Throughout this crisp December, we have been detecting a serial love of the Cornish winter emanating from everyone at the Restaurant. From the crashing surf of Polzeath and the frosty exposed trees of Porthilly Farm, to the depth of the produce coming from the estuary and the vegetable garden in Rock, it is hard to deny that it is a lovely part of the country to experience the chilly season in.
This festive feeling has led to behaviour such as the immediate urge to curl up on a snug St. Enodoc sofa in front of the fire with a chestnut grappa and the formation of a misty glaze over the eyes with a dreamy expression when the words ‘a refreshingly peaceful cliff top stroll’ are mentioned. Both of which can be troublesome impulsions for the staff in the hub of a busy evening!
Meanwhile, from our cosy kitchen and restaurant we have the dedicated and hardy fishermen in our thoughts, for which this time of year is perhaps not their favourite as they valiantly battle on through the choppy Celtic sea to bring us beautiful mackerel, crab, prawns, clams, mussels, oysters, bream and brill for our current tasting menu.
These fish from the Cornish waters are gorgeous at the moment, looking fresh, bright and happy (well, happy that they are at least in Nathan’s experienced hands!) In particular, our latest fourth course is producing beaming faces as it glides over the taste buds. This is a striking assembly of brill with a toasted covering of pine nuts and hazelnuts, succulent marinated beetroot, hogs pudding and mushroom ketchup; an epitome of winter with the bold flavours seamlessly flowing into one other with each mouthful.
From our pastry section, we are sporting a finale of freshly baked almond sponge, the aroma of which literally makes us weak at the knees when it ambushes us from the oven midway through service, with Nathan’s moreish sugared pistachios and pear-ginger sorbet. This latter element I feel it is perfectly acceptable to eat by itself. With a ladle. For breakfast.
So as you may sense, we are indeed in high spirits here, undeterred by the blanket of the winter chill settling over the estuary and benefiting, as ever, from the beautiful seasonal offerings of the Cornish landscape.