The far west of Cornwall is blessed with some fine restaurants – the challenge is finding the time (and money) to try them all.
Here’s a great place to overnight with a most special view – and an incredible little restaurant for the best meal you’re likely to have in a long while.
The stop over.
Google Maps ref: 50.128057, -5.503969
A car park may not sound like a romantic place to stop over – but few offer a view to wake to like this.
It’s a 10 minute or less walk to The Mexico Inn where there’s usually a fire lit, good cheer, and a couple of good beers available.
It’s a 20 minute walk into Penzance, and about the same into Marazion. That’s pretty special already.
From Marazion, depending on the tide, you can walk or catch a boat over to the magical St Michael’s Mount (National Trust), or continue along the coast to the sweet little village of Perranuthnoe.
If you have the energy you could also join the St Michael’s Way pilgrim route over to St Ives – but do check the buses for coming back.
Next morning there’ll be excellent coffee just a short stroll along the beach towards Marazion where Hoxton Special has a little hut hiring stand up paddle boards and selling a fine brew. In Penzance the best coffee at the moment is from a van at the top of Bread Street/bottom of Causeway Head.
The fine meal.
OK. This is the bit I really want to write about.
I’ve known about Ben’s Cornish Kitchen for some time, and now that I’ve been I wish I started going a long time ago. We’ll certainly be going back.
It’s a tiny restaurant with perhaps 40 covers over two floors on West End, the main street through Marazion.
It was a winter’s Saturday lunchtime with few people on the streets, even the beach was empty, but the restaurant was full on the ground floor.
And what a treat there was in store for us all!
Rob, the front of house man, was friendly, but left us to ourselves as we were clearly having an intense conversation. Perfect. A good person will know when they’re needed, and Rob had that balance right.
We ordered fine wine and kid goat chops to start – only my second time eating goat, and both this week. I expected something that spoke of goat. After all the milk, cheese, and the creature itself has such a distinctive smell. Instead these were wonderfully tender but only subtly flavoured.
Our mains of roasted cod was served with a pea velouté, pomme purée and I think morelles.
And they were perfect.
But it was the dessert that blew me away.
Neither of us are regulars to the sweet course, however Amanda chose a pretty wonderful something that was an interesting twist on an apple crumble with blackberry ice cream.
And I chose the best dessert I have ever tasted.
Titled burnt orange chocolate pavé, I looked at it as it was placed before me.
I cut a minuscule slice with my spoon and slipped it into my mouth as I carried on talking.
And then stopped.
I stopped Amanda talking too.
I had to concentrate on this incredible flavour explosion, and do it justice with full concentration. That’s eyes closed and everything.
Wow! It deserved slow enjoyment, and that’s exactly what it had.
Sometime later we had coffees and calvados to finish before we emerged into the cold winter air feeling like we’d been momentarily transported to some kind of food heaven.
Thank you Ben. It was very good indeed and I can’t wait to go back.
Post Prandial Stank.
Our lovely Cornish term of stank for a stretching walk doesn’t seem right after talking of such a fine meal, but that’s just what we did. Clambering over rocks, running along the beaches, and stopping regularly for photos between Marazion and the next cove Perranuthnoe.
For a hundred years or so this house enjoyed a superb sea view, although now it looks abandoned, as do the attempts at holding back the sea beneath it. Come along after the winter and perhaps it’ll be but a pile of rubble on the beach.
With the tide rising rapidly we had little choice but to keep going – it’s a good walk at any time of the year, and Perranuthnoe’s Victoria Inn is worth a stop if you get that far.
Van life isn’t just about basic meals on the stove – the van has to be a vehicle to many and varied experiences, whether at home, or far away.
Archie’s serving us well!