Earlier this year the iconic red-brick Victorian hotel that sits strikingly atop the cliff above Fistral in Newquay launched what it hoped would be a “world-class” new restaurant. RenMor cost a staggering £3million to bring to life – and it is as fancy as it looks in pictures.
The family-run Headland Hotel, which has been open since 1900, was already a double five-star destination but launched its latest food offering as part of an ongoing refurbishment programme at the clifftop venue.
RenMor, meaning by the sea in Cornish,
replaced the hotel’s The Samphire as its signature restaurant, and similarly to The Deck Restaurant in the Aqua Club and The Terrace, it welcomes both guests and non-residents.
Having launched in the spring, we paid a visit this autumn to try out what its director called a “fantastic new experience” with Cornish produce at the heart of it all.
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Upon entering RenMor the first thing to hit me was the stark difference with the cosy, traditional get-up of the rest of the building. Heavy curtains and patterned textures have become synonymous with its interior while the new multi-million pound restaurant invokes a different, more modern appeal. It’s almost a little too disconnected from the traditional charms with its faux plant central bar and stark marble tables but is, of course, very attractive.
Sitting at our table with only a brief glimpse of the view before darkness descended, much of the appeal of the glass-fronted room is the outlook across the sea – so it’s well worth a visit earlier in the day if visiting during darker months.
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Looking at the menu it’s apparent just how carefully crafted the choices are. Super creative dishes, all made with local ingredients. In fact, the website states the fish is fresh off the boat that morning. The detail that has gone into creating the seasonal menu can’t be ignored and each of the options look delectable but there isn’t a huge amount of choice for anyone staying at the hotel for a week.
Service was lacklustre getting off the ground and it did take longer than I’d like to order a drink, and even then the drinks didn’t arrive until the exact same time as our starters. It must be said it wasn’t particularly busy that evening either. But everything that did arrive was cooked to perfection and looked breathtakingly beautiful. (Image: CornwallLive)
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The Looe mackerel starter (£13) with cirtus dashi, Mora Farm radish and English wasabi was just delicious. Perfectly cooked and oozing with flavour. The accompanying sauce comes in its separate jug with servers offering to pour it on for you – which always adds a little fancy flair to dinner.
My mum thoroughly enjoyed the pork and duck paté (£13) too which came with pickled autumn vegetables and a sourdough wafer – and the portions were plentiful. A quick look at reviews beforehand said people felt they were pricey for the size of the dish, but I disagree and thought they were very reasonable in the ever-changing landscape that is the cost of food these days.
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For mains I opted for the caremelised cauliflower dish (£19) which is hand on heart the most inventive vegetarian dish I’ve eaten since giving up meat nearly five years ago. It’s lovely to see chefs truly making the effort and not just throwing something simple together to tick a box. Any other veggies/vegans reading this will likely know that disillusioned feeling.
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My fellow diner went for the half a barbequed Cornish chicken which comprised of what I can only describe as meals within a meal. All beautifully cooked, she particularly enjoyed the barbeque sauce the leg sits in. Sitting back though £29 does seem an awful lot of money for a chicken dish although I can appreciate that it was almost like three dishes in terms of
prep work. (Image: CornwallLive)
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The pudding – a Madagascan chocolate delice (£11) – was another triumph. Perfectly chocolatey with the citrus touch of calamansi fruit and toasted barley ice cream, we lapped it up between two.
It was a wonderful evening with some of the most beautiful tasting, and thoughtfully presented dishes I’ve ever seen. But in being completely honest, calling it world-class has given the restaurant some impossible standards to live up to – and to meet that gallant claim there’s some service refining to be done.