Hotel Review: The Old Quay House, Fowey in Cornwall
A visit to the Cornish coastline often brings up images of long lazy walks and beach visits with an evening spent lazily drinking wine and dining on delicious food. That is exactly what Fowey gave me with a little unexpected March sunshine thrown in for good measure.
The Old Quay House Hotel on the water’s edge offered my guest, Nick, and I a luxury haven for the evening with an impressive estuary view from our second floor room. I immediately felt relaxed and, with a few hours to myself, I made the most of the large, comfortable bed with an indulgent afternoon nap in the monochrome room. Black and white tartan curtains framed the windows and French doors while black chairs, white and pale grey walls, mirrored furniture and a grey headboard and knitted throw completed the look of the welcoming, fresh boutique style room. Wonderful extras such as ear plugs to drown out the seagulls, two raincoats, an umbrella and a pair of binoculars were also at hand should they be required along with an espresso machine and bathrobes. The bathroom looked so cosy with its warming coloured tiles and inviting with The White Company toiletries, stand alone bath and separate shower I just had to take a luxurious soak before my dinner at the resident restaurant, Q.
Before our dinner, Nick and I enjoyed a drink and a peruse of the a la carte menu in the compact monochrome bar. Head chef, Ryan Kellow, describes his cooking style as ‘classical French with a modern twist’ and loves to work with ingredients such as gooseberries, asparagus and different game meats including squab pigeon. Foods are seasonal and sourced locally throughout Devon and Cornwall including a butchers based in Fowey and seafood caught by local fishermen. With 6 starters, 7 mains and 5 desserts to choose from I felt there was plenty of variety including fish, game, red meat, white meat and more than one vegetarian options.
For my starter I opted for a plate of goats cheese mousse, beetroot, candied hazelnuts and balsamic and I was really pleased with my choice, especially when I saw how beautifully it was presented. The beetroot added a wonderful flash of colour and came in the form of a purée, crisp and sprinkles on the plentiful cheese. The main element of the dish, the goat’s cheese, was creamy, dense in flavour and crumbly in texture and there was a lot to go around. Maybe a little too much for me and I was glad for some bread to break up the flavour. The nuts added a lovely crunchy element and it was a winning start for me.
Nick opted for smoked duck, mushroom purée and plum, which was full of flavour. The duck was well smoked and complemented nicely with a sweet plum sauce and the earthy mushroom purée. The cold dish also tasted really good with our red wine choice of the evening – El Picador, Merlot, 2015 – and was also presented beautifully.
For my main course I chose the pigeon, pistachio gnocchi, wild garlic, kumquat and beetroot and was really pleased with the balance of sweet and earthy flavours. The melt in the mouth pigeon was delicious and smooth and was paired well with the earthy, chunky beetroot and dense, yet delicate, gnocchi. The creamy cooked kumquat hit me with its sweet and bitter flavour and is not a taste I like but I understood its requirement on the plate.
Nick enjoyed a ‘Plate of suckling pig,’ which consisted of pork loin, belly and black pudding and was served with mashed potato and carrots. He said the black pudding was salty, rich, textured and beautiful, while the belly was soft, tender, really moist and lovely. Nick decided that it was a really enjoyable plate of food with tender meat, creamy, soft mash and a good mix of flavours. His only gripe was that there was no crackling.
For our desserts we decided to share a dark chocolate fondant with orange, raspberries and vanilla ice cream as well as the selection of West Country cheeses with fig chutney, candied walnuts and crackers. The chocolate dessert was rich, smooth, warming and creamy with a fruity, tangy jus, uplifting vanilla ice cream and crisp biscuity pieces rounding off a delicious dish. Our cheese plate offered us a delightful end to the meal with a selection of creamy, hearty, garlicky, smooth and crumbly mix of tastes and textures to tantalise our taste buds.
The restaurant space offered a smart, contemporary setting for our dinner and brought elements of the outdoors in with driftwood style framed mirrors. Light wood flooring and off white walls combined with comfortable slate cushioned chairs, soft lighting and easy listening music finished off the fresh, modern space. Breakfast is also served here and showcases the incredible view with French doors leading out to a terrace, which I imagine would be a wonderful place to enjoy some al fresco dining in warmer months.
Providing you can navigate your way through the awkward one way Fowey streets, your stay at The Old Quay House is sure to be a relaxing one. The hotel offers 11 bedrooms in total over three floors, including a penthouse suite, all of which have their own individual style. Weddings can be celebrated at the hotel with an exclusive use option and a reception for up to 70. The Old Quay House offers unique stay packages including a ‘Food Foraging Break’ and ‘Gardens Package’ giving you the opportunity to experience more of Cornwall without having to organise the extras.
Fowey itself is a welcoming place with art and eateries a plenty and outstanding walks with top notch views. A short boat trip across the River Fowey to Polruan can offer up a number of walks at varying distances around the coastline while a stroll along the esplanade leads to Ready Money Cove for starters – a glorious spot for a sunbathe or picnic.
In a nutshell
The Old Quay House offers an idyllic coastal haven showcasing Cornwall’s picturesque views with a menu to impress.
Address: 28 Fore St, Fowey PL23 1AQ / 01726 833302