In a word
Type of cuisine
The hotel does classic hotel fodder well. There are also some more contemporary dishes on the menu, which use seasonal produce as a priority; meaning there is a lot of seafood and local vegetables on offer.
Balancing the traditional hotel style catering that appeals to the hotel’s major clientèle, with some more modern uses of local produce, this hotel is definitely one that appeals to families or an older generation. That said, they do also have a spa on site, which is targeted towards younger people, and there are more contemporary parts of the hotel being added.
With some adventurous menu additions, I’d say they are starting to attract a younger audience, and I hope to see the food become more of a star as time goes on.
Set on the banks of the stunning Helford river near Falmouth, the Budock Vean has a long history. In fact, the manager pointed out that during the war it was a place for local ladies to meet returning naval chaps for dinner dances. I mean he actually lifted up the carpet to show me where the dancefloor was, which was bizarre.
The dining room, as such, was quite formal, with a pianist playing in the lobby. There was totally a Miss Marple vibe going on, and on the huge round table of other guests, we spent some time trying to guess whodunnit. Marple herself was as plain as day.
Well stocked with a selection of Cornish goodies, the bar was comfortable, and had a more contemporary feel to it. We were given menus as we sat down to canapés. Even getting canapés was a total bonus, and they were delicious to boot. With tempura prawns, a cheese straw and small parma ham bites, we were kept entertained when we were at the bar.
The Barnes lucks out on starters!
Being obsessed with seafood, and particularly scallops, I was happy to have that smug I-totally-picked-the-right-thing feeling when my starter arrived. Especially when it sat next to a ham hock terrine, which looked like something my Nan would have lurking in the back of her cupboard. But to be fair, I am essentially a vegetarian, so I wouldn’t have ordered this. Accompanied by homemade piccalilli, which was apparently very strong, this seemed to be on the menu to satisfy the Marple crew. The scallops were slightly sweet in a caramelised butter-y way, and were served with a cauliflower purée, which was bang en trend in terms of flavour and seasonality.
Make no missed-hake
My main was good. I had pan fried hake in lemon butter with wilted cavalo nero and it tasted great: seasonal, tender and again had a gentle sweetness that fresh fish does. The lemon butter worked well. It was ever so slightly overdone, but only where the fish really varied in thickness, which is an easy mistake to make.
Rose, however, had Cornish beef with mini carrots and potatoes in a Madeira sauce, with chive butter, and she said it was excellent. The beef looked really melt-in-the-mouth tender, and the sauce was perfect with it. Again, the focus was on providing seasonal vegetables and not over working them, and this was perfect.
The quality of the next image is a shocker, but if I don’t break up the text, you’ll leave altogether, so I apologise for this.
No it’s not a spelling mistake. I know it’s rare, but I was sooooo full, I couldn’t really eat the dessert. I think I am often really full but when there’s chocolate I just go past the fullness. But there wasn’t chocolate. Unless you count white chocolate, which I’m afraid I don’t. And I *may* have eaten a ton of nachos before I left the house. So I ate the slithers of soft poached pear, and prodded my adequate white chocolate cheesecake thing around the plate a bit, before admitting how full I was.
As if this wasn’t enough, we were then served coffee and locally made fudge in the lounge.
The lounge areas were far more modern than the dining room, which led me to believe that perhaps the rooms and the spa were also a little more up-to-date too.
The food was good and I know from living nearby that the hotel is in one of the most beautiful locations in Cornwall. It was dark when we went there, so unfortunately I couldn’t take pictures of the view on the night, but below is one of my favourite beach nearby.
The Helford river is famous for seafood, stunning small beaches and biscuit tin villages, and this hotel is right on the banks. For local food that spans classic to contemporary, and with friendly staff, this a great hotel.
The restaurant is open every night and for lunches throughout the day.
Budock Vean Hotel
General enquiries: 01326 250288
Reservations: 01326 252100