Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Rub-a-dub-dub, How 'bout Some Pub Grub?

Welcome to the Bath Inn in Penzance -- that's Pete Shapland, owner, bartender, Pete-of-all-trades. We first visited the Bath Inn a few years ago. Jack was going to a local Rotary meeting and I was on my own.

The Bath Inn was close to our bed and breakfast and looked inviting. The building dates back to the 1700s. I was lucky that visit -- they're not serving food in the off season now -- just from Easter to September. I was there in October and ordered the Ploughman's Lunch -- a specialty. It was properly traditional and oh-so-good. It consisted of a large slab of mature cheddar with lettuce, tomato, onion and cucumber, cole slaw, pickled onion and chutney, accompanied with warm crusty bread and butter.

And, like so many places in this civilized and dog-friendly country, well-mannered companions are always welcome.

Close to Zoe and Simon's apartment in nearby Newlyn is the Tolcarne Inn. It dates back to 1717.

We hit this spot more than once. It's hard to resist the wonderful fresh fish and chips -- even if they do have to put peas on the plate!

This is the First and Last, a pub in Penzance. First documented in the 1850s, when a visitor was ticketed for leaving an unattended cart and horse in front of the pub, it probably dates back to 1830. Apparently beer laws were changed then and a number of pubs were established around that time.

We ate here twice on this year's visit. It's a Tuesday regular spot for Zoe and some of her co-workers. Very friendly staff -- they always save a table. The food, while not gourmet fare, was ample and inexpensive -- two requirements for the hungry civil servants! This was chicken curry. I expected something with more heat, but it was tasty nonetheless.

My next visit I had cottage pie with chips and beans. Man, those English sure know how to do French fries!

The definite winner in the Pub Grub sweepstakes was the Sportsmans Arms in Heamoor, just northwest of Penzance. The building probably goes back to the 1800s and has served as several things besides a pub. New owners, Helen Cadman and Paul Odgers, bought the place a year and a half ago and completely re-did it. And they took a spot with a less than stellar reputation and are turning it into a foodie destination.

They make almost everything in house and concentrate on fresh and local! My scampi was excellent. They also offer a number of local artisan cheeses. Simon ordered the day's special which featured three different kinds of local fish, mussels and shrimp and potatoes. What you don't see is the side dish with a variety of veg. Simon filled up on the fish plate and left no room for the veggies. Zoe had a bowl of homemade mushroom soup that was out-of-this-world. I know, because I dipped my spoon in it. Jack opted for meaty ribs with homemade barbecue sauce. They might not win prizes in Memphis or Kansas City but he gave them a big thumbs-up.

We tend to do a lot of cooking in when Jack and I visit but we do make the occasional foray out. Pub grub is usually a good choice, price-wise. Thanks to the puny dollar, everything is pretty expensive there. When we splurge, it's usually at the Taj for Indian food and the Newlyn Meadery is a firm tradition. It's hard to have a bad meal when you're in such good company!

No comments: