By the time you read this, ironically I’ll have been back to beautiful Cornwall on my second trip of the summer, which just goes to show what a backlog there’s been. I figure better late than never, though, so expect a little flurry of lovely coastal posts complete with fabulous views and even more fabulous food.
A few weeks ago (well, maybe more than a few), Mr M and I took ourselves off on one of our annual jaunts to Cornwall. There’s nothing we like more than packing our lives up in the car, tootling down the M5 for HOURS (okay, so maybe we don’t like that bit) and pitching up somewhere close to the sea for a few days of rubbish mobile signal, amazing food, and long coastal walks.
For this particular trip, we headed to the Roseland Peninsula in Cornwall – somewhere slightly off our normal beaten track but a place I was guaranteed to find stunning scenery, a complete break from everything, and a thriving foodie scene to rival plenty of other places.
I’ve got more to tell you about this, and a lovely little post on the Roseland in general coming up in case you want a trip yourselves, but I couldn’t help but share a dedicated post on a little ‘find’ we stumbled across on one of our epic walks. Since we are ‘campers’ and rarely pay more than £20 a night to pitch our tent (leaving the pennies to spend on food and fun), I don’t often look at hotels. So as we marched along the coast path from Portscatho to Nare Head, seeing The Nare Hotel marked on the map didn’t mean a great deal to me.
My ignorance, as we decided to stop for lunch, led to once of those moments where you walk into somewhere and really wish you’d done your reading. It turns out The Nare is one of Cornwall’s top luxury hotels. Sat pretty much on the sand at Carne Beach, it’s one of those places you vow to return to for a special occasion. From the gorgeous views and swimming pools but outside and inside, to its fabulous terrace where you can sit and watch the breathtaking scenery, you can see why it’s got itself a pretty fab reputation.
Of course, tramping into a gorgeous hotel with all the bells and whistles wearing your walking clobbers and gagging for a pint of cider is not the way you imagine you want to enter such a salubrious establishment. But a big thumbs up to the staff at The Nare, even in its more formal Dining Room, who didn’t really bat an eyelid at the contrast between us and most of the other guests enjoying a formal sitdown lunch. Instead of chucking us a disdainful or pitying glance, they cheerfully and helpfully pointed us in the direction of the terrace.
Part of the slightly less formal Quarterdeck restaurant, don’t be fooled into thinking the food will be any less perfect than that of its more formal sibling restaurant. Not only are the views amazing, but the a la carte menu on offer left us wishing we’d booked for dinner.
If it’s local seafood and fish you’re after, this is a good place to start. Cornish mackerel, Portloe crab and lobster, Fowey mussels, fish in Doom Bar batter, whitebait, crayfish and brown shrimps all appear on the menu in a variety of guises, from salads, sandwiches and light bites like omelettes and grilled crevettes, right up to a seafood platter or fruits de mer ‘boat’. Spoilt for choice!
At £16-20 for a main course, and around £10ish for a starter or snack, it’s not cheap, but we were fairly confident once we saw some others come out that the price would be worth it.
As tempted as we were by a huge platter of shellfish, we had a big old treat planned that same night in another Roseland foodie hotspot (yes, there’s a blog coming on that one too), so decided to go for a little simple lunchtime treat.
After much deliberation, I went for the Portloe crab salad. Handpicked white crabmeat, with pink grapefruit, avocado and crab mayonnaise. It was a beautiful plate of food, delicate and light and just what you expect to be munching on while your eyes are feasting on the sight of white horses crashing on to the beach and your skin is tingling with the fresh sea air.
The white meat was delicate and fresh, while the crab mayonnaise was creamy and rich. The avocado gave a contrast of colour, with just a bit more creaminess, while grapefruit was exactly the right citrus contrast to make each mouthful taste like that glorious first taste of a lovely meal. A bit of rocket was a nice extra peppery-ness, and the melba toast-type bread was the perfect crunchy contrast and a great vehicle for carrying the crab to my mouth.
Mr M went for the classic deep-fried whitebait with bloomer bread and tartar sauce, confident that it would be infinitely better than your average pub grub starter. The fish were large and fresh and were in the lightest of layers of crispy golden breadcrumbs. His thick slabs of bloomer bread were already coated with a generous spread of real butter, you know the salty rich kind? And the tartare sauce – well, as you’re already imagining, it was exactly how it should be. Creamy with the tang of capers and just right to go with the crispy light fish
Clearly I can’t come to the end of this post without pointing out to anyone who may have missed it how blimin lovely the crockery and general presentation is at The Quarterdeck. The blue and white crockery just sang ‘seaside’ and was just the right balance of refined and casual that I think The Nare are aiming for with the Quarterdeck.
Our lunches were small and delicate but the gorgeous setting and fabulous food meant we lingered far longer than necessary at The Nare, enjoying what is definitely not an exaggeration when I call it an idyllic place for lunch, or dinner for that matter. The food was great, the service even better, and the surroundings the stuff of Instagram filters and holiday brochures.
The Nare is one of those places I dream that one day Mr M and I will return to stay, either for a summer’s break or maybe a winter weekender full of roaring fires, bracing walks along the beach and fabulous food. Whatever it is, I’m gonna do it one day. But in the meantime, I would go back to this place in a heartbeat for a meal. So if you’re nearby and looking for a bite to eat in gorgeous surroundings, do not miss out on this place. I very much doubt you’ll be disappointed!
We paid in full for our lunch at The Quarterdeck. They didn’t know I was a blogger.
If you don’t believe me, check out what Liberty London Girl thought of The Nare.
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