Blue Plate, Downderry

Diners have fun at this lively circus of home-crafted treats, in-house deli and creative drinks on the south Cornish coast, discovers Jo Rees

Stepping into Blue Plate is like having all your senses walloped at once: bottles of homemade gin, stacks of freshly baked focaccia, jars of sauces, curated wines, a chiller of cheeses, St Kitt’s Cornish herbal elixirs and piles of books and magazines assault the oculus, before a delicious gust of home cooking and rockin’ tunes deliver the follow-up.

First you’ll hit the deli, which forms the front of the building, and is the local haunt for evenings spent working through a gin list while mainlining dripping scoops of molten Cornish brie on pickled carrots and chewy home-baked sourdough.

Beyond it, the restaurant is more formal, though still lively and fully onboard with the theme of getting as much quirky stuff into the space as possible. Magpies will love it, minimalists less so, but it undoubtedly makes for a good-time vibe.

Keeping the party swinging is owner Sam, who comes from a Michelin background and manages the front of house like a ring master. Partner Simon is in the kitchen, delivering a menu of crowd-pleasing classics such as the daily local catch (baked in the pizza oven) with samphire and salsa verde, 28-day-aged Cornish ribeye with all the trimmings, and homemade fettuccine with roasted butternut squash and wild mushroom broth.

VISIT for a vibrant evening being looked after by a team who genuinely care about your experience. Their passion for doing things well is demonstrated in the number of elements crafted in-house: sourdough, pizza dough, gin, pickles, kimchi – the list goes on. And what’s not made at Blue Plate is thoughtfully sourced, so coffee comes from artisan Cornish roastery Sabins and the ‘our favourites’ drinks selection – Macclesfield’s Forest Gin, Nordes from Galicia and Copperhead Belgian beer – keeps company with local Fowey Brewery beers.

DON’T VISIT for the food alone. It’s great – but not so unusual that it’s worth a long drive-time. However, it’s when you sum the parts of Blue Plate that it becomes somewhere totally worth going out of your way for.

WE LIKED the starter of peeled king prawns (with heads and tails still on) wrapped in a cloud of vermicelli-like Greek kataifi pastry. Crisp, sweet, umami-rich … and gone in a moment.

Insider's tip

The gin selection is worth the squabble over who'll drive home.

What we ate (dinner)

Starter King prawns, kataifi pastry, chilli jam salsa

Main Baked Looe Bay catch, salsa verde, samphire, lemon

Pud Winter apple and berry crumble, rosemary, honey, Cornish cream

3 courses from £21.75

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