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Vines - dinner 2009

Longer drive from Fowey than expected - about 40 min. also a bit worrying as seems to be tucked away behind a trailer park - but dining room pleasant enough although had horrible loud muzak playing (acoustic guitar rendition of stairway to heaven playing - yoiks)

anyway - starters of: scallops, double cooked souffle & foie gras

foie is very good although the accompanying bread is pretty miserable portion wise

scallops - came with grapes cooked in muscat - intersting - but v disappointed only get two scallops – complete rip off at £8.50

souffle was another thing altogether - small timbal of souffle in the middle of a moat of cheese suace - sort of a piss-coloured homage to st micheal mount. what where they thinking? this was truly terrible - disgusting cloying cheesy mess - yuck

mains - monkfish, fish medley & hake

monkfish was described as char grilled - what was delivered was char-fucked - sent it back.

fish medley sounded great - lots of different which fish with filo and some white-ish sauce. well - portion so small i've no idea how they managed to get more than one tiny piece of fish in the filo basket let alone a "medley" - quite preposterous & fish completely indistinguishable

hake & pork belly - rather than staring in its own dish the poor hake was relegated to bottom of the plate & covered with tomatoes, olives, capers and whatnot. The pork belly was completely lifeless - it looked as though it had been revived from a previous service in the deep fat fryer although the MD assured me that nothing is deep fried. so - they've found another way to crucify it then... pitiful

still no monkfish

veg arrived to the table - a thing (v large spoon?) with crushed potatoes on it. i yanked that waiter over - is that really for three?

sigh, ok - will bring more when the monkfish arrives

she needn't have bothered - it was really really - disgusting - sort of lumpy/vomit-like mass and not in a good way.

still no monkfish

everyone else is finished and the wine is almost gone. time to throw the towel in.

please cancel the fish - kind of lost my appetite

very sorry - everything else ok

well no - not really - tore into the MD about how appalling the food was - esp. the pork belly

sorry - i'm not the chef

no but you are french and surely your french sensibilities should have told that mistakes like this don't leave the kitchen

he sulks off fetching the bill

monkfish eventually arrives as we are leaving

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(ps - shock horror - Eden Project is pants! - really disappointed - more so at 16 each to get in, gulp.  But Lost Gardens of Heligan sublime - go there twice instead)

Totally agree, Eden Project was a huge disappointment but we spent hours at Heligan and loved every minute.

Lapin

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Vines - dinner 2009

Longer drive from Fowey than expected  - about 40 min.  also a bit worrying as seems to be tucked away behind a trailer park - but dining room pleasant enough although had horrible loud muzak playing (acoustic guitar rendition of stairway to heaven playing - yoiks)

anyway - starters of: scallops, double cooked souffle & foie gras

foie is very good although the accompanying bread is pretty miserable portion wise

scallops - came with grapes cooked in muscat - intersting - but v disappointed only get two scallops – complete rip off at £8.50

souffle was another thing altogether - small timbal of souffle in the middle of a moat of cheese suace - sort of a piss-coloured homage to st micheal mount. what where they thinking?  this was truly terrible - disgusting cloying cheesy mess - yuck

mains - monkfish, fish medley & hake

monkfish was described as char grilled - what was delivered was char-fucked - sent it back. 

fish medley sounded great - lots of different which fish with filo and some white-ish sauce.  well - portion so small i've no idea how they managed to get more than one tiny piece of fish in the filo basket let alone a "medley" - quite preposterous & fish completely indistinguishable

hake & pork belly - rather than staring in its own dish the poor hake was relegated to bottom of the plate & covered with tomatoes, olives, capers and whatnot.  The pork belly was completely lifeless - it looked as though it had been revived from a previous service in the deep fat fryer although the MD assured  me that nothing is deep fried.  so - they've found another way to crucify it then...   pitiful

still no monkfish

veg arrived to the table - a thing (v large spoon?) with crushed potatoes on it.  i yanked that waiter over - is that really for three? 

sigh, ok - will bring more when the monkfish arrives

she needn't have bothered - it was really really - disgusting - sort of lumpy/vomit-like mass and not in a good way. 

still no monkfish

everyone else is finished and the wine is almost gone.  time to throw the towel in.

please cancel the fish - kind of lost my appetite

very sorry - everything else ok

well no - not really - tore into the MD about how appalling the food was - esp. the pork belly

sorry - i'm not the chef

no but you are french and surely your french sensibilities should have told that mistakes like this don't leave the kitchen

he sulks off fetching the bill

monkfish eventually arrives as we are leaving

Tony, if you are still in Fowey try the following:

The Other Place - head upstairs from the fish bar to quite a good (cheap) restaurant

The Rashleigh Inn at Polkarris - it is almost on the beach with a little beer deck. The fish and chips was really fresh and well cooked, and the crab sanwiches great. A few pints of Otter washed it down very well.

Edited by PhilD (log)
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  • 1 month later...

As we're down in Cornwall now, we have just been to Viners. I had been interested by the roadside signs advertising "2 courses for £13.95, 3 courses for £18.95." IME you can get more interesting food when the chef has to use the cheaper ingredients so I was looking forward to seeing what was on offer. However when we weren't given the set menu, I was told that it isn't available on a Saturday. Admittedly I didn't check when I booked, but there was no mention of this on the signs, nor was it brought up when I booked.

The menu wasn't that exciting - there is a pre-printed menu with the meat dishes on it, and things like the foie gras and twice cooked soufflé mentioned above, plus a sheet of photocopying paper showing the daily specials.

Nothing on the main menu really appealed to any of us, though Mr PSB, wanting no meat or fish eventually plumped for the vegetable risotto (£13.95). That was a very small portion, and had an over bearing taste of something not particularly nice so the vegetables themselves didn’t shine. It was also a bit overcooked. My turbot with grapes (£18.95) from the daily menu was delicious – perfectly cooked, and in a very simple butter sauce. Mini-PSB had to go for the steak burger from the children’s menu as nothing else appealed to him. Chips were promised with this but none appeared with the food. When they arrived after 10 minutes (a long time when you’re 10) they were also delicious – perfectly cooked (so they do have a deep fat fryer despite the comment above!). The only pudding that I fancied was the strawberry sundae from the children’s menu – which was OK (July strawberries and decent vanilla ice cream). Mr and mini-PSB shared a chocolate brownie with raspberry ripple ice cream which was fine.

Overall, I would say it’s poor value. The service was good, and friendly, and some of the food was very good, but it was let down by the other things – in addition to the economy over the truth of the set menu. For example, we had the ‘marinated olives’ – they were fridge cold, and the only thing they had been marinated in was the brine in the tin – no oil herbs or anything. They were good olives but far too cold, and of course were not as ‘advertised’. The bread was served too hot, and was rather pappy and cakey – like those packs of mixed rolls from M&S. My word the main course portions were tightly controlled – the risotto would have been servied as the pasta dish in Italy, and my turbot was a very small bit though they tried to plump it out - by serving on a bed of the same vegetables that came by the side. The puddings were enormous OTOH, but expensive at £7.50. Given the excellent quality and cheapness of ingredients that I have been buying since we’ve been down here, I am surprised that it’s as expensive as it is. It was definitely better last year - I mentioned that we'd been last year, and the waiter said 'oh we've had a new managr since then, the old one left to set up his own restaurant'. Doesn't sound like it's actually run by the chef, and actually it shows...

Talking of ingredients, I do recommend anyone who’s self-catering, and wants to avoid the supermarkets, to go to Kingsley Village food hall, just off the A30 at Indian Queens. It’s an awful name, and I avoided it for ages, but actually it’s like a really good old fashioned grocers – it even sells Epicure brand products, although most of what it sells is produced in Cornwall – the jams, biscuits and so on. There’s an excellent butchers, with 21 day hung local beef, a very good fishmonger which sells live crabs and lobsters, and turbot(!) and if you arrive early enough at the bakery you can buy Vicky’s organic bread which is sour dough and gloriously chewy. The rest of the bread is supermarket quality. Some of the fruit and vegetables can be a little tired as unlike supermarkets it’s not all kept in fridges, but there’s enough variety for this not to be a major problem, and when the produce is fresh, it’s excellent.

Edited by PoppySeedBagel (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I should add, to be fair, that Viners prix fixé menu being only Tues to Fri was actually written on the sign, but in such small writing that I really had to look hard, and squint to see it as we drove by. In future I'll remember to stop, and trudge over the verge, to check on such offers. I doubt I'll be going back to Viners though - unless it changes again.

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  • 8 months later...

Just been to Cornwall - a full week of glorious sunshine! Did not get a chance to eat at Viners (fortunate?). However, went to the Cornish Range in Mousehole as it popped up as a charming restaurant on ViaMichelin and happenned to be enroute to where we were headed. I would definitely reccomend a diversion as there is a lot to commend it - and one to watch out for.

We went for an early dinner - £17.50 for two courses between 5.30 and 7. Having a sweet tooth, me and my daughter opted for a main and dessert, while the wife opted for starer and main. She ordered "Mussels steamed in white wine with saffron & cream" - and got a massive plate of mussels! Really plump mussels with a nice sauce that required us to help her finish up. I ordered the special "Monkfish tail, Red Mullet, Grey mullet and sauteed mussels" - very close to the best fish I have ever eaten in my life. Beautifully cooked. Slightly underseasoned unfortunately. Wife had "Medley of Cornish fish with lemon, crayfish & caper butter, braised fennel & steamed potatoes" which was delicious as well. The fennel worked really well with the fish though the caper butter could have done with a more caper-ish feel. My daughter went for "Char grilled rib-eye steak with fresh herb butter, rocket salad and new potatoes or fries" which seemed to have been tenderised with a meat hammer. Strange. But tased OK as per by daughter.

Now for the thing to watch out for. Avoid dessert. After a very good meal (on the whole), the desserts ("Brandy snap basket with cassis roasted plums & strawberry sorbet" + "Trio of Creme Caramel, Creme Brulle and Chocolate mousse") were diabolical. The brandy snap basket had absolutely no crunch and was chewy and hard to eat. The plums were unripe when they were subjected to the cassis, and the sorbet was too sweet. Bad. The Trio was clearly frozen some time in the past and had only barely thawed.

The restaurant itself is very charming and unpretentious with a very affordable wine list. Service is friendly and unassuming. The fish is oustanding and the portions are very generous. Do give it a try, but avoid the dessert.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm heading down to Cornwall next month doing the obligatory between Rock and Padstein. Does anyone have any updated recommendations beyond the obvious, usual suspects? I'm looking to fill in a few gaps in the dining schedule.

A few immediate questions, I keep seeing l'estuaire popping up on various sites though their own appears to be down, is it still going? Also, is the St. Kew Inn now run by the ex-head chef of The Seafood Restaurant? I think I read somewhere that this is now the case.

Edited by marcusjames (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Just bumping this as am there shortly a week in the North then South of the County.

Got the requisite restaurants booked.

But anyone got recommendations for other food related activities, finest fishmongers, cheese merchants etc?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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I can recommend Life's a Beach in Bude. Light lunches or a nice evening meal

http://lifesabeach.info/

However, the ultimate foodie experience in Cornwall (IMHO) has to be a sea fishing trip. Two hour trip is perfect for catching mackerel.

http://www.biteadventures.com/Trips.htm

http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

Latest blog post - Oh my - someone needs a spell checker

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DId you have a remarkable Fruits de Mer anywhere?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Thanks for that.

Anyone slurped the anointed grape from here...?

http://www.camelvalley.com

Yep, It's not cheap, but they seem to supply all the restaurants around the Camel Valley direct so in an ironic sort of way, if eating out, is worth ordering as seems to work out the same as you see it on local off-license shelves for, ie around £25. Both the standard Brut and Rose are sensational. Fair to say I've tried all the British sparklers now and they're undoubtedly my favourite.

Had a lovely time around there last year. Ainsworth was very good, but Nathan Outlaw, both in the Grill and fine dining proper was sheer class. Funnily enough the things that linger in the memory are the triple cooked chips which, having been to Dinner at the Mandarin since, out Hestoned Heston. That being said a mackerel dish in the posh gaff just beggered belief.

Must also make a notable mention for a little place called The Harbour in Port Isaac. Small but very beautiful 20 cover restaurant right on the platt that's run by a passionate husband and wife team. Well sourced, uncomplicated yet well executed cooking and, overall, the most fantastic experience. I'm surprised it hasn't cropped up on here before.

Total un-notable mention for The Seafood Restaurant. Cramped tables, less than average food... actually, scrap that, it was shite... and a whopping bill at the end of it all. Still, it's nearly 100 covers now, and they turn tables, so I really shoudn't have expected any better.

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Thanks Marcus, am staying in Port Isaac and The Harbour is planned.

Forgoing Steinage, doing Ainsworth & Outlaw.

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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Don't forego everything Stein related, his fish and chips are a must in my opinion, good quality fish, beautiful thin batter and all cooked fresh. Travelled there from Fowey twice last week for them and the coffee at Bin Two (they use Monmouth coffee). Worth trying a battered Oyster at Steins, lovely thin batter, barely cooked oyster, fantastic.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Make sure you go to Paul Ainsworth's Rojanos and No6 in Padstow and you will get a superb flat white and shortbread at Relish in Wadebridge and they have a good deli next door.

Had lunch today at the Seafood & Grill, Rock. The Haddock Scampi starter was amazing.

If you are near St Ives I have had 2 good meals at Alba. Also had a good meal at Driftwood Hotel, Port Scatho.

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dare I say the word pasty....

is there a "best" anywhere?

“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

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