The Mystery Diner is a new series of independent restaurant reviews that will appear fortnightly.

The Chain Locker is a proper Falmouth pub.

It’s clear that the locals missed it while it was shut – the bar downstairs is never quiet.

And well done to St Austell Brewery for restoring it to its former glory.

It’s done that in a literal sense, keeping the feel of an old-fashioned dockside boozer, dutifully returning the many artefacts within to their original spots on the walls.

More than that, it has teamed this feel with a modern restaurant on the first floor, named Coastal Pub and Kitchen.

It makes for a great mix – the chance to have a pint downstairs and a top notch meal upstairs.

And top notch it most certainly is.

Having visited for a drink a few times since it reopened just over a year ago after a nine-month restoration programme, this diner returned for a meal for the first time and was not disappointed.

The menu is extensive, offering a mix of seafood, pub classics, meat-lovers dishes and vegetarian and vegan options.

To give you an idea, there are mussels, burgers that include classic, wild boar, chicken and halloumi, sausage and mash, Hunter’s Chicken, gammon, egg and pineapple, steak, curries and fish catch of the day.

There’s also a daily specials menu and an oyster bar menu.

Expecting decent portions, we decided to share a starter of salt and pepper squid. It was just right, served with a small side salad. The squid was flavoursome, with just the right amount of seasoning.

We thought it was just right, until our mains arrived.

I ordered buttermilk honey and BBQ chicken wings from the specials menu and I’ve never seen anything like it.

Expecting maybe half-a-dozen bitesize wings, what arrived was epic.

There were no less than five wings, which one can only assume came from some sort of super chicken. They were huge.

Falmouth Packet:

Coated in breadcrumbs and the aforementioned honey and barbecue flavouring, they came accompanied by a pot of buttermilk sauce, a healthy portion of chips, coleslaw and salad.

I soon realised that I was in for a bit of a battle. The wings were superb, the coating was moreish, full of flavour and they were just beautifully done. The best chicken wings I’ve ever had.

This doesn’t happen often, but I ended up regretting what I thought was a small starter when I struggled through wing number five, without success.

The other half had the Thai chicken curry, served with steamed rice and prawn crackers. It was also a taste sensation, more filling than its aesthetics would imply.

Falmouth Packet:

Dessert for us was off the table, but you can choose delights such as stem ginger pudding, chocolate brownie, toffee and honeycomb cheesecake, ice cream and sorbet.

We left the Chain Locker feeling heartily satisfied, having had an excellent, good-value meal in cosy surroundings looking out across the harbour.

They’ve got it just right.

Key information

Drinks selection: A wide range of beers, lagers and ciders, including St Austell favourites such as Tribute and Korev. There’s an extensive wine list with choices from around the world across a range of budgets.

Our cost (two people, without drinks): £35

Contact: Quay Street, Falmouth, TR11 3HH;; 01326 311085

Opening times: Sunday to Thursday 8am to 11pm; Friday and Saturday 8am to 1am.


Atmosphere: 5/5

Décor: 5/5

Food: 5/5

Service: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

In order to ensure objective reviews, the Mystery Diner is carried out on an independent basis without the prior knowledge of the establishment.