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A whole new world

Step out of the ordinary and into a place framed with a glamourous nostalgia from days gone by, infused with a passion for only the most indulgent of flavours. Words by Rosie Cattrell.

Those who have visited the Penventon Park Hotel will know that when you step foot through the doors, you find yourself stepping into a new world entirely, far removed from the dull noise of day-to-day life. Curated to embody the sophistication of old Europe, the innovation of Cornwall and the theatre, drama and sheer grandeur of Italy, this is a place made for those looking to escape the ordinary for a little while. 

Once a Georgian mansion, Penventon is part of a rich historical tapestry dating all the way back to the early 19th century, but it wasn’t until 1969, when it was bought by David and Paola Pascoe, alongside his brother George and wife Joan, that it began to take form as the luxury hotel that we know today. “We like to provide our guests with experiences,” explains Jess Pascoe, Marketing Manager at the hotel. “Each corner they turn is a new sight to see, such as the Copper Bar, fully wrapped in rippled copper and custom made for us by Michael Johnson at Copper Works, Newlyn. The artisan bar captures us perfectly. Each aspect of the hotel carefully reflects us – the bar for example to reflect the rich mining history Redruth has, and the Dining Galleries reflect our own history.” 

It was David Pascoe’s passion for art that was the inspiration for the restaurant, which would not only become a place where people could enjoy good food with their loved ones, but a place to admire art. Each wall is filled with various pieces, many of which he painted himself – one of his most admired being ‘Animal in Man’, which you can’t miss on the wall of the restaurant, with many more of David’s paintings on display throughout the hotel. As you wander the halls of the hotel it can be difficult to turn your gaze from the enchanting décor, dotted with gilded paintings, plush velvets, mirrors, antiques, objets d’art, a grand piano, silks and satins, all carefully placed to give the feel of somewhere that could well have been imagined. 

The creativity to be found throughout Penventon also merges with the menus, all the while putting each guest at the forefront of everything the team do. “We start by sourcing the finest seasonal produce,” Jess continues, “ensuring that each ingredient is at its peak of flavour, which greatly impacts our menu as we match our dishes to the seasons. While summer might bring something zesty and refreshing, winter might inspire something hearty and comforting. For example, our chefs are looking to do a ‘campfire stew’ this winter, a nice warming dish packed with flavour.”

One recent dish at the hotel to have found a place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike is the Cornish Seafood Linguini, centred on Cornish fish caught fresh that morning, served in a lightly creamed bisque sauce, with rich tomatoes and fresh spring onion. Jess tells me that the Pan Seared Calves’ Liver has also been a popular choice this season, seared in a red-hot pan, then rested for that perfect pink centre, and served with buttered mash, parma ham crisp, tenderstem broccoli, and silver skin onion and red wine jus for pouring. 

“We also have a classic selection of dishes that have been favourites on the menu for years,” Jess adds, “These include our most ordered dish (ever): our famous Authentic Andalusian Pil Pil Prawns, flambéed in olive oil and chilli, with two pieces of warm garlic and rosemary focaccia, ideal for soaking up the sauce. This is a classic secret recipe that only a handful of people know, as it was gifted to Aaron Pascoe from the family’s favourite restaurant in Spain. After years of going there, a friendship formed between the owner and Aaron, and after ordering the same dish for every single visit, the owner took Aaron into the kitchen to show him their authentic way of making Pil Pil Prawns, a recipe that is still a secret to this day.”

For the sweet tooths among you, another beloved Penventon dish is the Tiramisu, lovingly known as ‘Mrs P’s Tiramisu’. Paola Pascoe first brought this recipe over from Venice, Italy when she moved. The recipe is now over 60 years old, and the hotel’s most well-known and popular dessert. Listening closely to the guest’s preferences and dietary needs is another aspect that the team take into consideration, aiming to offer a diverse range of dishes that will satisfy and please a range of tastes, while keeping it new and exciting for locals and regulars. What’s more, sustainability is woven into every menu’s development, from responsible sourcing to minimising food waste. 

When the sun dips behind the horizon, the lights are dimmed at Penventon Park Hotel, and evenings made for late nights and long conversations stretch out into the early hours, long after the candles have burnt out. Stocked with 140 gins, from classics and originals to bold new flavours, the Copper Bar holds everything you need for a dreamy night amongst friends, with a team that are primed and ready to shake the perfect cocktail, pull a frosty beer or infuse gins with the tastiest tonics. Stay and watch the expert mixologists work their magic, or move into the Lounge for a more relaxed and comfortable setting. “We strive to provide our guests with the perfect ‘night out’,” Jess kindly explains when I wonder what a night at Penventon might look like, “where everything they could desire from a good night is provided – exciting and theatrical drinks, mouthwatering food and iconic music, all served with a friendly smile. Every aspect of the experience is thought out, with hours of dedication, knowledge and imagination being put into perfecting each. 

“Another passion of ours, stemming from Aaron Pascoe, is wine. You’ll see a wine wall leading into the restaurant, the first piece of art that takes you to the Galleries. At the Penventon, there’s nothing we enjoy more than our food, except perhaps the wine we serve with it.” It’s this love of wine that has led to the establishment of a notable wine list, which currently stands at 170 and counting, alongside building the Tasting Rooms and Cellars which will be maturing 2000 bottles… a carefully curated selection. Once built, you can expect wine flights and wine experiences, and since there are so many wines for sale, a website dedicated to the wines is also on it’s way. Here you can really see what Penventon has to offer, alongside tasting notes, information about the producer and even some personal stories from the team and guests. “Not only that,” Jess continues, “but we believe that fine wine should be affordable, so as a result we only mark our better wines up by a fixed amount, bringing excellent wines to match our excellent food at a price where you can have a second (or even a third) bottle.” Many wines available today still require a few more years of bottle age to be at their finest, and so the Penventon team are currently buying and laying down their wines for three years’ time, with an aim to eventually offer well-aged vintages. Luckily for the guests, they actually started collecting wine for the cellars in 2017, ready for this very moment.


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