Here's what we thought of St Enodoc Hotel's taster menu

The Brasserie at St Enodoc Hotel in Cornwall

The Brasserie at St Enodoc Hotel - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

Su Carroll experiences the fine dining on offer at the St Enodoc Hotel.

Any chef worth his salt understands the importance of using local produce and chef Guy Owen at the St Enodoc Hotel in Rock is no exception. From its vantage point overlooking the Camel Estuary he can see the Porthilly Shellfish oyster and mussel beds where the bivales that find their way into his kitchen begin their lives.

The hotel was bought by the current owners in 2019 and is managed by family members Lucy and James Strachan. Chef Guy joined the team to run the kitchens for the Brasserie and the new fine dining space, Karrek, which opened ten days before lockdown struck. Instead of tasting menus, Guy and the team were producing tasty menus for nurses, doctors and health care workers. In all they made more than 8,000 meals thanks to fundraising and great support from suppliers. 

Now with the memories of lockdown fading, Guy is back to doing what he loves – looking after residents and providing a special dining experience.
‘To be special a restaurant has to do whatever makes you feel good,’ he says. ‘We always say we take the food seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously. We want people to see this as a home away from home but we also have enough technical skills to keep a foodie happy.

‘The menu is very locally focused. Cornwall is all about field to fork and there’s really great food here. Most of the garden has food we can eat from tiny leaves that are sweet as honey to the three types of Asian limes we grow.’

St Enodoc Hotel executive head chef Guy Owen, Cornwall

Executive head chef Guy Owen - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

Today we are all conscious of food miles, but Guy says other environmental issues are important too. ‘We have stepped back from the notion of food miles. We prefer to say “local food cooked well”. 

‘Meat comes from Made-Well Farm in Hatherleigh in Devon. It might mean more “food miles” but it is a non-profit organisation with a café that supports people with disabilities and we get our beef and lamb here. During lockdown all our guys went there to help with the lambing. They wanted to go back this year!

A rhubarb pre-dessert by Guy OWen, chef at St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall

Guy makes the most of food when it is in season, like this rhubarb pre-dessert - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

‘We are also working with one of the local veg suppliers to use hemp or hessian sacks. We want nothing coming in in plastics.’

Guy’s parents ran a bistro and as a teenager and he went to work at The Salamander in Mevagissey where Steve, the owner, took him under his wing. At the Rising Sun in St Mawes Ann Long told him he needed more experience and so he went to work in Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen. ‘I spent about four to five years in London and moved to Devon to work with Michael Caines at Gidleigh Park,’ says Guy. ‘I had a job offer to go to Australia but I needed an operation on my hand. So I went to help a mate out at the Cornwall Hotel, met my wife and… well I’m still here!’

Guy arrived at St Enodoc via The Driftwood Hotel and The Idle Rocks. Here he has two spaces to play with – the Brasserie (where breakfast is also served) and Karrek (a Cornish word meaning rock). He seems a happy man.

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‘I’ve got two young kids and I live in a county where people come here for the lifestyle. I’m doing what I love. We have a great team and I feel very blessed.’

Canapes by Guy Owen at Karrek restaurant St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall

Bite-sized canapes are packed with flavour - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

Karrek Tasting Menu

Cornish Snacks: ‘We have a small bite of fish and chips and a mackerel taco – it’s like being at the seaside,’ says Guy.

Pretzel with Cultured Butter: The sticky sweet and salty taste of a pretzel with a soft, doughy bread.

Pretzel bread by chef Guy Owen at Karrek restaurant, St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall

Pretzel bread has all the flavours of pretzels with a doughy soft exterior - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

Diver Scallop, Sauce Jacqueline, Carrot, Caviar: Who knew carrot could taste so special?

Cornish Crab Quiche: ‘We put seaweed in the pastry and we use the whole crab with white crab inside and a brown crab foam. We are trying to be jovial. It’s a crab quiche on the menu!’

Oyster and Mussel Risotto: ‘A very safe dish but the textures are important.’

Bouillabaisse on the menu at Karrek restaurant, St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall

‘Mum’s bouillabaisse’ is topped with fish - Credit: St Enodoc Hotel

Mum’s Favourite Bouillabaisse: ‘Everywhere I have worked my mum has asked me to put bouillabaisse on the menu. She likes it with big chunks of fish. So I put it on here with a different style and concept – a thick sauce packed with flavour and with a piece of fish on top.’

Roast Duck, Shiitake, Rhubarb:  ‘It spends 24 hours in a seaweed brine. It’s blowtorched, roasted and blowtorched again and brushed with honey. A lot of work goes into this dish but it is worth it. I love the savoury rhubarb taste.’

Cucumber, Lime, Mint, Lemon and Honey:  ‘The concept is quite clear with these. We are getting your palate ready for the next course.’

Rhubarb and White Chocolate “Vienetta”:  ‘Retro. And fun.’