The Ultimate Ploughman’s?

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.


Value: 8/10
Taste: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

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.


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