Five restaurant finds to take your Cornish summer hols to the next gastro-level
Star & Garter, Falmouth (pictured above)
From outside, the ancient pub on Falmouth High Street looks smart but unassuming, but walk past the cosy bar to discover snug booths with expansive panoramic views and a menu that’s just as awesome.
Locally caught fish and seafood are stalwarts on the menu, but the confident kitchen team also love to cook Cornwall-reared meats and were early adopters of the nose-to-tail philosophy. The team prepare everything in house and their skills include butchery, smoking and curing, plus plenty of cooking over hot coals. A hyper-seasonal approach means that the menus change daily.
The Nutty Duck, Trevalsa near Mevagissy
Set within the boutique surrounds of Trevalsa Court Hotel, and with fabulous sea views over Mevagissey Bay, the gorgeous oak-panelled Nutty Duck is a delightful setting for head chef Nigel Bacon’s two-AA rosette dishes.
Everything is served in an informal and relaxed atmosphere so even walkers exploring the South West Coast Path – which runs past the bottom of the garden – swing by to tuck in to a lunchtime feast based around the local catch, antipasti and light bites.
An abundance of sustainable, traceable and local produce is the foundation for Nigel’s playful, but ultimately simple, cooking style. The chef, who has resided in the Duchy for the past 20 years, enjoys riffing on the classics with twists inspired by his global travels. Expect beautifully prepared, unfussy à la carte dishes like duck breast with roasted vegetables, dukkah and apricot chutney.
The Sardine Factory, Looe
Chef Ben Palmer opened the harbourside restaurant in 2018, returning to his hometown to launch his third venue (he’s also chef patron of Plymouth’s The Greedy Goose and exec chef at Glazebrook House in South Brent). While his other restaurants are more formal affairs, The Sardine Factory is a pleasingly casual setting in which Ben makes the most of the local seafood market’s daily catch to craft his delicious coastal cuisine.
Start with a pre-dinner cocktail and nibbles, such as pickled cockles and smoked cod’s roe, and soak up the cheerful holiday atmosphere. Dine by the windows and watch fishing boats bob on the water while you graze on a medley of small bowls and larger plates such as smoked haddock scotch egg, and Cornish crab linguine with lime, chilli, garlic and ginger.
The Shore Restaurant, Penzance
Captaining Michelin-starred kitchens for some of the UK’s top chefs (Gary Rhodes, Martin Wishart and Rick Stein included), Bruce Rennie had already developed a stellar pedigree by the time he opened The Shore in 2015.
Dining is a little different at this Penzance restaurant – and utterly charming for it. A creative seafood and vegetable tasting menu of numerous small dishes is a celebration of where land meets sea, and is crafted from scratch each morning by Bruce in his one-man kitchen.
Despite the exquisite cooking, there’s little pomp or ceremony here. Instead, impeccable service, cuisine crafted with consummate skill and pleasingly pared-back surroundings are the order of the day.
The Rising Sun, Truro
This lovely dining pub in Truro is a real find for indulgent food, a cosy atmosphere, great beers and wines, and barrels of bonhomie.
Chef patron Tom and partner Katie (who runs everything backstage, from drinks list curation to event planning) combine their love of food culture and characterful wines and spirits with a passion for excellent Cornish produce at this charming edge-of-the-city find.
Tom’s creative, ever-evolving menus take the best of nearby land and sea, crafting crowd-pleasing dishes from the likes of Cornish scallops, local pheasant breast and just-landed fish. And if the weather’s good you may get a spot in the bijou courtyard garden.