Sarah Orme discovered a quirky pub dining with surprising Asian twists when she visited the The Halsetown Inn
The Halsetown Inn is tucked away on a bend in a village just a twenty minute walk from bustling St Ives. It would be easy to let the curve of the road steer you past the pub, but if you did you’d be missing out on a surprising dining experience.
The inn was taken over three years ago by the team behind St Ives staple Blas Burgerworks, who’ve added their own touches to the ancient building including the addition of a huge quirky mural. The inn is split into four different dining spaces including a cosy bar and a room with long reclaimed wood tables for larger groups, which offer a little privacy without feeling cut off from the buzz of the restaurant.
At the heart of it all is Aussie chef Ange Baxter, who creates a lively menu featuring authentic Asian food. She says, ‘I was a bit scared to use Asian ingredients to begin with, as I wasn’t sure people would get it.’ Ange needn’t have worried: customers have embraced her cooking style and the regular theme nights are booked out.
A stunning Asian salad starter arrives as a colourful, fragrant mountain of carrots and beansprouts and it doesn’t disappoint – it’s sharp then sweet and full of complex flavours of lime, chilli, herbs and spices. Underneath the veg lies pork ribs braised in a Chinese master stock (currently two years old), which are meltingly soft with a hint of caramel. Also worth a try is the Helford River mussel laksa with a creamy chilli sauce and noodles, topped with a soft egg and bok choy, which is satisfyingly rich and warming. There are always two Asian starters and mains, and keep an eye on the specials, where Ange tests out new dishes.
The food has playful touches too which is most evident in the desserts. Chocolate pâté comes with biscuits which you can spread with childlike glee as you enjoy the grown-up combo of rich cocoa, olive oil and salt. A grilled banana split is accompanied by a stack of amber honeycomb in a beer glass with sticky caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. ‘People complain when I take them off the menu, so they’re here to stay.’ says Ange.
Review published in the June 2014 issue of Food Magazine.
Chicken noodle soup – chicken broth, orzo pasta, vegetables, basil pistou, £6.50
Trevaskis Farm sausages, baked chorizo and white bean stew, onion and garlic puree, kale, £13
Halsetown wagon wheel, shortbread, raspberry sorbet, toasted vanilla marshmallow, chocolate, £5.50
Don’t miss The Halsetown Inn’s popular theme nights.
The Halsetown Inn, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2ET
The Bar is open 11am til 3pm then 5.30pm til late. Food 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 9pm except Sundays – food until 3.30pm and closed in the evening.
Chef: Ange Baxter
Owners: Marie Dixon, Sally Cuckson, Lisa Taylor, Ange Baxter
- Kids welcome
- Dogs welcome
- Disabled access
- Outside catering
- Parking available
- Gluten free options
- Beer garden
- Wedding venue
- Online booking
Michelin Bib Gourmand, three Taste of the West gold awards.