In a nutshell
The Carew Arms in the Cornish village of Antony reopened in July 2016, having been bought by Tremayne Carew Pole (founder of A Hedonist’s Guide To). Tremayne, whose family live at Antony House, set out to deliver outstanding pub food with an affordable price tag in his home patch.
As well as its tempting menu and tasteful interior, the pub’s other great asset is its peaceful location. Antony, near Torpoint, is surrounded by wooded creeks on the Rame Peninsula. Often described as the forgotten corner of Cornwall, this area has untapped potential as a travel destination.
The pub is in the capable hands of head chef Jack Clayton on a day-to-day basis. Jack was previously at the helm at The Gurnard’s Head in Zennor, West Cornwall – a restaurant with rooms and one of Cornwall’s top dining destinations.
Consultant chef Emily Watkins of The Kingham Plough in the Cotswolds was bought in to help steer the menu at The Carew Arms in the early days, enabling the team to draw on her experience of traditional British cooking with a modern edge. Her appearance on The Great British Menu in 2014 made Emily a household name, especially thanks to her memorable desserts.
The menu includes bar snacks (scotch eggs, pints of prawns, and Cornish rarebit), and there is also a section for ‘classics’ – burgers, fish and chips, and fish pie – all of which looked very tempting. The main menu is small but perfectly formed and showcases local ingredients including award-winning Primrose Herd pork, fish landed at nearby Portwrinkle, seasonal foraged leaves, seaweeds and berries, and fruit and vegetables from minutes away at Antony Estate. Estate-reared lamb will also be on the menu when in season.
Jack sets out to combine these carefully sourced ingredients simply and instinctively, allowing their freshness and quality to take centre stage. The menu will evolve with the seasons, as Jack builds on his connections with small local growers, fishermen and artisan producers.
What’s the room like/atmosphere
The interior is bright and understated, with muted colours and wooden floors; black and white photography adorns the walls, while the large windows and grand bar give this village pub a sophisticated, elegant feel. Part of the building has been dedicated to a village store that’s open late – an inspired move in a small rural community – and the loft dining room upstairs is available for private hire.
Menu must-orders and misfires
The potted mackerel came with a beautifully fresh and colourful salad featuring local leaves, radish, pickled cucumber, beetroot relish and delicate edible flowers. A buttery, fennel-laced cloud of scent preceded a perfectly cooked piece of hake, served with a warm potato salad punctuated by huge chunks of rich and spicy chorizo. To finish, a cappuccino mousse with a layer of gooey salted caramel was topped with crunchy popcorn – an utterly indulgent dessert to end a very enjoyable meal.
The wine list is also small but well-crafted and affordable, with a cluster of bottles around the £20 mark. It’s refreshing to see brave choices like on-trend Txacoli (a perfect match for summer seafood), grechetto and carmenère feature in a succinct list, which has obviously been selected with both knowledge and passion.
What else did you like/dislike?
With reasonable prices, a friendly and professional team, and a great location for walking and general exploring (the pub is dog-friendly), The Carew Arms has been designed as a hub for the community as well as a new dining destination for this often-overlooked part of Cornwall.
The Carew Arms might not break any moulds but with regularly updated menus showcasing outstanding local produce, affordable prices and a great location, it will have an enduring appeal – providing the perfect excuse to visit this beautiful part of Cornwall.
Written by Lucy Studley, August 2016
Image credits: Jean-Philippe Baudey and The Carew Arms
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