Little Meva Pub with Bags of Personality
A short walk from bustling Mevagissey harbour, ancient local, The Kings Arms is being lovingly restored to its former glory. Owners Helen and Kris bought this 17th century free house two and a half years ago and it’s a labour of love that’s evident in every detail.
Devon-born Helen always wanted her own pub, managing her first at 21 and her turn-around of The Kings Arms has won over locals and tourists alike. Her partner Kris is in charge of the food, which is all about very local, only-ever-seasonal produce. He also sells his own sourdough bread over the bar and is now running courses at the pub to share the art (alongside filleting and butchery).
You won’t find obvious pub food here (chips don’t get a look in) but instead a pared-back menu of really interesting and tasty dishes, inspired by a mix of cuisines. And, starting from as little as £6, they’re amazingly good value, considering the quality and provenance of the food. We ordered Pheasant Keema, a delicious and really authentic minced curry, served with dhal, rice and homemade naan bread; and Pollack Brandade. This French peasant dish is like a warm, creamy dip, made with olive oil and salted fish, which is also prepared by Kris in-house and accompanied by generous chunks of the pub’s famous sourdough bread and roasted red peppers.
As much a drinkers pub as an eaterie, ales are local and the wines are carefully selected by Helen. You can even buy bottles to take away, which is useful as there isn’t an off license in the village. Helen’s stocks are a bit depleted when we visit, as she’s due a buying trip but when someone mentions Dry January, Helen tells us the idea hasn’t made it to Mevagissey. Appropriately, local drinking habits are based more around the weather and waves — if the sea’s too rough to go out, the fishermen hole up here.
The décor, which is still evolving, is traditional with quirky touches and thanks to the intimate space and log burner, it’s so cosy and welcoming you’ll want to settle in for the night. In fact, there is one room upstairs that you can rent via Airbnb if you really can’t tear yourself away and more are due to be converted in 2017.
The King’s Arms runs lots of courses and popular theme nights. Coming soon, there’s a Burn’s Night celebration and retro, ‘70s Valentines menu. They’re also planning a lobster festival in May half term, after the success of last year’s event, with lots of different dishes to try. Stay tuned for more on their Facebook page.
Good for: Friends and couples looking for a relaxed, intimate lunch or cosy evening out.
Not for: Those who like lots of choice. There are rarely more than a handful of dishes on the menu and no puddings or starters, since the kitchen can’t yet accommodate it (a grand expansion is planned this year). And although The Kings Arms is very child-friendly, there’s no garden, which is worth bearing in mind if your children need space to run.
£: Ridiculously good value! On the lunch menu when we visited, no dish was more than £8.
The Kings Arms, Mevagissey, PL26 6UQ. Tel: 01726 843904. www.kingsarmsmeva.com