With local, seasonal and sustainable ingredients at the core of their craft, Harry Cartwright and Jay Brady’s debut restaurant, The Mulberry, is re-shaping the world of fine dining in Cornwall.
Words by Rosie Cattrell | Images by Jamie Dumont
Walking the cobbles of Falmouth’s High Street, you soon get the feeling of having stepped into a burgeoning bohemia of culture, art and cuisine, with a reputation for unique and forward-thinking independent businesses that stretches its fingers out across the county. It’s little wonder then, that it was here that chefs and colleagues, Harry Cartwright and Jay Brady, would find opportunity reaching out its eager arms.
Harry and Jay’s collective story begins at THE PIG at Harlyn Bay, drawn from different directions to the 25-mile menu ethos that the venue upholds, alongside the prospect of the hotel’s kitchen garden, flourishing with fresh ingredients for the pot. It would be here that that an adventurous culinary partnership in fine flavour would form between two talented chefs, each with their own unique style to bring to the palate.
Born in the South Downs National Park, Harry found his feet as a chef at 16, working his way across Hampshire in various gastro pubs. At 20 he’d move to Melbourne, working in a small-plates restaurant for two years on the other side of the world. After returning to the UK to sous chef for Ruin Beach Café on the Isles of Scilly, he would find his way back to Hampshire at Annie Jones’ Tapas Restaurant. Meanwhile, Jay hails from the small village of St. Merryn, just outside Padstow. His career in food would take root in the local fish and chip shop, before he began his studies in catering at Cornwall College St Austell. A passion for the industry grew, and in his second year he’d join the prestigious Nathan Outlaw Academy. A two-year stint at The Mariners would lead up to a position at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw.
After the pair met at THE PIG in 2020, it quickly became clear that they were of one mind when it came to quality of ingredients, and a determination to source them as locally as possible, as Jay explains: “We had both always aspired to have our own restaurant. When working together at THE PIG, we would often joke that we ought to open a place together. Whilst looking to buy a house in Falmouth, Harry came across a great little restaurant bursting with character. We threw caution to the wind and decided to go for it. We had a shoe string budget but plenty of passion, and were prepared to work hard. We have similar styles of cooking and share a passion for local, seasonal and sustainable food; we wanted a restaurant that showcased the very best of Cornish produce.”
In April of 2022, The Mulberry would throw open its doors in an opening night that would delight its very first guests, offering a Falmouth-fitting fusion of fine dining with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. “We both firmly believe in the importance of using excellent quality ingredients,” Jay continues, “and allowing the flavours to speak for themselves. Simple, but well executed food. My own background has given me an extensive knowledge of seafood and local Cornish food, whilst Harry focuses more on the meat dishes and draws a lot of inspiration from international cuisines.” Having spent considerable time in Spain and Mexico, Harry fosters a real passion for Spanish and Central American cuisine, which continues to influence his cooking today.
One year on, The Mulberry has quickly found its feet as an award-winning Cornish restaurant, having won the Muddy Stilettos Best Restaurant Award for 2022 just a few months after their opening night. With local, seasonal and sustainable produce at the core of everything they do, it’s no surprise that word spread quickly, as Harry explains: “We did very little marketing when we opened, preferring to allow our customer base to grow organically by word of mouth, and it has continued to grow throughout our first year.”
Inspired by nature and the importance of having a deep connection with the provenance of their food, Jay and Harry take great care in sourcing their ingredients. “We each spend a lot of time outdoors,” Harry continues. “Jay lives on a small holding, rearing sheep, pigs, ducks and chickens, and I spend much of my free time foraging in the Cornish countryside. Experiencing the seasonality of the British climate by spending time outdoors, witnessing what is at its best in each season, gives us the knowledge to authentically create seasonal dishes.”
Renowned for its quality produce, Cornwall is a thriving natural larder when it comes to food, and The Mulberry team continue to seek new ways in which to make the most of the opportunities on their very doorstep, which Jay kindly elaborates on: “Ordering whole carcasses from Philip Warren and butchering them ourselves allows us to use every part of the animal, making sure nothing is wasted. We source the best possible ingredients from the local area, utilising small suppliers such as Patrick’s Patch, Soul Farm and Trenow Fields.
“Our menus are constantly evolving; we create dishes based on the best ingredients we can source each day, and when we run out of an ingredient, we’ll replace it with something else, or design a whole new dish!” With two distinct menus on the table, simplistic quality and flavour is favoured, each dish carefully curated by Jay, Harry and their team. The six-course tasting menu – with optional wine pairings for those who want a decadent dining experience – showcases the incredible talent behind this establishment. The thought of line-caught Newlyn sea bass in a smoked caviar butter sauce with celeriac slaw and dill oil, amongst an incredible line up of master-piece dishes, is enough to make the mouth water. For those looking to share in a taste of something smaller but equally as tempting, the small plates list is certain to satisfy; quail scotch eggs with sage mayonnaise; Fowey scallops with cauliflower purée and black pudding; dry-aged Philip Warren smoked sirloin with stuffed cabbage and black garlic mayo – selecting just a few things for the table from this show-stopping menu may not prove to be so easy.
Alongside an extensive wine list that is unlikely to disappoint the aficionados amongst you, as well as locally sourced spirits and fresh, seasonal cocktails to tingle the taste buds, here is a taste of Cornwall if there ever was one. Inspired by the gift of their Cornish surroundings in all seasons, and with a passion for quality, locality and the finest flavours, Jay and Harry are seeing The Mulberry into a new era of fine dining.