Cowell’s Cuisine

A new column celebrating the best of Cornish produce

Tony Cowell is a foodie fanatic and reviews some of Cornwall’s hidden gems and celebrated haunts. Get behind the fantastic food and find out the stories of the producers the county has to offer.

La Cave, Falmouth

Imagine going underground for French food….not in the Paul Weller sense but down stairs to a cellar located off the Old High Street in Falmouth. This was once a great burger place I went to with X Factor star Matt Cardle when he arrived for a weekend of fishing and food. So I was intrigued when it re-opened in its current guise as La Cave - a wine bar and devotee of classic French cooking but with Cornish ingredients.

On our visit, we skipped the starters - but were tempted by the delicious and varied offerings of boeuf tartare and Moules Normandes. Heading straight for the main courses, I chose a rustic French staple of a spring lamb stew. One of my most favourite foodie experiences across the channel was in the delightful village of St Valerie when I had a simple stew of beef and carrots; served on a chipped patterned dinner plate which still resonates in my taste buds to this day. I had lofty expectations and La Cave certainly didn’t disappoint. Allowing the ingredients to speak for themselves, this wonderfully hearty yet light dish ticked all the boxes for sumptuous stewey heaven. Mrs C was almost swayed by the baby garden vegetables with free range poached duck egg- she is a slave to a poached egg- but eventually plumped for the Morue Veronique. An echo of the 1970’s standard cuisine François: cod served in a Vermouth and grape cream sauce with curly kale and a deliciously crispy rosti.

It certainly passed the silent treatment…in that Mrs C was quiet for several minutes as she savoured every bite. So an added treat for me…

There was a vast array of side dishes including potato gratin, green beans and the wonderfully crisp French fries are an extra treat for the savvy diner…but do save space for dessert. The sharp tangy Green Apple Sorbet with Calvados was delightfully refreshing and the added nostalgic home-made brandy snap had us hankering for an early 80’s dinner party.

The trio of Crème Brulee was executed beautifully and didn’t disappoint!

Not surprisingly there is a huge list of Champagne on the wine list – which Mrs C soon sniffed out but the house red at £4.75 a glass was good value, (and yes, I always order the house wine!)

Creating an authentic French Brasserie in Cornwall is a big ask, and La Cave pulls it off. It’s a brave move and one that deserves to succeed. Be prepared to wait for your meal as it is reassuringly cooked fresh, so sit back and enjoy the ambience of the candle lit cellar. It’s not the cheapest restaurant in Falmouth but the charm of the décor, the atmosphere, and enthusiasm from the staff for fabulous French cooking is La Cave’s raison d’être. We shall return.

La Cave - Basement, 29 High St, Falmouth TR11 2AD - Phone: 01326 617510