After a lazy morning in Ashburton with Lynn, I got back into the car and set Google Maps on my trusty iPhone to take me across to the far side of this lovely peninsula that juts out at the end of England into the Celtic Sea to the north and English Channel to the south. Its wild landscape of moors and dramatic coastline, its beautiful sandy beaches and picturesque villages, offers some of the most glorious landscape you’ll find in UK. I crossed from Devon into Cornwall across the impressive Tamar Bridge that spans the River Tamar just outside Plymouth. Nicola and Rachael were driving down from Birmingham and suggested we meet at The Cornish Arms in St Merryn, just outside Padstow and another member of the Rick Stein empire of pubs, restaurants, shops and hotels that have taken over this area. As a fan of Mr Stein I’m very happy to eat at any of his eateries. And The Cornish Arms lived up to all expectations.
The pub has been here for 90 years but Rick’s ownership is obviously recent – since 2009. Pub food has improved considerably over recent years but even though we’ve grown used to good food in gastro pubs, here you’ll find top-notch food and service. The prices while not cheap for a pub are really good value for what is more like restaurant food. And it’s dog friendly. So Willow, Nicola and Rachael’s red fox Labrador, could come too.
The pub had been extended and refurbished since Rachael came here as a child with her family – pre Rick days – and we sat for a late lunch I the barn-type area at the back overlooking fields out towards the sea. At the front of the pub, it still has the feel of a traditional Cornish pub and even has a pool table.
And just as a good pub should, they have an impressive choice of beers on offer.
Nicola and Rachael drank pints of the interesting sounding Overkill is Underrated ale, which was apparently very good, while I stuck to sparkling water as it was lunchtime and I knew there’d be more drinking to come in the evening.
Rachael went true pub lunch style with a Ploughman’s, but a very upmarket Ploughman’s with lovely local cheeses, chutneys and gorgeous sourdough bread.
Nicola and I chose a special of the day – hake on a bed of spring onion mash.
This was fabulous and the fish as good and delcious as one expects in a Rick Stein restaurant with the sea in sight and the smell of salt on the air.
We had a table booked for 9pm in the evening so we counted the hours and decided we could definitely have dessert. There were still 6 hours to go until the next meal! Rachael chose Treacle Tart, which she said was very good.
Nicola and I went for Apple & Rhubarb Crumble.
It was a good sized portion, served with vanilla ice cream. The crumble had a slight tartness to it which I like, rather than an over sweet pudding.
We finished with espressos and then followed winding narrow roads just a couple of miles down the road to the converted Methodist Chapel in Trevone, where we’re staying.