Catherine Jones braves the narrow lanes to get down with the locals at Gorran Haven
Who doesn’t love a picture postcard Cornish fishing village? Admittedly, it takes a little while to drive to Gorran Haven, the next inlet along from the busy little port of Mevagissey, but it’s worth it for its winding streets, sandy beach and whitewashed stone cottage charm, and even if you think your car won’t make it down the last stretch of narrow hedgerow-lined lane – you will. It’s all part of the charm that only increases as you arrive at The Llawnroc Hotel.
With just 18 unique rooms it has an exclusive feel, and it’s spacious, with the rooms generously proportioned and luxurious. Outside, there’s a fabulous, sea-facing open terrace with plenty of comfy spots – I could quite easily stay here ALL day.
Heading up the small team of friendly staff are general manager Stephen Marsh and head chef Max Savage – and they’re quite a duo. Both have only been at The Llawnroc for a few months, and are busy making changes and plans for the future including opening out the bar area and introducing a new swimming pool. Max has devised new menus, a clever combination of bar food (fish and chips were flying out of the kitchen on a Friday night) and elegant fine dining, and you can mix and match from different menus.
A linguine with crab, crayfish, mussels, pesto and cream was sea-fresh and vibrant, especially with the addition of samphire. And he does a mean eton mess dessert, too. After all that bustle, breakfast is a calm and elegant experience, and inventive additions to the menu (the avocado, poached egg and chilli is a heavenly surprise) add Llawnroc panache.
Steven and Max’s passion for this place is unquestionable and it’s nice to know too that they’re on a mission to charm the locals, genuinely wanting to support the village and make The Llawnroc a community hub. The presence of a jolly group having a drink and local musicians playing in the bar creates a warm atmosphere, so you don’t feel like you’ve landed in Gorran Haven, you feel like you’re part of it – and what a good feeling it is too.
This review first appeared in the July-August 2015 issue of Food magazine.
The Llawnroc Hotel, Chute Lane, Gorran Haven, St Austell, Cornwall, PL26 6NU