Tuesday, 25 February 2014

West Cornwall Top Picks, by Josh Barrie

Location: West Cornwall, UK
Josh and his girlfriend in Mousehole

After my recent post on a trip to Cornwall, I got chatting to Josh Barrie, a West Cornwall based food writer who spent his teenage years in Oxford. Just before he recently upped sticks and moved to London, Josh very kindly wrote a guest blog for me with his guide to the best food spots in West Cornwall - a big thanks to Josh for these fab recommendations.
Foodie x 

My time in Cornwall was fleeting. Ten months at The Cornishman passed quickly – just long enough to enjoy the fruits of summer and meander through winter under wind and rain.

Noting the weather may be tedious a beginning, but when seasons are so integral to food and food’s such a defining feature of the county, it’s hard not to. After all, it’s throughout the warmer months some of the finest fish in the world is at its best; it’s throughout those dark, damp weeks of November when soups and roast dinners are all the more satisfying.

Having journeyed to the distant west since a child it was odd to actually live there. Waking up every morning to the smell of the sea is wholly different to two weeks in August. And in staying there a while longer I was able to immerse myself in the food culture. It means so much more; it’s an industry relied upon and most importantly must never be heralded as fish and chips or pasties alone (however gorgeous they may be).

Great produce at a local grocer's

It’s in the small, independent farms such as Trevaskis near Hayle, or St Just Community Farm that produce some of the earthiest, most natural vegetables around. And the beef, such as that of Bollowal’s Red Ruby Devon’s – I remember talking to farmer Jeff Thomas at The Royal Cornwall Show and his love and care for his animals transposed to the steaks that resulted.

There’s the cheese too of course, and the luscious treats – ‘hevva’ cake, which sounds something so unglamorous with all its lard and simplistic nature (no polenta or agave syrup to be found) was as pleasing with a cup of tea as any at a hip Jericho cafĂ©.

But let’s get down to some of the pubs and restaurants. It was there I enjoyed most what I believe to be west Cornwall’s greatest asset: fish.

First in line is The Rum & Crab Shack in St Ives, my last review for The Cornishman. For fear of repeating myself I’ll keep my gushing brief – but really, it’s a wonderful experience. A vast array of rums – more than Raoul’s, would you believe – is married with the coast’s tender and succulent crustacean. The food is Cornish with a Caribbean twist, such as a warming jambalaya or fragrant crab and rum soup, harnessing what’s good and sprinkling it with the exotic.

Rum Selection at Rum & Crab Shack

Marazion’s Ben’s Cornish Kitchen is a largely different affair. It’s somewhat more refined, yet retains the land’s casual charm. The menu is as seasonal as a tree, with touches of sheering wonderment nestled alongside rustic notes. You might have curried tempura John Dory fillets, with orange, fennel and baby caper salad and sweet chilli jam. Perhaps you might follow that with pan fried turbot and crispy ox cheek, alongside other delightful concoctions.

Another great spot is The Tolcarne Inn, Newlyn. Perched next to the sea the chef, Ben Tunnicliffe, is as loving of his fish as the fisherman are of their lighthouses. Sitting in the pub feels as if in a cabin, where rural comfort, such as ray and potato terrine or monkfish tail with grilled polenta, is cooked with expert hand.

These are just three of west Cornwall’s finest offerings. The list is endless. It may not have Rick Stein’s cemented stature, Nathan Outlaw’s two Michelin stars or Jamie Oliver’s name – all very much a part of the landscape east of Truro – but the trip to the edge of the country’s well worth it.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...