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 www.gwr.com or telephone 03457 000125.
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