FEELING frazzled, in desperate need of a pace slower than warp, I suggested to fellow fast-living, food-loving, city-dwelling friend Tutts that we swap smog air for sea air to get away to somewhere greener for a few days. And duly eat our way around it.
The South West is one of the strongest food and drink producing regions in the country and can rightly brag about ‘locally-sourced’ produce. Added to that it has more Michelin stars than any other region outside London so should be heavy on gastric delight. Ideal.
Communal Living At The RosevineJetting down to Newquay with Air Southwest it seemed like mere minutes between take off and landing. Not for me that spending hours cramped in a car malarkey. Though we picked up some wheels upon landing to allow us to get out and see as much of the surrounds as possible.
The Rosevine near Portscatho, Truro, was to be home for the next few days. What a delightful place that is. A charming house that has been converted into self-contained apartments and studios. You can go independently or take it as a collective.
Accommodation allows you to be as insular or integrating as you wish with full self-catering quarters but also a restaurant and communal lounge areas. There’s also a well-stocked kid’s entertainment room, a pool, the option to get a beauty therapist to your room and a deli delivery service. All bases covered.
A warm welcome in the form of a basket of Cornish goodies was a nice touch in the home-from-home room on arrival. Jam, juice, milk, cereal, croissants and a good brick of salty butter. That wasn’t going to last 5 minutes in Tutts’ mitts. With a terrace door that opened onto lush gardens and sea-views, this was the stark contrast from city life we were looking for.
Oysters and bubbly At Rick Stein'sWith relaxation top of the list, rolling down the corridor to the Rosevine’s restaurant was all we wanted from our first evening. The food was first-rate; fish and seafood from surrounding waters and local livestock headlined the menu. You could certainly taste the difference and all by candlelight looking out to sea. This place is special. Satisfyingly sated we picked up a DVD en route to bed, got comfy and passed out in peace.
After an equally enjoyable breakfast Padstow was first on the tour list. We’d had in mind a day’s mountain biking along one of the scenic trails but the weather wasn’t supporting this notion. Instead a detour to the Lobster Sanctuary allowed us to marvel at the many marine crustaceans they had on show. Then promptly decide what better option for lunch.
With more seafood eateries than you could shake a stick at we spied a platter on offer at The Fo’c’sle Restaurant. The waiter managed to talk us down from ordering one each. How right he was. A plate the size of a bin lid was presented with every relative of our clawed friend. Great value too. With cakes and champagne this hearty lunch for two came in at £42 with tip. Back in Manchester that would have cost a fortune. This is my kind of place.
The picturesque port is bursting with all kinds of independent retailers. A good chunk of them food outlets. Fudge shops with every conceivable, coaxing combination. You need some serious willpower not to graze your way around. Tutts and I have none of that. Rick Stein’s Patisserie was another place poking fun at any intention of abstaining. Colourful, plentiful, inviting shelves stocked full of delicacies. This is not a place for people watching their weight.
Resident at the Lobster SanctuaryAfter some fresh sea air and working up an(other) appetite Falmouth was next on the list for a quick oyster and champagne stop at Rick Stein’s Seafood Bar. Bit of an odd one this as you have to go through his fish and chip shop to the bar upstairs, which is very sterile in feeling; bright lights and white tiles.
I benchmark against a great time had at New York’s Grand Central Oyster Bar, so in fairness most places fall short. But it was missing a magical something. The prices, however, weren’t as minimalist with three glasses of bubbles, six oysters and a small salt and pepper prawn starter coming in at £37. You’re paying for the name here, people,.
Next day we decided to head to Land’s End. Underwhelming. It is literally the end of the land. It does what it says on the tin, but hey we can say we’ve been. Watch out for the cheeky entry policy as they charge you on the way in when there really is nowhere else to turn, so the cheapskate in us overruled as we turned round the car, asked for a refund and headed off to St Ives.
PadstowAnother lively port area but also with a beach, this is a sound, snug holiday resort. Winding roads mean flat shoes are the order of the day. After a good traipse around it was time for another seafood stop. Fresh tuna for me at The Seafood Cafe, it didn’t disappoint.
We only really scratched the surface of what’s on offer in the area. There’s something for everyone, certainly for foodies and lots of other attractions for families. Word of warning on the waistline however, we were definitely carrying some excess baggage on the way back.
The Rosevine, nr Portscatho Cornwall TR2 5EW (01872 580 206, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.rosevine.co.uk)
It offers eight family apartment style suites and studios with mini kitchens and three small studios in The Slate House (across from the main house) plus a slef-catering [roperty in the grounds.
2011 rates: from £185 to £325 per room per night and weekly from £1300 to £2500. The Lookout self catering property is from £1750 per week to £2500 per week. Exclusive use rates on request.
Helen Ramsbottom flew with Air Southwest (www.airsouthwest.com) from Manchester to Newquay, which is a 45 minute drive to Rosevine. Car rental at Newquay airport and Truro station – Hertz, Europcar.
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