Oh we did luck out food-wise on New Year’s Day. After our mammoth cooking session at Dreamcatchers on NYE, and subsequent dancing to Jools Holland on the telly activity, there was basically zero chance that cooking would be happening. We woke up to the sun,
and clear blue skies from the Dreamcatchers terraces. It was a beautiful day to welcome in 2013, after what seemed like weeks of rain and grey.
So it felt like an expedition day. We set off in the giant hired Volvo estate and headed for Portloe, the beautiful fishing harbour village about twenty minutes away on the other side of the Roseland Peninsula, to have lunch at The Ship Inn. I was clever and rang in advance to check that a) they were open & b) they would still be serving at 2pm. Yes & yes they said.
Unfortunately this photo of The Ship Inn was as far as we got to eating in Portloe, because I forgot to ask question c): Is your pub currently completely rammed with lunchtime business which will mean the only place you can put us is in the garden? I did send Rachel down the road to The Lugger Hotel just in case they could squeeze us in, but they told her with some relish that they had stopped serving fifteen minutes before, so we fled with our tails between our legs back towards St Mawes, with rumbling tummies and dread fear that all eating places would either be rammed or firmly shut towards our sad little faces.
So thank goodness for The New Inn in pretty Veryan, the next village on the way back to St Mawes. We didn’t intend to stop there, but it was serving, and by now that was our only criteria at 230pm in Cornwall where everywhere shuts for the afternoon. We were in like a dose of salts.
Although by this point we would have happily chowed down on a plate of Jubilee pancakes at a Little Chef, we were so, so much more luckier than we deserved, because we properly loved The New Inn.
It’s a St Austell Brewery pub, which is always a good sign (we are big fans of Cornwall’s brilliant brewery here at LLG), with Tribute ale on tap, and Cornish ciders too. There were locals drinking at the bar, and excellent dogs sleeping under their stools. And a really welcoming atmosphere, which is so often not the case in pubs where tourists don’t generally go.
Lil’sis & Hannah had the fish & chips, which they voted the freshest, most delicious fish they’d eaten in memory, along with hand cut chips and homemade tartare sauce. Mark went very silent over his steak and St Austell Ale pie, which is always a good sign, Rachel had an excellent sirloin steak cooked medium rare, as she asked, and I went proper old school with one of my favourite-est dishes, which you never, ever see on menus: Mushroom Stroganoff. Within a very short period of time there were clean plates all round. I may have licked mine.
If we had fancied it, we could have had local ham with local eggs, or all sorts of fresh local fish and seafood, or homemade pâté, or pheasant, and more, all written up wonkily on a blackboard in the bar. (The fresh fish is supplied daily from Wing of St. Mawes, their meat is from Trevarthens of Scorrier, the fresh fruit and vegetables come from West Country Fruit Sales and the milk and cream is supplied by Roddas creamery. They couldn’t be more local if they tried.)
The New Inn only seats twenty-five or so people around a hotch potch of tables — it’s a pair of converted 16th Century cottages with low ceilings, open fires at each end, brasses and blackened beams, although there are a few rooms for overnight stays too. (There’s Wi-Fi too, but I resisted the temptation.) The landlord was geniality itself and the young waitress a sweetheart. We couldn’t have been more charmed.
Then we drove back to St Mawes in the sunshine and did sleeping for the rest of the day. Unfortunately missing the Portscatho New Year’s Day fireworks display, due to us all being comatose in Dreamcatchers’ cloud-like beds.
I miss Cornwall.
Veryan Truro, Cornwall TR2 5QA. Telephone: 01872 501362