Friday, 28 October 2016

The Cornish Arms, St Merryn, Cornwall

We spent a week in Cornwall recently, in a little bay (Constantine Bay) just outside of Padstow which was lovely. During our stay, we enjoyed two great meals at The Cornish Arms - a refurbished old pub that has been given the infamous Rick Stein treatment.

It’s a real mix of modern and traditional inside, the main restaurant side veering more on contemporary, whereas the more traditional bar area, where we enjoyed one of our meals, being slightly more laid back and informal. The staff here were friendly, knowledgeable and attentive on both visits.

On our evening visit, I enjoyed a ‘special’ Goan Chicken Curry that came with fluffy basmati rice and a homemade poppadom and was to die for. Fragrant, with a dash of fresh heat but light too, just lovely. Glen had the devilled kidneys on toast - not something he would usually opt for but he said it was really well executed, perfectly tender and seasoned offal with an earthy richness served with woody, local mushrooms on a generous sized toasted doorstep, with a green salad on the side. He enjoyed it so much, he had it again when we returned.

Devilled Kidneys on Toast, The Cornish Arms

On our second jaunt, knowing the portion sizes were generous but wanting to sample more from the menu, we shared a starter - salt cod brandade, a rich, fishy paste, immense served with toast topped with a homemade olive tapenade - a really great combination.

Salt Cod Brandade with Tapenade Toast, The Cornish Arms

I opted for the fishcakes for my main course - made of cod and a little potato, and coated in breadcrumbs. They had a good hint of aniseed tarragon about them, which I enjoyed and which complements fish so well, and were topped with a delicious chunky salsa verde. These came with chips and salad and this was exactly the kind of hearty, homemade pub food you would expect and that was extremely well received on the Saturday lunchtime when the weather outside was chilly.

Fishcakes with Salsa Verde, The Cornish Arms

Among our group – all of the dishes on both visits, were well received. One included the steak and ale pie served with chips (you could have had mashed potato), broccoli and a thick, glossy, beefy gravy. The meat packed out the pie generously and was beautifully tender - another great dish enjoyed by two in our group.

Steak and Ale Pie, The Cornish Arms

A thick cut ham, egg and chips, 6oz hamburger, scampi in a retro basket and a lamb karahi all went down well. The children enjoyed homemade fish fingers, with chips and peas – excellent quality and a decent sized portion for children too.

We also enjoyed some fantastic desserts here, from the local Cornish ice cream, a beautiful sunken chocolate cake, a gorgeous carrot cake served with crushed walnuts and special mention to the sticky toffee pudding and the most insanely good cheesecake cheesecake served with a salted caramel that would make grown men weep. Delicious!

Our meal at The Cornish Arms on the day that there were eight adults and 2 children eating, came in at just over £200.00 which given the quality of the food, the comfort of the surroundings and the friendly staff offers really good value for money. The Cornish Arms has a beautiful garden overlooking the picturesque Cornish countryside of St Merryn, we sadly didn’t get the opportunity to take advantage of it, but I would imagine in warmer months, this is a truly prime spot.

The Cornish Arms strikes that true balance of being a credible restaurant offering good-quality, honest, home-cooked food, whilst holding its’ own as a local pub offering a wide selection of local ales and ciders and with a roaring log fire. It’s a great venue and we’ll be sure to return if visiting Cornwall again.

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