Monday, 4 July 2011

Northern Food on tour: Newquay, Cornwall

Here's a round-up of what I ate in Newquay over the last few days. Nothing spectacular but a few good places that might be worth a visit if you're in the area. 

Pendeen Hotel

First up an honourable mention for the Pendeen Hotel. I stayed here for the first couple of nights before switching to the Premier Inn when my mates arrived for the weekend. The Pendeen is a traditional British seaside hotel with the look of somewhere last refurbished in the late 70's. I feel a bit sorry for places like this, as they tend to get tarred with the Fawlty Towers brush, sometimes a bit unfairly.

The rooms are basic and a bit tatty, but more importantly clean. The welcome is warm, the breakfast perfectly serviceable and the view out over Porth bay gorgeous. £25 per night for a single en-suite room including the full English (or Cornish as they have it). 6/10 for the brekkie.

7 Alexandra Road

Merrymoor Inn, Mawgan Porth

A Thursday morning hike up the coastal path brought me to Mawgan Porth, a beautiful little village and bay about six miles up the coast from Newquay. The Merrymoor Inn was advertising fresh Cornish crab sandwiches (£6.95), a perfect plan for lunch by the sea.

With a pint of local ale from St Austell brewery this was a lovely al fresco lunch. The sandwich was well stuffed with sweet, fresh crabmeat although the bread wasn't very fresh. The salad was undressed and not really up to much.

I think it was more the weather, timing and location that made it so enjoyable, and the food going out to other tables looked poor. Worth it for a pint and a crab sarnie on a sunny day, probably wouldn't bother otherwise.


Merrymoor Inn
Mawgan Porth
nr. Newquay

Café Coast

Situated looking out over another stunning beach (Porth in Newquay rather than Mawgan Porth up the coast), this places gets a mention for the wonderful view, and for serving up a nice brew and a slice of very buttery shortbread. £2.20 for the pair.


Beach Road

Fistral Chef

Friday lunch after another coastal hike, this time finishing up on famed surfers paradise, Fistral beach. Fistral is also a bit of a looker, although by no means the most spectacular beach in the area. I chanced upon Fistral Chef on one of the main roads that head to the beach from the town centre.

A very berry smoothie (£2.90) was pleasant enough, nothing remarkable.

A cheeseburger was bloody great. A whopping great big freshly made beef patty with a nice charred crust (well done, would have preferred medium but it was still succulent), plasticky cheese slices, grilled onions, lettuce, rocket, tomato, mayo. Spot on with the fillings with the exception of the rocket which wasn't really necessary. The bun was good too, managing to hold up to the multitude of fillings without falling to bits.

£5.95 for the burger. Not cheap but huge and good quality. Fries not needed.


2 Beacon Road

Indian Dining Club

On Friday night, the obligatory curry. The Indian Dining Club was a recommendation from a policeman, or maybe it was a bouncer, I can't quite remember. It's a large restaurant in the modern glammed up Indian restaurant style, and they had no problem accommodating about thirteen of us at short notice. Somethings were good (naan, okra), the rest adequate. It will do the job, especially after a few beers.

RP looks on pensively as poppadums sweep into view. Will there be lime pickle? he ponders. Or perhaps tamarind chutney.

In truth I can't remember what pickles there were. Perhaps RP will know. I'm not phoning him to check.  Unmemorable obviously.

Something else unmemorable with lamb in it. Again I can't quite remember what. Pleasant enough scooped in the naan which was very good.

An okra side dish was a cut above the norm. Dry fried and retaining bite, not in the least slimy.

High on spice (and lager), LM is fortified for the evenings festivities and raring to go.

A quick note on the festivities while I'm on the subject. Newquay is a fantastic place for a British seaside holiday, blessed as it is with some of the finest coastline in the land. Do not go in expectation of classy nightlife though. There are many hostelries, many of which are enormous, sell only low quality mass market booze, smell vaguely of vomit, play the most tedious of cheesy chart dance music, and are rammed full of mullered teenagers in fancy dress. Perhaps there are some nicer establishments hidden in the back streets, if there are we didn't find them. You have been warned.


8-9 Station Parade

And almost finally.... what of cornish pasties? Had a couple, they were ok. Far better than Greggs anyway.

And finally... if you've never been to Cornwall, go. It's great.

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