St Ives Pub Review: Halsetown Inn
Looking for a cosy Cornish pub, with a cracking roast and breathtaking walks in every direction? This former miner's local - turned gastropub with character - is a firm Muddy fave.
Snowed in, at a rural Cornish pub, with a swing band and piles of Yorkshire puddings, is a dream scenario. And it almost happened the day we went to do our review of Halsetown Inn. Still the Sunday roast hit the spot! Here’s everything you need to know…
This middle-of-nowhere country pub is a 45 minute walk or a short drive from St Ives and has long been the hub of this small community. It was built by James Halse in 1831 for the local tin miners and the Cornish granite construction is typical of the area.
As well as a loyal local following, visitors come from all over Cornwall, especially for Sunday lunch and campers at nearby Polmanter Touring Park add to the crowd in summer.
The current landlords, Julia and Stuart Knight (formerly of The Alba restaurant in St Ives) have been at the helm for 18 months now, with Stuart in the kitchen and Julia, front of house.
There’s also an admirable eco ethos. The pub sources everything from produce to fuel as sustainably and ethically as possible.
The Halsetown Inn retains lots of its original character but mix-and-match furniture and colourful art work and murals bring a fun, quirky feel.
If there are just two of you, I’d snuggle up near the open fire in the cosy bar or you can choose from three open-plan but still intimate dining spaces. Outside, the small courtyard garden is a sun trap on hot days.
On the Sunday we visited, there was a lively bustle about the place, with full tables of couples, families and friends, great tunes and a swing band later that afternoon.
SCOFF & QUAFF
A Sunday roast is a personal thing but the Halsetown Inn’s rendition hits the spot for me, for several reasons. Firstly it is piled high with loads of different, fresh veg that you almost have to eat your way through to uncover your meat of choice below. The gravy is rich and plentiful and the Yorkshire puddings are massive. Washed down with a dangerously easy-to-drink house merlot or a few pints of Betty Stogs.
On the pudding menu are elegant twists on classic Sunday desserts – albeit more refined versions than you might knock up at home. So you can satisfy the sticky pud or crumble craving that hits many of us directly after a roast lunch.
A couple of us also tried the fish option – just to sample something else on the menu. This was surprisingly hearty and beautifully cooked with subtle Indian flavours.
OUT & ABOUT
One of the reasons I love this pub so much is that you can sandwich your roast lunch with a morning of St Ives strolling and culture (check out the Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden, Tate St Ives or Leach Pottery) and an afternoon of rugged coastal walking in Penwith.
This wild and rocky part of Cornwall draws me like a giant geological magnet and I would especially recommend the 8-mile walk from Zennor to St Ives, along the South West Coast Path. There’s nowhere like it!
Halsetown Inn, Saint Ives TR26 3NA. 01736 795583. Halsetowninn.co.uk