Cornwall LivingIssue #77
A hunger well sated
We sample the delights on offer at the stylish and contemporary Henlys Bar & Restaurant, Helston.
Walking in to Henlys Bar and Restaurant, we were immediately greeted with its contemporary yet cosy interior. A stylish bar bustling with happy people, we lapped up the atmosphere for a moment before deciding to venture up to the restaurant, our tummies rumbling.
“great care is taken in the thought behind each dish”
Upon entering, we were warmly welcomed by Amy, the co-owner. She swiftly took us to a cosy, candle-lit table for two by a sash window. Menus in hand, we ordered our drinks and then perused the selection of dishes on offer. Henlys change their menus daily, so no need to seek out a specials board, everything was conveniently in front of us.
Speaking with Sean, head-chef and co-owner, he has an obvious passion for the menus that they showcase in the restaurant. Great care is taken in the thought behind each dish, from sourcing the local, quality produce, to playing with multiple flavour combinations before landing on the perfect one, not to mention the art of presenting each component with a certain flair, without anything appearing hollow and overly ostentatious.
Within a minute or two, our drinks had arrived. A crisp, Italian pinot grigio (Tanti Petali Garganega) for me, and a local Doom Bar amber ale for my dining partner, a firm favourite.
It took a second visit from Amy to our table before we had decided on what to order. I eventually landed on the Pork Liver Parfait and my partner the Pan Fried Red Mullet.
The rich parfait was piped onto lightly toasted brioche, accompanied by sweet slivers of quince gel, adding a little tang to the dish. The mullet looked and smelled amazing and the taste didn’t disappoint. It was perfectly cooked and went down swimmingly with the bed of Mediterranean couscous.
My partner, Ross, quipped that he could have eaten it all over again for his main course, but sadly we were finished and ready to see what else we had in store.
Whilst waiting, we enjoyed a view of the kitchen, a hive of activity. The chefs worked quickly but methodically and with care, nothing seemed rushed. It was a calming sight to see the time, effort and thought put in to every dish, each finished promptly and ready for service.
With fresh drinks in hand, we were presented with the main event. For me, the Trio of Pork made up of tenderloin, cheek
and an apple and black pudding bon bon paired with crispy tenderstem broccoli and a cider jus. Opposite me sat a mouth-watering fillet steak, rare, steam rising. Both meals were ambrosial.
The trio was divine. The cheek fell apart with ease, the tenderloin succulent and the bon bon, a sweet surprise. The local Retallack fillet tasted in everyway as good as it looked. It simply melted in the mouth. The artisanal hand-cut chips, tomato, pea shoots and portobello mushroom were delicious accompaniments, a twist on the traditional.
Comfortably full, we sat for a little before being offered the menu again to decide on something sweet. After a recommendation of the waffles, I couldn’t resist. So the waffles it was, and a Cornish cheeseboard for my partner.
If you’re somewhat of a sweet tooth, the triple chocolate waffles are not one to pass up. Layered with creamy milk chocolate ice cream, white and milk chocolate bark and dark chocolate sauce, frosted with white and milk chocolate powder, they were nothing short of delicious. The cheeseboard was equal in creating a high point at the end of the evening. A selection of local Cornish cheeses, partnered with quince jelly, cool red grapes and crisp Miller’s Damsels biscuits. A rich port was offered to accompany the board, only declined due to the post-dinner drive that awaited.
With the ambient surroundings, exemplary service and exquisite food, it’s evident that Henlys is a pinnacle in the Cornish foodie scene. It’s somewhat of a hidden gem, and it’s certainly here to stay. If you take any recommendation this month, let it be this… venture down to Henlys, you won’t regret it!
"great care is taken in the thought behind each dish"