The radio told me that morning that 5,000,000 people in the UK were off on holiday that very day, some lucky devils fleeing the country and other fortunate folk heading to the foodie and beach goers’ haven that is Cornwall. Newquay, the ever-popular choice for holidaymakers due to its inviting stretches of sand and multitude of hotels, B&Bs and campsites, can sometimes begin to look a little rough around the edges. It doesn’t always provide visitors with the most accurate cross section of life in Cornwall, but what else is the GCG here for if not to point you in the direction of hidden gems?
Perhaps we had just beaten the latest surge of visitors, but much to my surprise, I didn’t spot a single caravan on the A30. We decided to conduct some research into the best places to escape the hustle and bustle of the streets of town in favour of a little sit down with something to tantalise the taste buds. I was due a reward after parking in the smallest bay I could find, so off we went in search of tea and cake. A window display in Central Square of pretty painted birdcages and glass cake stands atop floral tablecloths drew me into Martha’s Tea Room, where I indulged in a fat slice of Victoria sponge with a sugary cuppa. We sat in the sun for a while and noted the blackboard in the window offering fresh local crab sandwiches for £6.95. Bargain.
The Little Guys
Not to be missed is the nearby Little Kahuna, just a few paces uphill from Central Square, on Crantock Street. Open for lunch, though I expect particularly inviting in the evenings, Little Kahuna serves Thai and Indonesian inspired cuisine from an open kitchen, and hosts a fridgeful of liquid delights, from Camel Valley sparkling wine to Betty Stogs bitter. It’s not often you find an Oriental restaurant serving sumptuous desserts, but you’ll get them here, if you’re quick enough to book one of their six tables. It’s called Little Kahuna for a reason! At 1 Tower Road you’ll find Little Italy, similarly named though less miniature than the last eatery, serving authentic Italian pizza and fresh pasta. The business is run by a mother and son duo, the latter of which, the lovely Sam, took the time to talk me through the menu. They strive to use as much local produce as they can whilst keeping the menu distinctly Italian. All wines are Italian, they serve Lavazza coffee, and what can’t be bought locally is shipped from the continent. The restaurant is light, and has almost double the amount of covers than their previous spot on Crantock Street, where you can enjoy a short walk down to the beach after your homemade bruschetta and a classic tiramisu.
The Beached What?
Our final stop was at the top of Fore Street, and a café I had been eager to revisit for some time. The Beached Lamb is by no means pristine, but it is fantastic. Colourful and chaotic, this place always has plenty going on. Opened by couple Nicole and John, I chatted with them about the idea behind the business. “Do you want the long story, or the short story?” John asked. I opted for long, but I shall pass on the short. Returning to England, having met travelling in Australia, the pair opened a sandwich shop in Perranporth of the same name – which as it happens has no meaning and exists purely as a bit of fun and in the spirit of the odd names often given to traditional pubs. Moving to Newquay, they wanted to run a café they themselves would love to visit as customers. Each winter Nicole and John venture off on a trip for inspiration, backpacking and gathering great ideas for the next season, whether it’s a new style of mojito, or the Sabai chill out lounge filled with cushions from Thailand. Serving vegan brownies, organic soups, and freshly squeezed OJ, they take bookings for out of the ordinary classes such as Stand Up Paddle Yoga on the beach, which I am eager to try, and hold open mic nights every week, though I think it is best for all involved that I steer clear of those. It goes without saying, there is never a dull moment.
It turns out Newquay is a great place to delve in and root around for little treasures like these, with a real range of styles and attitudes to food and atmosphere. As you can see, if you dig a little deeper there’s often a great story to be told behind each one that will make your visit all the more rewarding.