From easy eats to gourmand greats, Porthleven on the section from St Austell to Penzance harbours some delicious places to eat out for every budget. Lauren Heath investigates.
Originally created as a safe haven for sea vessels travelling along this rugged bit of coastline, this compact and beautiful harbour is wonderful in good weather but equally breathtaking in winter storms with waves crashing at the walled barriers.
Whatever the season, this unique destination is bursting with eateries at every turn, from longstanding locals to well-known TV chefs. A common theme is the use of fantastic local Cornish produce and the views!
Start with Coffee
Starting your adventure away from the hustle and bustle of the harbour, just before descending into town, why not start your day with The Roastery by Origin Coffee, an award winning, independently owned, speciality coffee roaster.
Aside from mastering your barista skills with them on one of their courses, you can enjoy nibbling on pastries, cakes and freshly prepared toasties in the café whilst watching the roasters in action. If you want the same great coffee but with harbour views, then motor down to their Harbour Head venue.
If you want a destination with a choice of relaxed and easy bites, The Shipyard Market is harbouring a few goodies!
Where a warehouse garage door once stood, you’ll discover a wooden hatch serving hand rolled artisan bagels. Ceds bagels sells Instagram-worthy bites on the go with interesting combinations such as the onion bhaji bagel – house mango chutney, an onion bhaji, salad & raita. For the meat eaters, think duck pâté, streaky bacon, sweet plums and rocket on a buttered bagel.
Dishing up purer plant offerings, The Radish Café should be on your lunch list, serving veggie and vegan hearty curries, thalis, soups, falafel, salad bowls, burgers (think Katsu Tofu burger), and dirty fries. They also have both vegan wines and ice cream! If you’re a sucker for sweet treats, then look no further than Truly Cornish for their cupcakes, shakes and iced coffee.
What would a harbour be without a truly simple vessel serving fresh seafood? Dan Dan the Lobster Man is your guy! Out of a humble shipping container he serves up cracking local fare of lobster, crab, prawns. cockles, smoked fish and more; harbourside alfresco style, could you get any fewer food miles?
A Pair of Pubs
Weary travellers wanting cosy interiors and traditional dining, facing the ocean there’s the historical 17th century The Ship Inn. A real step back in time with walls adorned in historical pub paraphernalia, boasting flagstone floors, cosy log fires, and a terrace garden.
For casual dining and alfresco seating on the harbour wall, steer towards The Harbour Inn – a St Austell Brewery inn serving food all day in their restaurant with a menu that caters for many dietary preferences as well as a hearty Sunday carvery. With dog friendly accommodation and bar area, your furry friend can join you on your voyage.
If you’re looking for something reminiscent of the Mediterranean then head to Amélie; with a 25 mile food miles goal, this family and dog friendly restaurant exudes calm tones, high ceilings, colourful tiles and booths inside with its beacon of a sea blue exterior. Serving Small plates, sharing boards, well curated mains and pizzas, a top tip to enjoy these with harbour views is to get a seat in the conservatory.
For the foodies who like to tick the bucket list of dining in well-known chefs’ abodes, the harbour features a delicious duo in the form of Kota Kai and Kota Restaurant from New Zealand born chef and star of BBC’s Great British Menu, Jude Kereama.
Kota Kai Bar and Kitchen is a relaxed family friendly space, enjoyed by drinkers and diners alike, with a children’s room to keep the little ones (and in turn, grown-ups) happy. With traditional options and exciting dishes influenced by Jude’s signature Asian twist, different palates in the family should be kept happy.
Kota Restaurant with rooms, a few doors down in an historical 300 year old building, is one of a handful of Cornwall restaurants with 3 AA rosettes and with a place to rest your head in one of their three AA 4 star rooms at the head of the harbour. A bit more formal than it’s sibling, experience exquisite dishes with umami accents and Asian flair from their set, taster, vegan and vegetarian menus.
Food to go
Last but certainly not least, if you need a gift for the house, dog or cat sitter or you wish to take a bit of Cornwall home with you, why not pop into The Corner Deli? With a selection of local produce, they can curate a hamper of goodies for you to gift to that special someone… if you don’t eat them on the car journey home that is.