Friday Lunches At La Cantina
Enjoy fresh and simple vegetarian dishes at one of Cornwall's special local haunts
Once a week throughout the summer, with almost no fanfare at all, one of Cornwall’s loveliest cafes opens for lunch. Yes really – just once a week, so you’d better get organised.
It’s a Friday, since you ask, between 10am (for tea and gluten free – possibly even calorie free – cake) to 2pm, for a small-menu lunch of fresh and delicious veggie dishes.
La Cantina is a fully vegetarian (vegan friendly) cafe that caters events and weddings at Mount Pleasant Eco Park, near Porthtowan. It’s also loved locally for its Reggae Roasts – which run on Sundays through winter and the Community Lunches they host every Friday in summer.
Lunch guests can expect a mini menu, consisting of a soup and two other mains, which will set you back £5 max. There’s also a tantalising array of posh fizzy drinks (mines a Cawston’s sparkling rhubarb and apple) and a whole lot of senchas, yerbas and chais to choose from too.
On offer today was a really tasty (but not too spicy) dahl and Indian flat bread, a mezze of vegetable cous cous, hummus, tapenade, salad and carrot bread and Cornish cheddar on toast with red onion marmalade and salad.
So unpretentious it’s accidentally hip, dishes are served in tin camping plates, with drinks in plastic cups and outside seating on hay bales around old cable reel tables.
For me, this pocket of Cornwall, around Porthtowan and Portreath, is a massively underated. I love it so much, I almost want to keep all its little gems to myself but hell, I’m a big mouth and I can’t help it.
Mount Pleasant Eco Park is everything that’s good about Cornwall. Life runs a bit slower here, it’s an enterprise without trace of commerciality and it’s set in bewilderingly beautiful landscape – overlooking sea, heathered hilltops and mining ruins. Every corner of the park is true to its eco ethos, including La Cantina.
The blackboard outside the cafe sums it all up perfectly. “A meeting place, where you can enjoy top vegetarian food, in good company, with ingredients either grown on site or sourced locally.”
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Vegetarians and vegans. Anyone with kids, as they can run free around the outdoor tables and lawns.
Not for: Carnivores or anyone who likes lots of choice.
The damage: Minimal! Main courses are £5 maximum.