Muddy eats: Philleigh Way wood-fired sessions
Mr MC and I ventured out into the beautiful Roseland Peninsular last night (Thursday). We tried out one of the Philleigh Way Cookery School wood-fired sessions I’ve been banging on about in the Muddy guides over the last few weeks. These events sell out quick, so read on, then book your places pronto – there are many woodfired sessions planned over the summer. We were these for a Pysk (fish) night, but they also do Best (authentic Argentinian Asado) and Krogen (shellfish) so something for all tastes.
It was a sunny evening, and since we made good time, popped into the pub next door for a cheeky drink first. The supper clubs are held on the patio of family owned Court Farm in Philleigh, in front of the cookery school.
The guys rippling their gastromomic muscles are brothers-in-law chef George Pascoe (whose family have owned the farm for generations) and James Martin (not ex Saturday Morning Kitchen) – a former city lawyer who met a Cornish maid (George’s sister) and the rest is history. Other notable team members include Thom the forager, Johan the bush-craft guru, granny Betty Spear (the inspiration) and Annie the fisherman’s daughter. Their laid style is inspired by recipes handed down over the generations.
Seating was traditional supper club style: long trestle tables where you chat with strangers. There was a mixed crowd, local and holiday makers all ages – including some kids, but every table was rambunctious. The service was slick and the food was fabulous. Our table seated 12 and we were served as a group of six. Our companions made excellent conversation and totally embodied the holiday vibe – guys from London staying in nearby St Mawes, and some lasses from Crowell in Oxfordshire. They were glamping nearby, while walking entire British coastline (Lucy had reached Salcombe but was taking a weeks hol) – read her blog here.
So. Much. Good. Food. You won’t go hungry. The BBQ had been on for hours by the time we got there. Hake gently bubbling on an open fire. After canape’s, George explained the menu – how ultra local it was – fish sourced from Curgurrell Farm on the Roseland, veg, eggs and herbs grown at Court Farm, seasonings and flavours from the hedge opposite.
The first course was a taster plate: Fish cakes with parsley, mustard and pea puree, hot smoked salmon with asparagus and egg (from mums chickens); haddock chilli and herb dumplings and my favourite – smoked mackerel with slow cooked tomato, horse radish and rocket mayonnaise. The salmon was delicious – flaky perfect and super smokey, though the unanimous verdict of the table was that the mackerel was the star of the show.
Next up was the hake we’d seen BBQing as we arrived. George had used the bones to make a chilli and ginger broth which was served with bread from their wood oven and great flakes of Hake.
Following that we had ‘bag cooked bass’ more elegant than it sounds, served with spinach, baby pots and tomato, with three choices of imaginative salads (watermelon and feta???).
I was really starting to fill up at this point, but there was more to come – monkfish, chorizo and courgette skewers on their own mini table BBQ.
The heat from the day didn’t leave until the sun was well and truly on the way down. I hadn’t worn enough layers, but those thoughtful chaps have a huge basket of blankets to borrow. Dessert was poached pear – I’m not normally a fan, but this was a real palette cleanser, served with elder flower jelly, polenta cake, and white chocolate ice cream.
What else could you need. Oh yes, a licenced bar? check. My turn to partake in the alcohoorah this week, so Mr MC stuck to a gentle elderflower presse (bless) while I sampled the various vinos. Wines were very good, and in the name of research of course, I selflessly researched them for the duration of the evening.
Philleigh is about an hour away from us and a lovely scenic drive, much of which I missed on the way home, due to all that research I did on your behalf (*snore*).
The most important measures of a good night out are the vibe and the food and neither disappointed last night. Though the five course fish menu was obviously the reason we came, for us it was as much about doing something a bit different and having some fun. Brilliant value for money at just £30 a head. Drinks are for your own tab.
This is a fantastic regular supper club I’d be as happy to take my posh inlaws to as I would my part-feral children. Excellent unpretentious food.
Good for: Fans of rustic, laid back – dare I say it in these current politically charged times – EUROPEAN style dining. Sundowner suppers. Foodies and gastro types – you wont be disappointed.
Not for: If you prefer formal dining, cross it off your list. Those more reserved in nature might find the sit with strangers setting not what they’re used to. If you’re not into alfresco dining, this is probably not for you.
£££: Excellent value. You’ll struggle to feel this well fed for similar in the area – bearing in mind you have St Mawes on your doorstep.