I can’t quite remember the last time we went for supper where there was a tablecloth. An actual white tablecloth. As much as I’m a big fan of Bistro come-as-you-are dining, it’s nice to get a bit dressed up and go out for a meal where you are greeted warmly by your hosts who have been busy baking the delicious bread (two varieties: red onion and sage) that will start your meal.
Ben and Samantha Harmer own and run Penrose Kitchen which is little oasis surrounded by greenery with a huge lily pond situated in Shortlanesend. Ben’s cooking has been receiving rave reviews, so we were excited to get our glad rags on, and visit for a Friday night feast.
If there was a word to encapsulate the evening, it would be passion. Passion for the food they cook and serve, and it’s provenance. Whether it’s the fish from The Cornish Fishmonger, beef from Etheringtons, duck from Terras Farm or the cheese which is served on a huge board (cheese heaven!) It’s clear that Ben and Sam have great relationships with their suppliers and are keen to listen to them to discover what’s in season and identify what their customers will like.
The inside of the restaurant is not what you’d expect when you approach the door. Ben and Sam are there to greet and the space is well used with a lounge area, bar and then the restaurant itself. Immediately we felt at home and got down to the difficult decision of what to drink! It was the first time I’d spotted Navas Tonic Water and it was good to try this new local brand with gin (we chose Scilly Spirit)
Mr Secret Truro and I decided to choose different dishes so that we could taste as much of the menu as possible. He’s not a fan of beetroot, which suited me, as the starter of Beetroot, Polenta, Radish in a Miso dressing was delicious and tucked into immediately. I had no qualms about dipping into his plate of Seared Scallops, Hogs Pudding and Celeriac Puree. Well - I had to do my research! Both equally delicious.
I decided to have a lighter main course and opted for the Black Bream with the Buttered Haricot Beans ‘Must leave room for the cheese' I thought. Mr ST thoroughly enjoyed the tender pink Duck Breast with layered Potatoes, Baby Spinach in a really tasty Five Spice and Red Grape Sauce.
It was time for that glorious cheese board to come out. Sam talked us through all of the options: half of the board was Cornish, half was from outside of Cornwall (but mainly South West). We did choose Chocolate Ganache (rude not to!) and then Cheese served with Quince jam and biscuits. There was a really good selection from creamy, nutty and blue cheeses - the perfect end to the meal.
It was such a treat - but there is one more important point about Penrose Kitchen. They are part of ‘The Green Earth Appeal’ You can choose to donate 99p at the end of your meal which means that a fruit tree will be planted in the developing world. The tree not only helps with the carbon footprint of your meal, it helps some of the world’s poorest communities. What a lovely thought to go home with after a delicious meal.
Thank you so much Ben and Sam - we’ll be back.
This meal was gifted.