We tend to visit restaurants because of the irresistible dishes on their menus, and the drinks are usually just an afterthought. But what if the liquid element of your meal is your priority? Well, worry no more, because we’ve compiled a list of our favourite places in and around North Cornwall where the drinks are just as, if not more, important than the food.
Opened by Engin and Liz Mumcuoglu in May 2015, Trevibban Mill is a stylish winery near Padstow, where guests can enjoy a glass of the award-winning wine (red, white, rosé and sparkling) made on site. Sit in the sunshine overlooking the wild flower meadow, at the bar, or in the restaurant.
Regular vineyard tours and wine tastings are on offer, and their pièce de résistance is the recent arrival of Andy Appleton (ex head chef at Fifteen Cornwall) and his new restaurant Appleton’s at the Vineyard, serving beautiful Italian-inspired food. Choose from the “crispy bits” at the bar, or enjoy something more substantial such as Andy’s handmade pasta, a work of art in itself.
BinTwo is a regular Padstow pitstop for those in the know. Whether you’re after a decent coffee, glass of fizz, or need advice on a jolly good bottle of wine to take home for supper, you won’t be disappointed. Regular tasting events (a.k.a. “Flight Club”) are held in the Padstow shop and at the new binTwo hub at Hawksfield, plus don’t miss “Decanter Saturdays”, with different wines on offer each week. Antipasti boards, lobster rolls and crab sarnies are the perfect accompaniment.
A stalwart of the Cornish drinks industry, Camel Valley Vineyard, is tucked away in the picturesque valley between Bodmin and Wadebridge. Here on the farm, the Lindo family’s vines flourish on the south-facing slopes, and their wines regularly win international awards, in particular the sparkling Cornwall Brut.
Regular tours and tastings are informative and entertaining. Catch a sunny evening, and you won’t find a better place to sit than on the terrace, glass of wine in hand, eating the homemade grissini. Or why not pack up a picnic, grab a bottle from the vineyard shop, and cycle along the Camel Trail to a riverside picnic bench.
The lovely St Tudy Inn has been impeccably refurbished by chef Emily Scott, who took the helm in December 2014, and has become a must-visit pub for foodies. Emily understands the importance of good wine, and you won’t find many pubs with such an extensive wine list, or knowledgeable bar staff.
Emily recently collaborated with Padstow Brewing Company to produce her own St Tudy Ale, and holds regular events in conjunction with the brewery and tasting dinners with wine producers. Recently awarded a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand award, the food is always tip top, with the freshest fish specials and superb Sunday lunches highly recommended.
Mission Wines has its base at Sevensouls Yard, near Polzeath. Under the expert guidance of wine expert Tamsin, visitors can choose a bottle of wine from the shop and enjoy it in the café (corkage charge applies), or choose from the ever-changing selection of wines by the glass.
There’s great coffee, soft drinks and freshly squeeze orange juice for those who want to keep a clear head; rum, armagnac and single malts for those who don’t. To accompany your drinks choose from the charcuterie and cheese boards, or the daily special, such as a Middle Eastern stew, caldo verde or cassoulet during the week, or a Sunday lunch e.g. orange and oregano roast chicken with olive gremolata, green beans and rice.
Located near the Eden Project, Knightor Winery produces a range of wines (white, rosé and sparkling) and, launched in summer 2016, Cornish Vermouth, which is deliciously refreshing with lime and soda. There are regular tours and tastings – try the tour, tasting and lunch combo – as well as popular Friday feast nights. The venue can be hired for weddings and events, and has a café where you can enjoy coffee and cake, cream teas and lunches from Thursday to Sunday.
You couldn’t really go wrong with a partnership between legends Nathan Outlaw and Sharp’s Brewery. Rock’s infamous pub The Mariners has Sharp’s ales on tap and in bottles, plus a wide selection from other breweries. Food and beer pairings can be advised by the staff.
The wine list is good too, with something to suit all tastes and budgets. You’d expect nothing less than exceptional food from an establishment with Nathan Outlaw’s name to it, and the pub grub ranges from classics such as steak and chips (28 day matured Warren’s chargrilled steak to be specific) to fabulously fresh fish – think seafood platters or whole turbot cooked over coals.
Last, but not least, Padstow Brewing Company is based just outside Padstow, where husband and wife team Des and Caron Archer brew around 9,000 pints of beer each week. There are regular brewery tours (and beer tastings) or visitors can take part in a “Brewday Experience”, spending a day learning about and helping with the brewing process, pasty lunch and lots of tasting included. If you don’t have a whole day to spare, then pop into the brewery shop for a bottle or two and enjoy on the harbour front – ideal for washing down al fresco fish and chips.