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The Seafood Bar – Falmouth

August 27, 2015 No Comments

From the outside, The Seafood Bar is very obviously a seaside restaurant. Less than 50 metres from the seafront, down a side street, there’s the white and blue façade, the thick square windows, there’s a pine door that you have to hunker down to enter, then there’s the array of blackboards with specials and desserts trying to coax in passers-by. It’s also something of an anachronism on the streets of Falmouth. It’s in a part of town heaving with fashionable restaurants, reclaimed wooden signs and battleship grey exteriors as well as gourmet burger joints and burrito bars.

The Seafood bar doesn’t go in for any of that though. It’s refreshing:  a family restaurant run by Kerry up front and her son, Ben, in the kitchen. The atmosphere is laid back, friendly and unpretentious. Kerry is warm and interested, as is the other waitress. There’s no candle on our table, but when this is noticed it’s rectified with a giggle, ‘where’s the romance on this table?’

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The two rooms which make up the restaurant are cosy and being six foot I have to squeeze into position. Glass floats in nets and other fishing paraphernalia decorate the walls. It doesn’t appear to have been changed since it opened – and neither should it.

Unpretentious is a word that also rightfully describes the food. This is a seafood lover’s restaurant: crab is served whole, prawns come with the shells on and main courses are usually served with their tails. It’s the sort of menu that lives and dies by the quality of its ingredients. And the fish is fresh. If it’s not landed that day, then it doesn’t go on the menu. Pollack is replaced with hake and the scallops are off when we visit – they didn’t come in this morning.

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We start with a potted crab and moules mariniere. There’s a sweet hint of fennel to the crab and well, you can’t go wrong with steamed mussels. There’s a homespun playfulness to the presentation too – little beetroot hearts adorn the plate. The main courses are a picture of home cooked comfort, make me wonder if this is how fishermen ate a hundred years ago. The fish pie is a huge bowl of creamy potato, salmon, cod, prawns and is topped with a thick layer of crispy cheese. It’s a beautiful bowl of comfort food.

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We couple this with a whole megrim soul in lemon butter. The fish flakes from the bone, but it takes me a while to remember where they are in sole and I end up picking a few out during the first few mouthfuls – whoops.

On the table behind us – I really have to crane my neck to see – they’re having the seafood platter, which is a huge sharing plate of crab, mussels, oysters and sweet king prawns accompanied by loads of bread for £48. For shellfish lovers it’s a dream.

So is The Seafood Bar a grand gastronomic experience? Of course not. It’s not got grand designs on that level. It’s seafood, brought from the nets to the plate with the minimal of middlemen.

The Wheelhouse

August 21, 2015 No Comments

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Right in the middle of Falmouth’s town centre there is an alleyway that leads through an archway and down to the water. The alley has a name – Upton Slip – and at the end of the slip, staring up at you with piercing eyes is a ship’s figurehead. Amy of the Amazon she’s called and she stands six feet tall. Next to this giant figurehead there’s a terracotta coloured building with a bright blue doorway. Within lies Falmouth’s worst kept secret: The Wheelhouse.

When The Wheelhouse first opened, word of mouth spread like juicy gossip or a perfectly executed social media campaign and within weeks of opening they were fully booked up to a month ahead. They weren’t even trying – in fact they were doing their best to remain hidden. Fat chance. It’s even in The Guardian’s top ten budget eats in Cornwall.

Eating at The Wheelhouse is like eating in someone’s farmhouse kitchen – there are large wooden tables supplemented with old sewing tables and whatever else they could get their hands on. There are candles stuffed into wine bottles and a pile of mismatched plates piled in the middle of the table. The staff are friendly, as if they are welcoming you into their home, but none of this feels forced or contrived. If there’s two of you, or fifteen the treatment is the same.

The menu is skeletal – or should I say a shell of a menu – and is perfect for it. Unless you hate seafood that is. But balls to you, if you don’t. I think I can list the whole menu from memory, so here goes: crab – brown, spider or velvet; shell on prawns with garlic, ginger and chili; mussels in a white wine sauce; mussels in a red Thai sauce, oysters and scallops. Then there are the sides: salad and chips. Done, that’s the lot. It’s all on a blackboard above the counter. The crab are numbered and this number is replaced every time one is ordered, 9, then 8, then 7… The scallops are especially good. They come served in shells and with a sweet and tangy sauce that I’ve not been able to replicate.

It’s a place for sharing and getting your hands dirty. It’s a place for tearing, cracking and snapping and brushing elbows with each other. In other words, it’s an eating experience as opposed to just another restaurant. The atmosphere is special and I’ve never heard anyone complain about the place – unless they are complaining that it doesn’t open enough.

As far Cornish Holiday Cottages are concerned, The Wheelhouse is pretty much a holiday must. So, when you’re planning your next trip to Cornwall, put a trip to The Wheelhouse right at the top of your wish list and book it right after booking with us.

 

 

 

The Hidden Hut – Feast Night

July 16, 2014 No Comments

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The Hidden Hut on the Roseland is famous for it’s feast nights. Locally sourced food cooked in the open air by the beach, what is not to like?

I (Becca) managed to get some tickets for the Seafood Bouillabaisse event on Sunday. We got there for 7pm, at the published start time, but it was clear that people had been camping out for a while! We didn’t get seats at a table but set up our picnic blankets in the evening sunshine. The food smelled mouthwateringly good. It is bring your own drinks, cutlery and plates and in our case picnic blankets. If sitting on the floor is not your thing, then it is worth arriving early.

The food was delicious and I got to sample both the vegetarian and fish options. For afters they had a selection of cakes for sale, we greedily bought ours in anticipation before the main and then barely had space left to eat them! All in all, a wonderful atmosphere, fantastic food and a glorious setting.

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I would recommend one of these evenings to anyone, although I did really enjoy the lunch I had there earlier on in the year so don’t panic if you can’t get tickets for a feast night.

The Hidden Hut is around a 45 minute drive from Falmouth or Helford using the King Harry Ferry to cross to The Roseland in Feock.

For more info about the cafe or the feast nights visit The Hidden Hut website.

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Cornwall: In The Know – The Wheel House

July 4, 2014 No Comments

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So well known for its seafood they don’t even have a website!

Just local seafood, cooked simply and served with bread and fries. The Wheel House has queues of people waiting to eat there so if you’re planning a trip to Falmouth book in advance.

The Wheel House is the number 1 restaurant in Falmouth on Tripadvisor, with Olivers number 2.

Call 01326 318050 for reservations.

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