations only for parties of 6 people or more.)
LAID BACK COFFEE CO. AT MAWGAN PORTH
The Laid Back Coffee Co.‘s converted 1969 Morris Minor van hit the road over the Easter weekend, and will be a regular fixture at Mawgan Porth over the summer. Rosie Hoppe (ex-BinTwo) and husband Graham (ex-Basement chef)’s mobile coffee business is also available for private hire.
They serve proper Origin coffee in 100% compostable takeaway cups alongside an ever-changing variety of cakes and sweet treats, all made by Graham. We’ve heard talk of brownies on sticks dipped in white chocolate, cookie sandwiches, mini fruit patisserie and truffles for those who just want a small chocolate kick. The emphasis is on tasty indulgent treats, which sounds just perfect to me.
To keep up to date with the van’s whereabouts and cakes du jour, visit their Facebook page.
A DOUBLE BILL AT MERCHANTS MANOR
For one night only one of my favourite chefs, Tom Scade, joins Dale McIntosh at Merchants Manor in Falmouth for a special meal, cooked by both chefs. With musical accompaniment by soul band The Grace Notes, the six course feast includes sumptuous ingredients including oysters, venison, crab and asparagus, which you can guarantee will be cooked and presented beautifully.
The hotel is offering guests the chance to stay for bed and breakfast for an extra £20 per person.
WHEN: 7pm, Monday 26 May
WHERE: Merchants Manor, Western Terrace, Falmouth, TR11 4QJ
RESERVATIONS: Tel 01326 312734 or email [email protected]
COST: £38 per person or £58 with matching wines
KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF AT CAMEL VALLEY
In celebration of English Wine Week 2014, Camel Valley Vineyard is hosting a special event on Sunday 25 May. The evening kicks off at 7pm with a tour of the vineyard by Camel Valley founder, Bob Lindo, followed by a visit to the winery with his son Sam Lindo, who has been awarded the title of UK Winemaker of the Year three times.
With a comprehensive tasting of award winning Camel Valley wines, Rugby World Cup winner Josh Lewsey will then introduce the Knock Your Socks Off paella, cooked by Lee Lake of Lewsey Lou‘s, using locally caught fish, prawns, mussels, scallops and chunks of lobster tails. Booking essential.
WHEN: 7pm, Sunday 25 May
WHERE: Camel Valley, Nanstallon, Bodmin, PL30 5LG
COST: £35 per person
BOOKINGS: Phone 01208 77959 or book online.
CORNISH ASPARAGUS AT ITS BEST
Asparagus season in Cornwall runs from mid April until the end of June. With chefs racing to be the first to serve it on their menus, don’t miss out on this local delicacy. Cut by hand and often delivered to restaurants within hours of harvest, Cornish asparagus is thought to be some of the best in the country.
Available direct from the growers, from farm shops and farmers’ markets, you should also try cooking some at home. The sweet, tender spears are best simply steamed and drizzled with melted butter.
On Sunday 11 May Lostwithiel will play host to LostFest, with events taking place across the town. Historical and musical performers will entertain the crowds by day and the music will continue into the evening with bands appearing on the main stage on The Parade. Dozens of art, craft and antique stalls will be set up around the town and the Community Centre will become a Jazz Café. Monmouth Square will be turned into a food village, with stalls including Kernowforno, The Cornish Curry Co. and Big Pot Kitchen. Plus liquid refreshments from the Skinners beer tent.
Every penny from LostFest goes to FLEET, a charity that provides equipment to all emergency medical support services in Cornwall. Last year the event raised £4,500 for the charity.
For more information please visit www.lostfest.co.uk.
A new regular fixture at Chapel Amble’s The Olde House, Iain Shillito will be cooking from his Blue Bus (a converted 1972 VW camper van) on Mondays during school holidays. Expect gourmet hotdogs, with Kernow Sausage Co‘s tasty Cornish sausages and Iain’s delicious homemade burgers.
WHEN: Next visit Monday 26 May
WHERE: The Olde House, Chapel Amble, PL27 6EN
MORE INFORMATION: Keep an eye on the Blue Bus Facebook page.
FEAST NIGHTS AT THE HIDDEN HUT
If you’re lucky enough to have taken part in one of The Hidden Hut‘s legendary feast nights, then you’ll no doubt be eagerly anticipating the release of this summer’s tickets. Owner and chef Simon cooks gorgeous food outdoors on a charcoal grill in this stunning spot overlooking Porthcurnick beach. Bring your own plates, glasses, cutlery and drinks (and coats and waterproofs – remember this is Cornwall). Children and dogs welcome.
This year, tickets are being released one month at a time, with May’s tickets going on sale at 7pm on 28 April, and they sell out within minutes. I’m loath to share this with you, but here goes:
Friday 2 May, Porthcurnick Seafood Grill, £17 pp.
Sunday 4 May, Sticky Ribs, £13 pp.
Saturday 10 May, River Fal Shells Night, £11 pp.
Wednesday 21 May, Wood Roasted Chicken, £13 pp.
Friday 23 May, Crab Gratin, £15 pp.
Monday 26 May, Lebanese Night, £16 pp.
Friday 30 May, Mackerel and Sardine Grill, £9 pp.
WHEN: Open 10am to 5pm for fabulous fresh food, and from 7pm on feast evenings.
WHERE: The Hidden Hut, Porthcurnick Beach, Nr Portscatho TR2 5EW
MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.hiddenhut.co.uk
POWER TO THE PIZZA
Strong Adolfo’s have teamed up with Wild Bake for a regular pizza and motorcycle evening, starting on Thursday 1 May. Wild Bake will be cooking up delicious wood fired pizzas (think asparagus, creme fraiche, wilted spinach and smoked bacon; or parma ham, sun blushed tomato, mozzarella and foraged hedgerow pesto) and street food from their converted horse trailer. Guests are invited to bring their favourite vehicle, a healthy appetite and friends.
BIG PRODUCE MARKET AT LEMON QUAY
Now in its third year, Truro’s Big Produce Market returns to Lemon Quay on 9 and 10 May. Featuring over 50 of Cornwall’s food and drink producers, the market showcases many of the county’s smaller, artisan producers. Chefs’ demos will run throughout the two days at one of Cornwall’s largest markets.
WHEN: 9am to 4pm, Friday 9 and Saturday 10 May
WHERE: Lemon Quay, Truro
MORE INFORMATION: www.trurofarmersmarket.co.uk
THE BULLPIT SMOKEHOUSE AND BAR OPENS IN NEWQUAY
Opening at the end of May, The Bullpit Smokehouse and Bar will bring proper American style smoked barbecue food to Newquay. Their three wood fired commercial smokers have a combined capacity of 450lbs of meat that can be cooked at any one time for their 120 cover restaurant and bar. Dishes will include smoked beef brisket, baby back ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, steaks and burgers as well as salads and vegetarian options, with smaller portions for children.
The first floor houses a themed bar with an American frozen cocktail machine and a separate bar menu with tasting platters. A family friendly restaurant, complete with authentic Texan decor, is situated in the top floor of the building, with stunning views over Towan Beach. There is even a lift for those who struggle with stairs and to allow families to dine in the restaurant without having to pass through the bar to get there.
The Bullpit aims to provide fast casual dining with high quality, freshly prepared food in generous quantities at attractive prices. Combined with views across Towan Beach, this looks set to be a popular spot for locals and holidaymakers.
THE THIRSTEA CO. BREWS ON THE MOVE
In autumn 2013 Seth Richards and Jodi Meenaghan dreamt up the idea of setting up a tea room in Cornwall, and The Thirstea Co. was born. Six months later their first cup of tea was brewed in Earl, their trusty Citröen H, an ex-horse box from the south of France. Laboriously converted into a mobile tea room by Seth and Jodi, Earl will be popping up around Cornwall at festivals, weddings and events this summer.
Earl is due to be on the road from early May so keep an eye on Facebook to find out where in Cornwall you can grab a cuppa from them. Plus they’ll be serving cakes (cinnamon rolls, roasted hazelnut and caramel cupcakes…) and take away cream teas.
POP UP BRUNCH AT DOLLY’S
May Day bank holiday Sunday sees the first of Dolly’s pop up brunches at her beautiful tea room and wine bar in Falmouth. From 10am until 2pm you can enjoy tasty homemade food, with dishes from £4 to £7. Bring your own vinyl for the record player.
WHEN: 10am – 2pm, Sunday 4 May
WHERE: Dolly’s Tea Room, 21 Church St, Falmouth
RESERVATIONS: Call Fe on 07533 828546
NEW LOOK NEW YARD RESTAURANT AT TRELOWARREN
The beautiful New Yard Restaurant, set within the tranquil grounds of Trelowarren Estate, near Helston, has undergone a revamp. Now boasting comfy sofas and two, yes two, fireplaces for you to settle down in front of with the newspapers, the new interior is both stylish and comfortable, just the kind of place you’d be happy to while away the hours, eating and drinking.
Head chef Max Wilson’s menu reflects the best in local, seasonal produce, with the freshest fish from local day boats and game from the 1,000 acre estate, which has been in the Vyvyan family for 600 years. Who could resist mouthwatering dishes such as Falmouth mackerel with tabouli, garlic and roasted beetroot or a Côte de Boeuf, and finishing off with Earl Grey brûlée and madeleines with chocolate and lavender sorbet, or a nutmeg and custard tart with rhubarb compote and rhubarb sorbet.
Pop in for coffee and cakes in the morning or one of Freddie’s cocktails by night. Children are welcome in the restaurant and on Sunday evenings try their pizzas from the wood fired oven. Combine your visit with a woodland walk around the estate, all of which start and finish in The Stable Yard.
WHERE: Trelowarren, Mawgan, Helston, TR12 6AF
RESERVATIONS: Tel 01326 221595
SEA SIDE SPECIALS
The lovely Sea Side Restaurant at St Moritz Hotel has reopened for spring, with head chef Jamie Porter’s new menu featuring his signature bold and simple dishes, focusing on local, seasonal produce. There are daily changing specials, with emphasis on seafood, or just visit to enjoy the view with a coffee and cake.
Lucky locals with a Solid as Rock card can order from a special menu, with two courses for £15 until 22 May.
WHERE: St Moritz Hotel, Trebetherick, Wadebridge, PL27 6SD
RESERVATIONS: Phone 01208 862242
ALL VEGGIE SOUTH AMERICAN EVENING
The talented team at Truro’s Secret Garden Café are hosting an all vegetarian, South American themed evening. The fixed menu will consist of sharing platters with two courses priced at £18 and the full three courses at £24 per person.
WHEN: 7pm, Saturday 3 May
WHERE: The Secret Garden Café, 5 Kenwyn Street, Truro, TR13BU
MORE INFO: Keep an eye on their Facebook page for more details.
RESERVATIONS: Tel 01872 271540
WATCH THE SUN SET AT THE STABLE
Fistral’s new pizza and cider restaurant, The Stable, is now open for business. With stunning views over the beach it’s the ideal spot for watching the sun set. The pizzas are beautiful (I can recommend the West Country Porker – chorizo, tomato and mozzarella topped with peppery rocket and dressed with Dijon house dressing), with pies and salads also very good. See the menu.
Of note are Tuck in Tuesdays, when you can buy any pizza or pie, with side salad and drink for £10, between 5 and 9.30pm. At lunchtime you can enjoy a small pizza and side salad for £6. Cider tasting boards (pictured) are also proving popular, featuring a selection of ciders, priced at £7.50 for five 1/3 pints. See the full cider menu.
OPEN: Takeaways from 8am, Food 12 – 9.30pm, Drink 12 – 11.30pm
WHERE: The Stable, Fistral Beach, Headland Road, Newquay, TR7 1HY
CONTACT: Tel 01637 878311 or email [email protected]
Now in its fifth year, the St Ives Food and Drink festival will be held on Porthminster Beach on 17 and 18 May. There will be cookery demonstrations, food foraging walks, around 30 food and drink producers, tastings, talks, an oyster and champagne event and live music.
With children’s pasty making classes, face painting and a sand castle competition, this is a family friendly event.
For more information please visit www.stivesfoodanddrinkfestival.co.uk.
WHEN: 17 and 18 May
WHERE: Porthminster Beach, St Ives
COST: £1 to enter the marquee, which will see you entered into a draw to win a hamper.
SORRY: No dogs allowed on the beach from Easter to October.
TANNER BROTHERS’ STR.EAT OPENS IN LOOE
Hot on the heels of their new shop, Quayside Fresh, in Looe, James and Chris Tanner have opened Str.eat, a street food outlet in the harbour town. Open from 9am for coffee and freshly baked cakes, and serving great lunches (think homemade steak burgers, mackerel and chorizo wraps or Cajun spiced hake) cooked while you wait.
WILD FOOD DAY AT BEDRUTHAN
On Saturday 3 May, join chef Adam Clark on a two hour walk from Bedruthan Hotel and Spa, through the valley of St. Mawgan with its fantastic yielding hedgerows and woodland, then back to the hotel via Mawgan Porth beach, for some seaweed foraging.
Back at the hotel, watch Adam’s interactive demonstration of how to use your ingredients to prepare (and then eat) a wild meal. There will also be an insight into preserving wild food and tasters of home made wild preserves.
At 10am on Sunday 4 May the hotel is also hosting a one hour talk on heritage growing by Buttervilla‘s Robert Hocking. This is free to attend and open to non-residents – enjoy a coffee and slice of cake in The Wild Café while you’re there. Please contact the hotel to reserve a place.
WHEN: 10am, Saturday 3 May
WHERE: Bedruthan Hotel and Spa, Trenance, Mawgan Porth, Newquay, TR8 4BU
FULL DAY: £12 residents, £25 non-residents, including demo, tasters and lunch
WALK ONLY: free for residents, £5 non-residents
BOOKING: Tel 01637 860860 or email [email protected].
COCKTAILS AT GROUNDED
On 30 and 31 May, Mojito Steve will be making another appearance at Truro’s bijou and compact pop-up cocktail bar, Grounded. In addition to normal daytime opening hours (when you can get gorgeous coffee and cakes, breakfast and lunch) the café will open its doors from 6-12pm. A perfect addition to your night out.
WHEN: 6-12pm, 30 and 31 May
WHERE: 5 New Bridge Street, Truro TR1 2AA
MORE INFO: Tel 01872 277224 or @groundedtruro
SEAFOOD AND BEER AT RICK STEIN’S FISH IN FALMOUTH
If you like seafood and beer then grab a ticket for this informal tasting evening in the private dining room at Rick Stein’s Fish in Falmouth. Chefs will introduce their dishes of devilled mackerel, meen kulambu cod curry and scallops with ginger, soy, sesame oil and spring onions, which will be accompanied by matching beers from Rebel Brewery‘s craft beer range.
WHEN: 6pm, Thursday 22 May
WHERE: Rick Stein’s Fish, Discovery Quay, Falmouth, TR11 3XA
TICKETS: £10 per person
RESERVATIONS: Phone 01841 532700
Add your tips for May in the comments section, or email Ellie with any suggestions for June or July.