The Kitchen, Falmouth: restaurant review
We try home-style bubble and squeak with crispy mackerel and locally-brewed Verdant Brew at this Cornish restaurant, The Kitchen
* This restaurant is now closed
Looking for restaurants in Cornwall? Read our review of this easy-going British restaurant The Kitchen, and check out more suggestions for eating in Cornwall here.
In a nutshell: Tucked away in Falmouth’s Old Brewery Yard, The Kitchen is a uniquely laidback Cornish restaurant focussing on freshly grown, shot or foraged British produce.
Chef Ben Coxhead runs the tiny open kitchen (which is only slightly bigger than the dining room itself) and has local form – with The Scarlet in Tredragon and Oliver’s in Falmouth on his CV. Artist Rory Blair, who Ben co-owns the restaurant with, runs front of house. The pair originally wanted to keep bees together but that ambition quickly grew to having a small patch of land that would service the restaurant and force the pair into working with the land all year round.
What's the vibe?
With only a handful of tables (wooden, with tree bark still in tact) and an eclectic decor of mismatched chairs, wine bottles for water, recycled tins to hold the cutlery, bunches of hanging dried chillies, fag packets and well-weathered books, The Kitchen is more like a hippie living room than a restaurant (in the best possible way).
The soundtrack, too, is unconventional (and all the better for it). Competing with the clatter and splatter of the kitchen, dubstep through to drum and bass and hip hop plays unapologetically (fans can find them on Spotify) and Rory, Ben and the team will probably be found happily effing and blinding to each other as they work. It’s as chilled out and casual as it gets – except when it comes to the food. That they take very seriously indeed.
What's the food like?
There’s not a menu as such – it’s either scrawled on a large mirror hanging on the wall for lunch or an antique tile for dinner. We stop by for the former, where there’s a simple choice of pigeon or mackerel with poached egg and bubble and squeak, flatbreads or ‘chef’s plate’ which is “different every time”.
After having a chat about how hungry we are, we’re pointed in the direction of the fish and squeak. We’re expecting humble but we’re met with surprisingly smart flavours and textures. There’s crisp skin, tender flakes from the mackerel, proper roast dinner flavour, mushy home-style bubble and squeak, seasonal greens, charred cauliflower, sweet roasted carrots, a rubble of colourful, crunchy pickles, and soft, oozing eggs. Plus a smear of something, a drizzle of something else and a pinch of fiery spice. It’s homely but there’s no mistaking it’s come from a professional (excitable) kitchen.
And the drinks?
Try the locally brewed Verdant Brew Kitchen beer.
olive tip: Whatever time of day you visit, arrive with an open mind but at dinner, in particular, expect the unexpected. Menus aren’t published in advance, and even when you do get a glimpse its selection of small plates are kept vague – think partridge and cockles, rabbit and scurvy, or simply ‘summer stuff’. Order everything, tasting menu style. Oh, and say hi to the resident poodle.
Old Brewery Yard, Falmouth, Cornwall TR11 2BY
Words by Laura Rowe
Images by Laura Rowe, Rory Blair