Pig Out In Cornwall

At the end of last summer, my family and I went to Cornwall and it is only now that I have done a review…very late I know. Yes, the weather was diabolical as ever, however my family, like us Brits in general, battled on through nevertheless, standing in the biting wind on the beach because we must because it’s summer. We stayed in a lovely cottage in Mevagissey, which, it has to be said, I didn’t like all that much. It was a nice Cornish seaside village I suppose you would call it, but it didn’t really have that much charm or, more importantly, anywhere fantastic to eat. I say this, because I am comparing it to neighboring places such as Fowey (Dawn French) and St. Mawes, which are idyllic seaside towns full of bustling cafes and cute shops. We regularly drove to these two destinations to have a wander and a bite to eat and so in this post I am going to review a couple of the cafes and restaurants we visited.

Firstly, The Dwelling House in Fowey, which was like stepping into an Alice-in-Wonderland style house and getting given cake! It was magical; even the toilet, a picture of which I have included below, was situated inside an old fashioned bedroom and was so authentic that I had to stop and crane my neck in numerous directions to check that I hadn’t accidentally stumbled into somebody’s bedroom! There was a tea-room specifically for owners with dogs, which was a real bonus for us with Fred and Bertha (Irish Terrier and Pug puppy) and I loved the feel of the place as we stumbled in from, no exaggeration, the pouring rain into what felt like my grandmother’s front room. The cake menu was lengthy – bonus! – and there was a wealth of choice from classic afternoon tea to lemon drizzle cake to cupcakes to sticky toffee pudding which is what I had. It was yummy. It’s a fantastic place to while away a rainy afternoon, and even a great, if a little small, place to people watch such as the sweetest family of parents with two young boys who settled down to hot chocolate as one of the little boys turned to his mum and said:

“Mummy, you do realise we love Daddy toooo”

It was said with such conviction from this little boy with floppy blonde hair that we were all cooing in no time!

Sticky toffee pudding

The photographs directly above and below are of the toilet!

The next place up for review is a restaurant: the renowned Tresanton in St. Mawes. The day we’d booked a table was for Thursday – luckily, the only day of warm sunshine, and it was lucky because the best tables in the house are the ones on the terrace, that look out over the bay. The sun was beating down and the ocean water wasn’t the murky, grim stuff we seem to get in Sussex, it was clear and turquoise and I felt like I was in St Tropez or at a stretch, the Caribbean. It was glorious. Unfortunately, what put a dampener on proceedings from the get-go, was that at 1.30 the black and decker began drilling. It was so loud we couldn’t hear ourselves think let alone attempt to engage in civilised conversation. Thankfully, it didn’t last long, although the fact that they’d even started doing it a peak time on the best day of the week was somewhat baffling.

Anyway, after that initial hiccup, we got stuck into a fabulous meal. I’ve posted photographs of each of my courses – a grilled pear, goats cheese, chicory and walnut salad to start, mushroom risotto for main, and the shortbread, strawberries and Cornish clotted cream to finish. Yummmmmmmmy! I also had a lovely mocktail called ‘Passionate’. The length of time between each meal was just right, so that you didn’t feel like you were going to explode (as I often do), nor were you starved and frustrated due to waiting so long for the next exciting dish. The lady, who was seemingly the restaurant manager, was a lovely Italian who looked after us graciously. Everything was going swimmingly, until the end of the meal when my Dad queried something on the bill. The waitress, who was disconcertingly wearing sunglasses, stood there and argued, saying that she could “add up” and referred to my sister as “she” numerous times, not smiling and not offering, as she should have done, to go and discuss the issue with other members of staff. I was actually getting quite hysterical, trying to stifle my laughs with the napkin. I simply couldn’t believe that the waitress was being so rude and my Dad, sweet as ever, wasn’t reacting and was looking quite baffled that the girl was being so surly. I was laughing because at my own place of work – somewhere that hasn’t (yet!) got the reputation – or prices – of the Tresanton, I have in the past received the most petty of complaints from pedantic customers when I have been nothing but smily, apologetic and diplomatic. And to see a waitress talking back to my father at a restaurant run by Olga Polizzi, mother of Alex Polizzi, who stars in the Channel 5 programme Hotel Inspector, was a little ironic.

All in all, despite the awful service at the end of the meal – apparently this is not unusual in Cornwall, because the staff are not trained properly for whatever reason – the food I ate was exquisite and you couldn’t beat the location. I think I would return, yes, fingers crossed more gracious staff were working. Minus the sunglasses.

Shortbread, strawberries, clotted cream and ice cream

Grilled pear, chicory and walnut salad

The stunning views from the Tresanton balcony

Dad and I