I’m a Cornishman, born and bred. I’ve lived there my whole life, right up until September when I emigrated to the country of England. Here, I live in Eastbourne (due to University) and as such, have had to adapt to the different ways of those ‘Anglo-Saxons’.
Eastbourne has its charms – it’s right next to the sea, and the South Downs ensure that there’s greenery nearby too. It’s almost like I’ve just picked up and moved my home, right?
There. Are. No. PASTY SHOPS.
Imagine the horror as I traipse around the streets and the Arndale Centre only to be left in bitter disappointment, finding nothing in the way of delicious pastry? To The Arndale’s credit, there is a Gregg’s… but it’s just not the same. There are plentiful coffee shops though. Bleddy townies!
Anywho, last week I happened upon a small cafe called Rockwell’s. I stopped inside with some friends, had a sandwich and all was well and good. Then, as I exited the building, I noticed on the wall:
“Next time, Charlie.” I thought.
That next time just so happened to be yesterday, when I went out to do a bit of shopping. I hadn’t eaten all day and craved a taste of Cornwall’s finest, so in I stepped.
I asked for a Cornish Pasty. I couldn’t see the sign on the wall, so wasn’t sure if they called them that, but rest assured, it didn’t deserve the title anyway. The first thing I noticed after paying the hundred-and-fifty pennies was that the white paper bag in which it was served turned translucent with grease. Pasties are greasy by nature, but not usually so saturated that they seep through the bag.
I must stress, I was really hungry. If I was a character on the Sims, you’d see this:
I shuffled the paper down and took a bite. I didn’t get any filling in the first bite, just pastry. To be honest, the pastry was actually not bad at all, very flaky and it tasted pretty good too. Hopefully it was hand-made, rather than some Jus-Roll packaged stuff. I examined the pasty before I took any more bites, and sadly, the outside was not crimped at all. I didn’t have time to take a picture of it (I was frankly embarrassed to be seen with the thing) but it was something similar to this:
The next bite proved to be the ultimate insult to my Westcountry tastebuds.
“What the hell is that?!” I thought. I peered inside at the chasm I had just made with my teeth, and I couldn’t tell what the meat was. It wasn’t casserole steak or skirt like it should be. It wasn’t even mince. I’m actually not sure if it was even beef. It was squidgy and a bit gritty, it was grey-brown in colour and tasted like Sage and onion stuffing.
Perhaps the veggies would salvage this pastry pocket? Not so – there were no onions! Wars have been started for less than this.
Potato was scarce, and I tasted nothing in the way of salt or pepper. Swede? Haha, jog on. There was another vegetable inside, but it was Buggs Bunny’s perennial nemesis of the carrot, rather than the sweet, comforting, snuggly jumper of a flavour that is swede.
I ate down to half way of the thing to see if it was just a bad start, but things did not improve. The sloppy, unseasoned and unknown meat was almost inedible, and I duly binned the rest.
I was not expecting excellence – I wasn’t even expecting a good pasty, but I thought that it would at least have the right ingredients in it, and taste as such. Have I made a mistake? Is Eastbourne the place for me after all? Without satisfactory flavours of the Celtic County, I may just waste away here… Or I’ll just make some of my own next week.
Sigh… let’s do this then.
I suppose this just shows that there is a niche up here for a bakery! Maybe I need to look further. This item was not worthy of being called a pasty, however, I hope all my Cornish homies are insulted and will duly start sending me Large Steaks in the post. The pastry was a false dawn giving a decent first impression, and as soon as I examined the ‘meat’ inside, it was pretty much all down hill. Disappointed and despondent was I, but don’t worry – I went to Sainsbury’s afterward to buy some ingredients for Spagbol. Ansom.