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West End, Marazion
There’s something classy but rather lovable about Ben’s Cornish Kitchen – an affable bistro-style eatery on Marazion’s main street. Inside, thick stone walls add a rustic edge to proceedings, although all eyes are on Ben Prior’s “unbelievably priced” menus – a compendium of great-value dishes displaying a “fabulously inventive use of local and seasonal ingredients”. We’re in accord with readers who say that Ben is a chef with “elevated levels of skill and invention” – just witness cleverly contrived, neatly balanced creations such as ravioli-style pansotti of crab and lobster with tomato salsa, broad beans capers and shallots (“an intelligent mix of flavours”). His talents also show through when it comes to meat and game, notably a “truly brilliant” dish of roast squab cut through with the sweetness of roasted fig, couscous and harissa hummus. To conclude, there are well-ripened cheeses, plus flavoursome desserts such as a cleverly deconstructed vanilla cheesecake accompanied by plump poached peaches and blueberries. The comprehensive wine list is as affordable as the food – “we could hardly believe the bill”, exclaimed one couple.
Squaremeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2016 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2016. Thousands of readers and bloggers took part and the results were moderated by the Squaremeal editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The survey does not ask for or include any restaurants in London. Click here for a full list of Squaremeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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West End, Marazion
Penzance Station 4km
St. Erth Station 5km
St. Michael's Mount 634m
Penzance Heliport 3km
Tue-Sat 12N-1.30pm 7 -8.30pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
Early summer evening meal what a treat from the exotic to pure joy Lamb rump with braised shoulder moussaka and a thai green curry sorbet with yuzu posset my partner had roast hake, olive oil mash provencal roasted veg and the most excellent lemon tart. The service was bubbly & unpretentious. Such a well balanced bistro and will be heading back very soon to work our way through some more of the interesting seasonal wine list.
Food + drink: 4
On our previous visit here our table was in the upstairs room which benefited from a super view of St Michael’s Mount and evening sunlight. Unfortunately this time we sat in the downstairs room where this was not the case. Surprisingly there is still no tasting menu, and the suggested wines for each dish on the à la carte menu were rather heavily weighted towards South Africa, although, happily, we did find a bottle of very decent Soave to go with our choices. Homemade focaccia with an olive oil dip preceded the starter, a delicious crab “club sandwich” the shellfish working surprisingly well with some crispy bacon and accompanied by avocado purée, charred lettuce, heritage and ordinary tomatoes, and cute coriander mango. The catch of the day was plaice, a perfectly cooked and generous portion matched by a very good tarragon beurre blanc, asparagus and lightly cooked Cornish crushed potatoes, while the other fish on offer was excellent roast cod with a super olive oil mash, salsa verde and garlicky Provençal tomatoes. We had the cheese extra course which benefited from some lovely homemade biscuits to go with Hampshire Tunworth, and local Helford blue and Cornish Jack, the latter beautifully matched with a red wine and grape gel. We chose different desserts - one the inevitable chocolate, this time a Jaffa pavé with pistachio and some cardamom ice cream making a very good mix, the other a peach bavarois with an excellent verbena sorbet and added biscuit crunch. BCK maintains its standards once again.
This was without any doubt the dining highlight of the West Cornwall end of our trip. A window table with a beautiful view of St Michael’s Mount as the sun went down and the top-class, imaginative cooking made for a wonderful evening. The service was not terribly skilled, but it did not detract from the experience as a whole, the menu had a wide range of possibilities, and for each dish there was a good and remarkably well-priced wine recommendation. A glass of Taittinger while we discussed what to have seemed to lead us both to the same choices, which, curiously, were the dishes incurring a small supplement. As we reckoned we hadn’t satiated our appetites for lobster and crab, the ravioli-style pansotti with these two as the main ingredients was obligatory, and it proved to be an excellent choice, the combination of the two crustaceans working perfectly and the delicious tomato salsa adding a welcome element of tartness together with broad beans, capers and shallots offering an intelligent mix of flavours. The elevated level of skill and invention continued with truly brilliant roast squab which boasted a wealth of tenderness and flavour which was contributed to by the sweetness of the roasted fig and a super back-up of couscous, harissa hummus and a spicy yet almost gamey jus; all the ingredients seemed to meld together and at the same time bounce off each other to provide a wonderful taste experience. There was no tasting menu, but not to be outdone we asked for the cheeseboard (another supplement) before we dived into the desserts, and the excellent comté, local goat’s and blue cheeses were served with oatcakes and very good parmesan biscuits and a perfect quince jelly. And so on to a full house of the same dishes for both of us, this time a clever deconstructed vanilla cheesecake fruitily accompanied by plump poached peaches and flavoursome blueberries. We could hardly believe the bill, which was half of what we would have paid for a dinner of the same high quality in London, and we voted this meal one of the most enjoyable of the year.
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