Words by Rosie Cattrell
Where the warmest of atmospheres welcomes you in, and the most familiar flavours invite you to stay.
For many of us, food holds much more in store than the basic necessity of keeping our bodies strong and upright. The right meal can set the world straight, and may bring with it a sense of nourishment that reaches beyond physical strength. Shared with friends or family around a table in the right environment, food can make the most wonderful accompaniment to the fondest memories made with loved ones, and this vision lies at the very heart of The Park Cornwall.
Fringed by the edges of enchanting coastline that frame north Cornwall, The Park has taken root amongst 27 acres of tranquil gardens in a secret valley less than 300 yards from Mawgan Porth beach, and offers a sheltered sanctuary for hundreds of visitors all year round. From luxury lodges and cosy cottages to cabins and caravans, not to mention the unique glamping experience that is the Yurt Village, the Kitchen by the Beach is at the very centre of it all, the beating heart of this award-winning Cornish utopia. The team at The Park have well and truly brought food into focus under the lens of their on-site restaurant, and while The Kitchen by the Beach is already revered locally for its outstanding culinary offering, a new captain has taken to the helm to steer the menu in a fresh and exciting direction for 2022.
Mark Fletcher’s career in food began with his own mobile catering business – Relish Street Food. With one outlet in Falmouth and another on Towan beach in Newquay (Relish by the Beach), he explains: “The focus was quality steak burgers and chicken wraps, something to grab and enjoy on your way to the beach. It kept the wolf from the door, and while I loved being self-employed and running my own business, when my second child came along I thought it time to get a job that was a little more stable. That’s where The Kitchen by the Beach comes in.
“I started off as the KP, working my way up. Eventually I became a Chef de Partie, and then onto Sous Chef for the last two years. I’ve learned most of my tricks of the trade from the head chefs and sous chefs I’ve worked with along the way, I wouldn’t be Head Chef now without the help I’ve received from the people around me over the years.” Recently appointed master and commander of The Kitchen by the Beach, Mark’s plans to uphold its already sterling reputation and to expand on the carefully considered menus are well under way.
Sourcing as many ingredients locally as possible and reflecting the local, seasonal produce in their ever-changing menus is a key element at The Kitchen by the Beach, and something that Mark and his team plan to stand by as they move forward. Relying on Cornish companies like Etherington’s for their meat, Fish for Thought and Matthew Stevens for their fish and seafood, and De Bara bakery for things like sour dough, brioche and ciabatta rolls, the restaurant takes advantage of the wealth of good quality produce that lies on their very doorstep. “We’ve even got plans to offer an array of local beers from Goodh Brewing Co.,” continues Mark. “With the original brewery in Ponsanooth, and now in Indian Queens, they’ve got about 20 different beers; various fruity IPAs and different ales. It something we’re looking forward to offering our guests.”
With Mark now leading the way in the restaurant, I wonder what we might expect to see on the menu over the coming year, on which Mark kindly sheds some light: “We like to try and change our menu as much as possible, and soon we’ll have lamb koftas with heritage tomato salads and pitta breads. We do a mushroom arancini, and we’ll have a smoked haddock arancini coming soon. We’re looking at putting on a pie night in the near future too, with vegan and vegetarian options, and a couple of meat-based pies, which hopefully will build up to a weekly event in the forthcoming months.
“We’re famous for our fresh, locally sourced ‘catch of the day’, not to mention our classic fish and chips. We’ve got something that we call The Kitchen Beast Burger, which is quite a spicy beef burger, hand-pressed with caramelised onion chutney, bacon, jalapeños and cheddar, served with seasoned fries, alongside a veggie option and a falafel, halloumi and tzatziki burger; it changes all the time. We’ve got something for everybody, and we’re really flexible when it comes to dietary requirements or special requests. For example, if someone requests a specific ingredient, we’ll order that in for them.”
Having built up a great reputation locally for their Sunday roasts, from a delicious home-made nut roast to a really tender beef, gammon, pork belly, or lamb, the delightful offering changes every week. “With all the meat sourced here in Cornwall,” explains Mark, “it makes a huge difference to the quality and the taste, and we’re finding that more and more people are wanting to know where their meal has come from.”
With an open kitchen where you can see the chefs in action and a bar primed with cocktails and local beverages, the restaurant’s casual seating and lounge area invites relaxed comfort as you join your friends or family for a meal. The quirky, modern aesthetic welcomes you inside, having been fully refurbished in 2018. With a soft play area for the little ones, and even a place for the family dog, everyone is welcome at The Kitchen by the Beach.
As summer approaches, The Park’s outside swimming pool beckons many with its own bar, which is sure to be irresistible on a hot summer’s day, and food from The Kitchen will surely be difficult to say no to. “We’re looking to bring back some really great events this year,” Mark muses as he reflects on his plans as Head Chef. “This is an exciting time for us to show our guests and visitors exactly what’s possible with all this amazing Cornish produce.” With a wonderful ethos of good quality food, cooked well at an affordable price, here is an establishment that puts flavour over frills, and whether guest or visitor, you’re sure to find the warmest of welcomes at The Kitchen by the Beach.