Gwineas’ chic, contemporary interior wouldn’t look out of place in a city centre, with its glass front and subtle tones of silver, purple and black, so there’s a pleasing juxtaposition in it being set in a valley overlooking the sea in Cornwall.
It’s all very cool: water for the table arrives in tall cylindrical jugs, reminiscent of school science lab beakers, while fragrant parsnip, honey and cumin soup is served in an unusual wave-shaped bowl with light homemade bread.
The menu is as polished as the restaurant itself: delicately flavoured lemon and rosemary chicken comes with a warm salad and an intense shot of smoky bacon. Sticky pork is paired with apple, spicy chorizo and roast potatoes with paprika.
The dessert menu is no less inventive; gooseberry fool hides a frozen centre and, surprisingly, popcorn. Cherry doughnuts with syrupy hot chocolate sauce for dipping are likely to draw envious glances from other diners who picked a different option. Peach melba comes as a whole roasted peach with mint green pistachio ice cream, which sits neatly on a crisp crumb bed.
Despite its cosmopolitan facade, Gwineas is local at heart, and named after a reef off Mevagissey. Seafood features heavily on the menu, with around 85 per cent of it sourced from Mevagissey dayboats.
‘The important thing is to keep the food miles as low as possible,’ says head chef Jon Palmer. ‘A guy in the harbour brings us whole lobsters and we pick them by hand. A lot of our fruit and veg is sourced close by and our menus change depending on what is available at any one time.’
Jon is well established on the Cornish food scene, having previously worked at The Headland Hotel, The Cornwall and Watergate Bay. He joined The Llawnroc in September and aims to turn Gwineas into a dining destination. ‘You’ve got to offer something special for people to come this far – St Austell is 14 miles away,’ he says. SO
Try Jon’s recipe for barbecued mackerel with asparagus and broad beans.