The Shore Restaurant, Penzance

The food scene in Penzance is progressing at speed and many predict this town will soon rival more touristy Cornish destinations thanks to its innovative chefs and fine produce.

Bruce Rennie is leading the movement in Penzance with his new restaurant, The Shore. After gaining experience at prestigious restaurants such as two star Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, he moved to Cornwall to head up the kitchen at The Gurnard’s Head before opening his own eatery in September 2015.

The Shore quickly came to the attention of local and visiting foodies, who recognised Bruce’s keen eye for detail and loved his creative but simple plates of food. I was amazed to learn that Bruce preps, plates, bakes and cooks it all himself, and then does the washing up before he is done for the day. The table waiting is handled by his only member of staff.

The restaurant, which occupies The Old Buttery, is decorated in muted shades with seaside motifs. The space is small and cosy and has a fresh contemporary feel. Unfortunately there are no sea views but Bruce more than compensates with the flavoursome plates of food.

The Shore is particularly reasonable at lunch time when two courses cost £14.95 and three are £19.50. In the evening the menu is more pricey with a main course setting you back £18, but the dinner menu offers more choice and variety.

A group of us went along on a bright Saturday, and between us managed to sample most of the brief lunch menu. To start the Celeriac & saffron soup with croutons was a fragrant and comforting dish, perfectly seasoned with a lovely thick consistency. Primrose Herd pork belly with braised white cabbage and pak choi was a more luxurious choice, a generous portion of delicious pork with a vibrant tomato based sauce, with slightly limp green leaves adding colour to the dish.

For my main I opted for the Potato gnocchi with cauliflower, hazelnuts, parmesan, a textually exciting recipe that was beautifully presented. Gnocchi is often cumbersome and heavy but these little pasta dumplings were delightful with a hint of parmesan. Hake with brandade and sprouting broccoli was a suitably Cornish dish and Braised Ox cheek with mashed potatoes, hispi cabbage and horseradish felt very rich and special for a family lunch out, a superior piece of meat coated in a brilliantly balanced sauce and accompanied by creamy smooth mashed potato.

Of the two desserts the Lemon posset with raspberries was the obvious winner, an indulgently thick and creamy zingy citrus posset topped with plump fresh raspberries and a professionally made sorbet. Rhubarb & vanilla cheesecake with ginger ice cream was nice but not dissimilar to the plates of cake you would enjoy in an art gallery cafe… Satisfying the sweet tooth without leaving a lasting impression.

In a town that craves inspirational restaurants The Shore has answered many prayers offering food that is exciting and delicious. Most importantly Bruce Rennie champions the ingredients that this coastal area of the country produces in abundance, showcasing the best of Cornwall in his imaginative cooking.

More information about The Shore Restaurant here.

Advance single fares between Paddington and Penzance are available from £29 each way. For the best tickets and offers buy before you board at or telephone 03457 000125.

***My new travel book, CORNWALL by Weekend Journals is available to order here. Use the code TMM10 to get 10% off.***

Yearlstone Vineyard, Devon

I am used to wandering round glorious sun-drenched vineyards in France but I didn’t know what to expect when I was told we were visiting a vineyard in Devon. We turned off the main road onto a steep lane and reached a cabin-like building surrounded by lush greenery, blissfully isolated and tranquil.

Yearlstone Vineyard was started in 1976 by pioneering English viticulturist Gillian Pearkes. Gillian planted a variety of vines, collected on her worldwide travels and experimented with vine growing techniques for the English climate. In 1993, Roger and Juliet White bought the vineyard and began building on the site. Using traditional materials they built a house, a shop and office, the equipment and indoor space to make the wine completely onsite and most recently a café and outdoor terrace.

Sitting on the shaded terrace overlooking the endless vines, I couldn’t imagine a more idyllic setting in the British countryside. I felt ignorant for assuming UK’s vineyards were inferior to those in France and elsewhere. As it turns out: “Yearlstone vineyard is located on a steep southerly slope on a hillside above the river Exe at the picturesque village of Bickleigh… 200 feet above sea level and has natural protection from the west, north and east. The soil is a silty clay loam over fragmented Devon red sandstone with excellent drainage and is perfect for vines – red soils are the most sought after for vineyards all around the world. In all, Yearlstone’s position is perfect for growing vines and ripening grapes.”

The Deli Shack cafe at Yearlstone offers wholesome and delicious sharing platters and meals, perfect for enjoying alongside a glass of their wine; we tasted a variety: a soft and floral dry white, a light fruity red and a delicate dry rose which we opted for. To eat, we shared a huge platter of artisan meat and cheese, olives, pickled onions and crusty bread. For main course we tried most of the menu: salad with goat’s cheese, creamy smoked salmon linguine, Spanish style chicken with tomato, peppers and beans, and Taleggio and asparagus tart. The dishes were simple and healthy with a focus on fresh seasonal ingredients.

As well as the vineyard, there is a mature orchard at Yearlstone with many apple trees, from which cider is made. If you are visiting Devon, Yearlstone Vineyard definitely deserves a place on your itinerary. Sitting amongst the beautiful vineyards sipping Yearlstone’s wonderful wine made me feel proud to be British.

More information here:

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled with First Great Western trains.

Advance single fares from London Paddington to Tiverton Parkway are available from £12.50 each way. For the best value tickets and fares buy before you board at or 08457 000125.

The Old Manor, Bradford-upon-Avon

I am always on the lookout for idyllic weekend break destinations in the UK. A few weeks ago I found The Old Manor Hotel, a charming and characterful establishment just fifteen minutes by train from central Bath. It is a historic building in Bradford-upon-Avon restored to its former glory by new owners, Tudor and Lucy Hopkins (and Camber the dog) who previously part-owned the Gallivant Hotel. They purchased this property in July 2013 hoping to have a hotel that they could completely call their own.

Known to be part of the Abbess of Glastonbury’s estate, the present Manor House was originally built in classic Queen Anne style before being upgraded in the 17th century. The quirks and detailing give the building particular appeal. With 21 bedrooms of varying sizes and décor, there are standard, superior, deluxe and family rooms to choose from. We were in a lovely spacious deluxe room (which felt more like a suite) in the main Manor house. Ultra clean and fresh with white walls, dainty artwork and endearing vintage furniture, it was a pleasure to spend the night here. Accentuating the remaining old features of the building there were hints of exposed beams and brickwork adding a touch of farmhouse chic. Through the prettily adorned dressing room was the bathroom, with a big bath and shower and Neal’s Yard toiletries.

The couple recently recruited Head Chef, Matthew Briddon of River Café and Paul Heathcotes – he is in charge of the kitchens and has big plans to make this hotel a foodie destination, with an extended restaurant and cookery school in the future. Speaking to Matthew, I found his vision and ambition inspiring, hearing about the plans for a snail farm, their own livestock, fruit orchards and herb gardens… a true farm to fork experience. So far they are making good use of the assets on site, a few beehives for floral honey and a small cold smokery for flavouring fish and other ingredients. We enjoyed a feast in the humble but lovely dining room on Friday night. Sitting by the roaring fire, sipping local ale and enjoying wholesome thoughtfully prepared food, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would rather be. There were so many food highlights, I remember the innovative Smoked ham hock with ploughman’s garnish: a reinvention of the classic British sandwich, it had a great mix of textures with tangy sauce and irresistible crispy cheese bites. The main course Confit belly pork, pig’s cheek ragu and wilted greens had a sensational flavour and aroma though it was incredibly rich and I was sad not to be able to finish it. A simple homemade Bakewell Tart with clotted cream was served for dessert with soothing fresh mint tea.

Next morning we were awake bright and early with the chirping birds, early enough to see the huge orange sun rise through the trees, setting the sky alight. After a quick refreshing shower, we went down for a cup of coffee and breakfast in the Milking Parlour. Rustic chunky bread rolls stuffed with grilled bacon and ground pepper, orange juice and fresh milky coffee.

Visiting and experiencing the Old Manor Hotel was truly memorable for me; as we walked away though the sunny countryside I thought about how much I would love to have my own little hotel to love and nurture. We can expect great things from this motivated and creative team in the future, I cannot wait to hear about their progress.

More information on The Old Manor and book here:

Thoroughly Modern Milly travelled first class with First Great Western train from London Paddington to Bath Spa, book here.

Many thanks to the Bath Tourist board for their help with this trip, more information here.