A FALMOUTH restaurant says it’s “over the moon” after being awarded three rosettes by the AA at a special awards ceremony in London on Monday night - in the first year of its existence!

Culture was only opened on Custom House Quay in 2022 by award winning chef Hylton Espey and his wife Petronella.

The restaurant’s sole focus is on giving guests an authentic dining experience showcasing amazing produce grown and harvested by hardworking individuals right here on our doorstep or responsibly sourced from further afield.

Falmouth Packet: Culture only opened last yearCulture only opened last year (Image: Culture)

The Packet experienced the restaurant’s culinary achievements for itself when it went to visit in January.

The restaurant says it is extremely proud that Culture has been awarded three AA Rosettes in the 2023/2024 guide.

“This is a massive achievement for us and we are over the moon,” they said. “It has been a tough year for hospitality, especially for a brand new business, so to be awarded this amongst some of the country’s best is a dream come true.”

Hylton Espey, Chef/Owner told the Packet: “After achieving three rosettes in 2018 at my previous kitchen it was definitely a goal I had for my own restaurant, Culture.

“When we received the news that we achieved this goal a few weeks ago we were ecstatic and struggled to bottle the excitement. It feels great to know that a restaurant concept I sketched out in my mind has been recognised so quickly. ”

The intimate restaurant with open kitchen and glass wine cellar has a tasting menu that takes you on a Journey around Cornwall.

The restaurant says that at a time where seasonal, locally grown produce needs to be in the limelight due to global climate crisis they want to educate their diners about soil health, responsible farming and true seasonality.

“We would like to thank all our farmers, fisherman, wine producers and guests - we could not have achieved this without all of them,” they said.

Hylton said he and Petronella moved to Falmouth in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the town.

“It has a real liveliness to it year round and the people here are great, the scenery is amazing and we even get surf before work in the winter when we are lucky,” he said.

“To achieve this accolade in our first year in the guide is truly amazing. Falmouth’s dining scene is certainly flourishing and we are so proud to put Falmouth on the Culinary map with other fantastic independent restaurants like The Mulberry and Restaurant Mine.”

Falmouth Packet: Left to Right: Bobby Metcalfe, Hylton Espey, Petronella Espey, Mia Kriegler, Tiaan Kriegler at the AA awards in London last nightLeft to Right: Bobby Metcalfe, Hylton Espey, Petronella Espey, Mia Kriegler, Tiaan Kriegler at the AA awards in London last night (Image: Culture)

The long-established AA Rosettes scheme celebrates successful cooking at different levels across the UK. Awarded by the AA's team of inspectors with their wealth of experience in assessing quality, receiving this award is a significant achievement in this industry and beyond.

Around 1,000 guests from across the UK hospitality sector gathered for the awards ceremony at JW Marriott Grosvenor House on Monday night (September 25).


Top Cornwall chef is voted the best Chefs' Chef in the country by AA

In their recommendation the AA inspector said: “Tucked away down a small side street which leads to the quay, this restaurant feels discreet, almost secret. Once inside, the look is very simple and stylish – a very low wooden-clad ceiling, likewise wooden flooring and unclothed, sturdy wooden topped tables.

“There’s a glass-fronted wine cellar, and the compact open kitchen means you can see exactly what’s going on. This transparency and simplicity is reflected in the food – chef Hylton Espey literally has nowhere to hide so you can expect complete honesty and integrity throughout.

“Front of house is run by Bobby, himself, an ex-chef who is naturally engaging and chatty. You won’t find descriptions of the food on the menu – just hints at land or sea or farm or hedgerow, with names like Spring Harvest, Carrick Roads, and Flurry.

“Each dish is explained as it arrives, the meal being ‘a story told over multiple courses’. Dishes are inspired by the Cornish landscape, with lots of foraged and very local produce. Cooking is simple and precise and ultimately the food is the star here.”