The best places to eat, stay, shop and visit in the South West

Abi Manning gives her verdict on this Truro dining pub, which has served patrons of the local courthouse for over two centuries

What’s the draw?

Located in the heart of Cornwall’s capital, Grade II-listed The Wig & Pen has supplied nourishment and a warm welcome to a clientele of Truro locals and those from the nearby courthouse for over 200 years.

Lara and Tom Trubshaw (who also run The Peterville Inn in St Agnes) took over the pub in March 2022 after it had been shut for nearly a year. The pair have lovingly refurbished it, treating the interiors to a smart upgrade with tones of green and brass to complement the original stonework. The menu has been given an equally impressive boost thanks to the culinary wizardry of head chef Scott Williams.

Who’s cooking?

Scott’s CV lists a raft of respected South West establishments such as WestBeach in Bournemouth, The King’s Arms in Christchurch, Mannings in Truro (which achieved two AA rosettes under his leadership) and his own venue in the city, Gravy Boesti.

His M.O. is modern Cornish cuisine: seasonal and sustainable – with a few playful twists.

What to order?

Table nibbles provide a palate-teasing opener: choose from the likes of house breads, kedgeree scotch egg with piccalilli, and tempura autumn veg with sesame and soy dip.

A smattering of dishes from the small plates section of the menu can make for a feast with friends, or opt for one as a starter. Melt-in-the-mouth seared Fowey scallops were paired with caramelised squash puree, cured pork, toasted seaweed and fondant and crispy leeks, while rabbit ravioli – with rainbow chard and a carrot cracker – was bathed in a bowl-lickingly rich rabbit sauce.

Generous mains showcased Scott’s skill in crafting multidimensional dishes packed with layers of texture and flavour. Tender venison with sweet roasted plums were balanced with the umami notes of pickled beetroot puree and charred leek ash. Scott’s aim to minimise food waste was evidenced in a side of puff pastry pie filled with venison offcuts.

In another dish, marinated pork tenderloin was bedded in a burnt apple puree with charred broccoli and topped with Calvados-pickled apples. It’s not all fine-dining though, and options for those seeking more relaxed pub fare include beer-battered haddock and chips, and The Wig burger.

It’s a mark of quality to see easily bought-in elements being made in-house, and puds such as homemade apple sorbet with crumble and blackberries were carefully crafted.

It would be remiss not to pair this Cornish fare with an equally local drink, so accompany the excellent food with a Knightor or Camel Valley wine or fizz, or St Austell Brewery beer (starting with the pub’s own Judge’s Gavel ale).

Food’s tip

There are plans afoot to transform The Wig & Pen basement (which has had former guises as a nightclub and live music venue) into a subterranean fine-dining restaurant. Watch this space.

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