The Plume of Feathers, Mitchell
Next time you meet friends in the pub, make it here! This 16th century inn serves cracking food thanks to former MasterChef pro contestant, Nat Tallents.
The pursuit of the perfect pub is one of my favourite weekend sports. And lucky for me, Cornwall is dotted with historic inns, friendly locals and gastropubs.
Cornish pubs that happen to have sea views can be packed to the rafters with tourists in summer and fill their tables without much culinary effort.
Which is why a great gastropub, nestled in the Cornish countryside, is a particularly exciting find.
The Plume of Feathers is in the village of Mitchell, between Newquay and Truro. And it ticks a lot of boxes.
Geographically it’s pretty much slap-bang in middle of Cornwall, so it’s the perfect meeting place, easily accessible from the A30, which once ran straight through the village.
Meanwhile, the menu is packed with classic dishes with a twist and amazing seasonal Cornish ingredients. The creativity in the dishes is thanks to the pub’s new chef patron, Nat Tallents. The night we visited, we started with rather sumptuous bar snacks; potted venison with juniper and beetroot butter on sourdough, curried cod fritters with lemonade batter and tomato jam and breaded flat mushroom chips with roasted garlic mayo.
Then we tucked into local king scallops with cauliflower, hazelnuts and apple, followed by three cuts of Cornish lamb with carrot puree and red currant jus. I should add for any traditionalists, there will always be classics like fish and chips on the menu (the locals insist on it).
And on our plate of puddings (why have one when you can try three?), Nat took some classic flavour combos and added a little cheffy magic, presenting elegant versions of rhubarb and custard, black forest and arctic roll. Dehydrated rhubarb is a revelation.
I don’t usually eat this much, honest. But we were invited to try out Nat’s new spring menu and I’m so glad we did. Nat came out to chat to us after dinner and we loved hearing about her journey, as a woman in male-dominated kitchens and her vision for this special local pub. She describes her food as ‘honest, homemade and inspiring modern-British cuisine’ and her dishes celebrate Cornish heritage and show real consideration to sustainability.
Lancashire-born Nat was a waitress and restaurant manager before shifting her focus to the kitchen at 23. She quickly developed a passion for great food and skyrocketed her career in the culinary world, securing her first head chef position, after just 18 months. In 2012, Nat took part in MasterChef: The Professionals and got to the classics round, during which she cooked for one of her food heroes Michel Roux Jr.
As well as top-notch food, there are also some really lovely, boutique B&B rooms here, housed in converted stables and outbuildings behind the pub. The accommodation is much more luxurious and contemporary than you might expect from a country pub, with every mod-con, from smart TVs to Bluetooth speakers. Owners, Pete and Jacqui Fair haven’t spared the Farrow and Ball and they have plans to open more accommodation on the site in the coming months.
The family also owns super-popular Newquay eatery, Lewinnick Lodge and if you’re already a fan of this venue, you’re bound to love its rural sibling.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Hearty but elegant dining away from the bustle, with a friendly local vibe and designer bedrooms, should you want to roll straight to bed after dinner. The Plume of Feathers is centrally located, with plenty of parking, so it’s a great place to meet friends or head out for a luxuriously laidback meal for two.
All I ask is you don’t tell everyone!
Starters from £7.40, mains from £14.50.
The Plume of Feathers, Mitchell, Newquay, Cornwall, TR8 5AX, England. Theplumemitchell.co.uk