The Cove at Maenporth is a secret gem of a place.

It's only a few minutes from Falmouth but driving the lane with the swans on your right, reaching the beach and seeing St Anthony's lighthouse on the Roseland, you can feel light years away from modern life.

And you kind of are, as there's no phone signal.

The Cove has a quiet confidence, a slightly knowing member's club air about it. That sounds like it's a bad thing, but it isn't as the guys and girls working there welcome you as if you're a longtime member.

There's an understated gift in being able to welcome and serve customers with a warmth that doesn't overstep into familiarity, and the staff have it.

I could write about the menu all day long and yet, interestingly, the owners have not. It is a factual account of what will be on your plate and it in no way prepares you for the dynamic taste experience that you're going to get.

Again, there's understatement - and that's The Cove all over.

We chose two starters and mains on a windy and grey November day. The weather dictated crispy tiger prawns with aioli and gremolata and a fish finger sandwich with a quinoa salad for my friend. The view made me lean to scallops, nettles, watercress, quail's egg with sea spaghetti to start, followed by The Fal Bay Trio - mackerel, scallop and smoked haddock with tarragon and caper veloute.

The prawns had blackened tails but the flesh was perfect, the aioli light and clean and the gremolata a first for us both. As such, we can't compare it to other versions of this Italian herb sauce, but that's OK as we both became instant fans.


The scallops were the best I've ever eaten, cooked to perfection. I have to admit to struggling with the sea spaghetti. I just didn't like it, it was kind of crunchy, kind of hard but not in a fresh vegetable way. Perhaps it's an acquired taste.

The big win for me were the nettles. I can't work out how they were cooked, they were in pristine form but appeared to have a veil of frost on them. They were green and fresh yet crispy. I guess it's frying, it's just that they held their form so well.


Prepare yourself if you choose a fish finger sandwich here - it is enormous! Really good quality fish, fried lightly but firmly and with great bread.

I loved the mackerel and scallops but got a bit fished out so didn't enjoy the smoked haddock as much - but I did it to myself by doubling up on the scallops.


The salad looked and tasted exquisite. We were offered a quinoa salad, and as you can see from the photo, we got a lot more than what that sounds like.

And that's the thing with The Cove.

From the outside, the building is big, grey and sits uncomfortably in its beach environment. The Cove has a balcony and a covered dining area leading in to the building and none of it gives you any hint of the easy sophistication of both the food and drink on offer.

There's real knowledge and talent here. It's a gem, go join the club.

Key information

Drinks selection: Strong leaning to Cornish producers. Emphasis on variety, for example there are 13 gins on offer, many cocktails and mocktails.

Our cost (two people, without drinks): £32.50

Contact: The Cove Bar & Restaurant, Maenporth Beach, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 5HN;; 01326 251136

Opening times: Open all year round. Lunch served 12pm - 2pm, on Sundays 12pm - 5pm. Dinner served 6.30pm - 9.30pm.


Atmosphere: 3/5

Décor: 3/5

Food: 4/5

Service: 5/5

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.