A FALMOUTH hotel's restaurant won a coveted third rosette at last night's exclusive AA Hospitality Awards 2018 at Grosvenor House in London.

Merchants Manor restaurant Rastella - which is Cornish for Grill - scooped the accolade following an inspection earlier in the year.

Hotel owner Nick Rudlin said: “We are absolutely delighted that Hylton Espey and his team have been awarded an AA Three Rosette award.

"Rastella has grown hugely over the last two years and we are ecstatic to be recognised as one of the best dining destinations in the country and one of only a handful in all of Cornwall.”

“Of all the restaurants across the UK there are approximately ten per cent of a standard which is worth an AA Three Rosette Award and above.”

Hylton is at the restaurant’s helm. The passionate head chef joined the hotel in 2016 after moving from South Africa with his family.

Influenced by his love for the outdoors, Hylton’s food philosophy ensures that all dishes combine fresh, sustainable and locally sourced ingredients, keeping the use of imports to a bare minimum.

He said: “I believe that what grows together, goes together. The location of the restaurant means we are within walking distance of perfect foraging spots where there are crystal clear rock pools brimming with life, sea cliffs abundant in green, hedgerows overladen with bounty and forests full of flavour.

“Our team is young and we are excited to carry on pushing what our plates mean and the story they tell our diners.”

The AA awards have no influence from hotels, restaurants or other guides, all accolades are awarded solely by AA Hotel and Restaurant Inspectors.

AA Inspector, Robert Martin praised Rastella and its team for its imaginative menu and its accuracy when balancing the flavours in each dish.

He said: “With skill and technique on the rise with each visit to Merchants Manor it is with great pleasure that Hylton and his team have achieved an AA Three Rosette Award, a notable achievement.

"The AA Three Rosette journey is tough with consistency over the seasons a key element, persistence and a dedication to the best ingredients has paid off well here.”

Rastella at Merchants Manor is located on Western Terrace, Falmouth. For more information visit www.merchantsmanor.com/food-and-drink/rastella/ or call 01326 608.