For the last fifteen years The Nare Hotel has been voted Cornwall`s top luxury hotel by the AA, with more repeat visitors than any other of its South Cornish competitors. Lussorian headed down to St Mawes to dine in the hotel`s award winning restaurant and discover the secrets behind its success!
The Nare boasts two dining experiences: The Main Restaurant and it`s less formal sibling The Quarterdeck; we opted for the latter preferring its light open plan interior, wooden decking and spectacular sea views – it felt as though we`d stepped into a local yachting club complete with model ships and swaths of sail cloth for curtains. The Nare`s owner Toby Ashworth happened to be `at home` that evening so popped down to provide us with a whistle stop tour of the Quarterdeck`s adjacent art gallery (boasting some familiar names including the St Ives painter Terry Frost). The impressive collection was started by Toby`s grandmother Bettye Gray, as was the hotel, and her legacy is still very much felt throughout the building. Yet, as Toby went on to explain over a chilled Campari and platter of seafood canapés, it`s the subtle and (quietly) deliberate blend of old and new keeping tradition alive and business rolling in, for example all the hotel suites boast 21st century mod cons & creature comforts, be it Wi-Fi, flat screen TV or power shower. The Nare`s outdoor pool is heated to cope with the UK temperatures as is the hot tub (!) and guests can even indulge in a luxury spa treatment before a meal that rivals London`s finest dining. Toby also mentioned the hotel is busy investing in new green technologies following in the footsteps of their local Eden Project- we were greatly impressed.
Dinner lived up to our (by now) rather high expectations, we chased a small amuse bouche of complimentary crab chowder with a delicious a starter of seared scallop nestled on a bed of spicy cauliflower purée. Seafood in Cornwall just seems to make sense, wherever you eat out it`s so fresh and tasty you realise why ethically sourced local produce is so important! After half a bottle of wine we started behaving like royalty and plumped for `King of the Fishes`, turbot as our main, served simply and intelligently: lightly pan fried on seasonal purple sprouting broccoli, sweet caramelised shallots and bitter artichoke purée. Despite these `light `options we were both stuffed, partly due to the generous portions we managed to find room for (the turbot was cooked to perfection, what else could we do?). Pudding was a combination of Petit fours and sobering black coffee, but don`t follow by our example, I spied a very good-looking Chocolate Fondant on our neighbour`s table – if only I’d brought my spare stomach!
For anyone visiting this part of our beautiful country you would be wise to drop into this charming hotel, be for a cream tea, evening meal or overnight stay. This is the Cornwall you’ve been looking for. And it comes with a hot tub.
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