With a peaceful location overlooking the water and great food being served up across two restaurants, it’s easy to see why visitors choose the relaxing St Enodoc Hotel for their stay in Cornwall’s exclusive village of Rock.
Having made a name for itself in the UK’s gastronomy scene, what makes Rock stand out from neighbouring Padstow – just a short boat trip away – and other popular Cornish seaside towns and villages is its tranquil nature, a place where you can just sit, watch the water flowing in and out of the Camel Estuary and take some time out to wander the coastline, explore and then return for some really great victuals.
I headed to the privately owned Cornish boutique hotel at the end of April to sample a slice of its gastronomic offering and to enjoy the relaxed pace that Cornish hospitality embodies.
The St Enodoc Hotel started life as a hotel in the 1920s and this Edwardian building has seen many an exciting guest here over the years, including hosting Princess Alexandra of Kent during the war. After a refurbishment in 1999, it built upon its reputation as the place to stay for a coastal Cornish getaway with a great food offering at its core.
Offering two restaurants, an outdoor pool and spa, a large space for kids and teens to hang out when holidaying here, beautifully tended to grounds, cosy and contemporary décor across the lounges, and comfortable rooms that offer that chic, coastal vibe, this four-star haven is a top choice for holidays by the sea.
Works by local artists grace the walls, the well-tended to grounds provide a welcome setting to enjoy some relaxing time with panoramic views of the countryside and water; this is a hotel that welcomes all and aims to make everyone’s stay a fulfilled one.
With 17 double rooms and four suites, a mix of estuary and non-estuary views rooms, the hotel hasn’t rewritten the rulebook when it comes to decorating for a coastal retreat, so expect a cool colour palette with blues, stripes and light wood furniture – the perfect place to rest when the sea air leaves you longing for a nap.
The comfort factor is high with large, snug beds providing long, restful snoozes and a window seat proving to be the perfect location to curl up with a book. There’s also a TV to entertain you should you wish to wind down in your room and a hospitality tray to hand to accompany any viewing. Some rooms boast sweeping estuary views from their lofty location, and all are graced with the beautifully scented Bramley toiletries in their bathrooms, which I’m always happy to see.
Expect locally caught seafood and creatively crafted dishes from executive chef Guy Owen and his team across the two restaurants at The St Enodoc Hotel. Karrek is the fine dining option, open Thursday to Saturday evenings, and The Brasserie is a more relaxed eatery providing guests’ breakfast, lunch, dinner and a light menu throughout the day.
I enjoyed a very appetising nine-course tasting menu in Karrek, which welcomes diners into its relaxing, monochrome space for a culinary journey around the locale. From a delectable selection of Cornish snacks to a mouth-watering scallop dish and delightful smoky duck to two gorgeous desserts, this was a feast like no other. You can read more about this meal here.
I also tucked into a three-course dinner and breakfast in The Brasserie, which sits on two levels and benefits from outdoor seating too, perfect for enjoying good food and good weather simultaneously.
The dinner menu consisted of snacks such as saffron arancini with truffle mayonnaise; starters including mackerel tartare with ginger, soy and kohlrabi; main courses such as pork chop, peas a la Française and tater tots; and side dishes including squash, lentil and yogurt. The dessert menu included sweet treats like a strawberry and white chocolate mille feuille with after dinner cocktails to tempt as well.
I devoured a delightful burrata dish, which was accompanied by fig, chicory, toasted seeds, and a honey and mustard dressing (£11). It was cool, fresh, prettily presented, well flavoured and balanced and with great texture too. The mackerel starter, I was told, was refreshing with a little zing, warmth and uplifting elements to create a great balance of flavours.
There were plenty of dishes to tempt, but the buttermilk fried chicken with hot sauce, ranch and fries (£24) won me over for my main course, and I was so glad I chose it. Beautifully crisp chicken skin gave way to juicy meat and the leg had plenty of meat to make for a fulfilling plate of food alongside a salad, fries and the sauces.
Desserts consisted of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (£12), which was a delightful take on the American classic with jaconde sponge, a peanut butter parfait, jelly cubes and peanuts making a mouth-watering dish. I opted for the cinnamon donut with crème pâtissiere and salted caramel (£11), this was so utterly delightful and a great treat for someone (me!) who could quite easily scoff a donut a day but finds the willpower from somewhere to enjoys only the occasional sugar dusted treat. This version was gorgeous and warm with a good balance of sweet flavours and a big dollop of ice cream to lighten the palate.
Rock is a small village with a relaxed vibe, and this doesn’t stop visitors from flowing in during the summer months. The beaches provide an idyllic location to explore or lounge, and the coast path can take you to a number of local hot spots including Daymer Bay and Polzeath. Don’t miss out on a visit to Padstow, just hop on the ferry and you’ll be there in minutes. From here you can enjoy boat trips, shopping, more great food and much more.
At the hotel, there’s the outdoor pool to keep you busy as well as the lounges to relax in with a good selection of boardgames to challenge your companions, and youngsters have the benefit of two dedicated spaces to while away the hours with sofas, tables, games, a football table and table tennis to keep them occupied.
In a nutshell
The village of Rock and The St Enodoc Hotel provides the perfect place to escape to and enjoy the best of both the countryside and coast with great food, a relaxing environment and the typical friendly and laid-back Cornish welcome in good supply.
Address: Rock Rd, Rock, Wadebridge PL27 6LA
Tel: 01208 863394
See snippets of my travels on Instagram @tashheard_food_travel
All imagery supplied by The St Enodoc Hotel.