I’ve just enjoyed lunch out with my mum and sister ahead of my travel back to Eastbourne tomorrow. It’s a beautiful day in Cornwall, so we went to Bedruthan Steps, a very quiet, secluded location just past Watergate Bay. There we found a small Cafe called Carnewas.
I was in the mood for something different to what I usually eat, no Paninis or sandwiches for me. No, what I had was far more impressive.
I went for a Ploughman’s lunch.
As far as I understand, a Ploughman’s is a lump of cheddar, an apple, some pickled onion chutney and a husk of crusty bread, but the good folk up at the National Trust cafe had something far more spectacular on offer. Behold:
Beauty, isn’t she?
Plain old cheddar is there, delicious and crumbly as it should be; it was joined by Stilton, the grandfather of Cheddar and one of the most flavoursome cheeses of all, and Yarg, a Cornish-made special cheese. I think I liked the Yarg best out of the three cheese, it’s a sort of creamy softer cheese but with a nice tangy kick at the end. Somewhere in between Brie and Edam, but with a rind made of nettles, rather than wax.
The bread was a little disappointing. It was too dry, and there was far too much of it! You certainly get your money’s worth with this meal, I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of £6, but the bread, though a staple part of a Ploughman’s, was just too heavy for me. It was tasty though, it felt like it was home made, and there were various nuts and seeds inside. A little butter helped the dryness situation.
It was an odd mishmash of a salad. There were cherry tomatoes bursting with flavour, gem lettuce and a few mixed baby leaves, although there was a casual ring of orange pepper that felt like it didn’t belong; I also felt that three slices of cucumber didn’t really go with it. I can’t fault the other three items, though. There was a chopped boiled egg in the salad, I’ve never had that in a Ploughman’s before but it was delicious, I’d be very happy to find that again. There were a couple of cold boiled new Potatoes that went really nicely with the included coleslaw (I’ll get to that).
There was also half an apple, one of the main components of a Ploughman’s and one of my favourites. My Dad is a farmer, and he taught me how amazing cheddar and apple are together when I was very young. I held each in one had here today, and they could not be better match! Tart, crispy Braeburn apple and savoury, crumbly cheddar… Ansom!*
Coleslaw is a recently new venture for me, I always used to hate it, but I think it’s pretty tasty now. This one was lacking in vinegary sourness though, I think it was made with Mayonnaise rather than Salad Cream. Still, the carrot and cabbage were nice and crunchy. The other side was very odd indeed, and I could have done without it. It was described on the menu as a ‘Cornish Chutney’ but it tasted far too similar to Mincemeat to me. It was extremely sweet, and it kind of overpowered the whole thing.
Despite the flaws, this was probably the best Ploughman’s I’ve eaten, due to the cheese selection and the well-suited components. I’d definitely like the Chutney removed or hopefully, changed for something that isn’t pie filler. I liked the salad for the most part, but there were a LOT of greens, and it sort of felt like an effort to eat them all, as they were a bit bland; nice enough accompaniments to the rest of the meal, but still, not really adding much. The pepper and cucumber was also slightly misplaced I feel.
However, the cheese, bread, pickles and apple were all great, and they’re the most important parts of a Ploughman’s as I said. Maybe they were trying to do too many things with this meal or got it slightly wrong trying to alter a classic, but still, I’d be happy to pay for this again!
* Ansom, verb. A Cornish regional variant of the word ‘Handsome’, used to indicate something of which a person is extremely fond.