Saturday, 20 February 2016

Penzance: Cornwall's new gourmet capital.

Penzance with its Art Deco Jubille Pool looks towards St Michael's Mount.

Lifestyle writer Andy Lynes writes in the Independent:

For the past 20 years, I’ve been organising holidays in Cornwall based on where the best restaurants are located. Back in the Nineties, Rick Stein’s emerging dining empire took me to Padstow; I then migrated to Fowey and nearby Polruan on the south coast when chef Nathan Outlaw had his signature restaurant there (now relocated to Port Isaac), and headed for Watergate Bay when Jamie Oliver opened Fifteen, arguably his best venue. Now Penzance has been put firmly on my gastronomic holiday map by the recent opening of The Shore.

The Shore, in the heart of Penzance

Chef and owner Bruce Rennie used to work for Rick Stein at his restaurant in Porthleven, and he’s now serving some of the best seafood in the country at his elegant 28-seater town-centre restaurant. Dishes such as John Dory with Indian spiced chickpeas are cooked with to-the-second precision and have the instantly recognisably clean, bright flavour of fish fresh from the sea – not surprising, given that Newlyn Fish Market is one mile from the restaurant’s front door. Working single-handedly, Rennie produces everything from stunning desserts such as blackberry semifreddo with pistachio sponge to superb mini-sourdough loaves himself.

 The Shore's Bread daily baked uses a seven year old sourdough starter for extra flavour.
“There are a lot of eateries in Penzance but there was scope for a restaurant of this style, something a little bit finer but affordable and not too stuffy,” says Scottish-born Rennie, who has lived in Cornwall for seven years and moved to Penzance to open The Shore last summer.

Food for fans of finest fish from nearby Newlyn.

“We’ve got a few good places now, such as The Mexico Inn in Longrock, which has been taken over by Tom Symons, one of my old sous-chefs, and The Coldstreamer in Gulval that’s now run by a former Porthminster Beach Cafe chef. It could be the start of something really interesting.”

Ben Tunnicliffe at the Tolcarne.

Another chef with his eye on the town’s restaurant scene is Ben Tunnicliffe of the highly rated Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn, on the southern outskirts of Penzance. “I love Penzance, it’s a fabulous town with so much potential and at the moment it’s on an upward curve,” he says. “I’m considering opening something in the town centre.”

"The only menu in the 300-year-old, white-washed pub is the one chalked up on the board above the bar"
Until that happens, it’s worth taking the 20-minute stroll along Penzance’s promenade (the only one in Cornwall) to Newlyn Harbour to dine at the Tolcarne Inn. The only menu in the 300-year-old, white-washed pub is the one chalked up on the board above the bar, and it changes daily depending on what’s available from the market. My autumnal, rustic seafood feast included scallops with black pudding and an onion and orange marmalade followed by pan-fried fillets of “jumbo” plaice with mash, roasted parsnips and hazelnuts.

Read the full article in the Independent's lifestyle section here: