I've spent a lot of time in Cornwall during my life. I like to think of myself as more than just another tourist flocking there on an annual basis - I have lots of Cornish family and somehow I feel like this excludes me from the term 'emmett'. Unfortunately I think it makes me exactly the type the Cornish are referring to when they use the word. Oh well. Pre-amble aside, I've had plenty of beautiful meals in Cornwall but I wouldn't really associate the area with American-diner style fare. So I was more than pleasantly surprised when we ate at The Cornish Barn, the Cornwall-meets-USA cafe/diner at Artist Residence, Penzance.
The decor at Artist Residence and The Barn feels more like you're in London or Brighton than Penzance (and more on that next week)... The Cornish Barn is at the front of the old building on Chapel Street, in the old quarter of the town and directly opposite the famous tourist-magnet Admiral Benbow pub. But inside there is a relaxed, stylish vibe.
The staff were all friendly and helpful, giving us great recommendations on which dishes to choose. Considering we ate on a Sunday evening in April, I was surprised that there were still a considerable number of other diners and a nice buzz about the place. It definitely didn't seem like a typical Sunday evening in a restaurant hotel. If I lived in Penzance, I imagine it'd be the kind of place you would go for drinks on a Friday night or equally a quiet drink on sundays.
The menu combines Cornish ingredients with a fresh take on American-style dining. We really went for it when we were ordering... Just some of the dishes we enjoyed were buttermilk-fried boneless chicken, chicken wings in lemon, smoked paprika and roast garlic, belly pork ribs in house bbq sauce, lime squid, devilled whitebait, crispy onions and fries.
Don't worry, we didn't have any problem in finishing it all. It was absolutely delicious and perfect soul food after a long day of walking.
From this week, the Cornish Barn is also open for lunch. The menu seems to follow the US style, with a variety of burgers and sides. If I was in west Cornwall right now, I'd be the first in line to try it out! Can't wait to go back soon and visit the festival garden too.