Mark Pugh shares his thoughts after sampling the delights on offer at The Queens Hotel, St Ives.
Their mission: To offer delicious food in a great pub atmosphere. The place: The Queens Hotel, High Street, St Ives. The time: A quiet Tuesday evening in October.
Sitting in the comfortable environment of The Queens Hotel in St Ives brought back memories of the fun I experienced when I first discovered pubs and eating out as a young adult. Those memories were reinforced by the wonderful three-course meal (and a small sample of locally produced beer) I enjoyed at the newly refurbished establishment.
Whilst chatting with manager Neythan Hayes I hear about how his dreams of running a great pub with superb food have now become a reality. Neythan and partner Sarah, opened the hotel earlier this year. “Since opening at Easter we’ve gone from strength to strength as people have heard about the quality of our menu and the friendliness of the place.”
In October The Queens Hotel was awarded four stars for the accommodation and a rosette for food by the AA, a feat unequalled by a pub in St Ives. Upstairs the lovely bedrooms, beautifully furnished with king sized beds and all new bathrooms, are tastefully decorated with antiques and Cornish pictures.
Downstairs the well stocked bar features local beer sitting alongside the better-known brands and the tasteful yet unfussy menu offers a mouthwatering feast. Chef Matt Perry and his team use locally sourced ingredients where possible. “Many people like to see that the menu’s ingredients are local,” explained Matt. “We aim to cater for those tastes and yet keep it simple and delicious.”
The Queens Hotel asks for only the best from its suppliers. Each ingredient is scrutinised before an order is placed. The local butchers hang the meat for longer than the usual time allotted at the request of Matt: “We have the beef hung for 28 days thanks to the cooperation of Harvey Brother’s the butchers. This means our steak is more tender and therefore more delicious when it comes to being used in our menu.”
My companion, a vegetarian, ordered a starter of Jerusalem artichoke soup, truffle oil and bread: “Aromatic, delicately flavoured with a creamy texture.” The main: Stir-fry vegetables, tagliatelle and toasted sesame seeds. “Beautifully presented, also delicious.”
My starter: Soused Mackerel fillet, beetroot-cured salmon, cucumber and dill salad. “Tender, tasty and certainly a delight for the taste buds.” My main: 28 day hung rump steak, with sun blushed plum tomatoes, herb crusted flat mushroom and a side dish of chunky chips. “So tasty I didn’t want to spoil the taste by following the main with a pudding.” Needless to say I still followed my main course with a gorgeous lime cheesecake, ginger and lemongrass ice-cream.
Previously, chef Matt worked at The Victoria Inn in Perranuthnoe, and although not formally trained, his education took place in real working kitchens. In fact for chef Matt it all started a lot earlier thanks to his parents running the King’s Arms in Marazion.
Managers Neythan and Sarah, along with chef Matt and the rest of the staff, have certainly done a wonderful job creating what must be one of Cornwall’s best pubs with grub. Mission accomplished? Definitely!
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‘Hotel Review: The Queens Hotel, St Ives’ is taken from our Dec/Jan 2012, Vol.2 Issue 9. Subscribe to myCornwall magazine for more stories like this one.