On a trip to Cornwall, CARL DIFFORD found a base just off the A30 which offers super accommodation and fantastic food

WE found a little gem of a venue just off the A30 in Cornwall – a few miles from Newquay – which is well worth seeking out.

The Plume of Feathers, in Mitchell, was originally a 16-century coaching inn, tucked away in a quiet little village but only a stone’s throw from the main route through Cornwall.

This family-run concern has been beautifully developed – growing from a pub to embrace super accommodation and first-class cuisine.

This development continues, with more rooms opening this summer, while the kitchen is now under the stewardship of chef patron Nat Tallents, a former MasterChef: The Professionals contestant whose mission is to put The Plume of Feathers firmly on the culinary map using locally-sourced fresh produce, including herbs from their own vegetable patch.

Not wanting to alienate families or the locals, the top-notch food begins with the bar menu which includes some cracking pie dishes.

Having found such a great little place, however, we decided to give our tastebuds a treat with a tasting menu, plus matched wines, with their provenance explained to us by venue manager Dan Trotter.

We kicked off with a variety of canapes, my favourite being potted venison on sourdough with juniper and beetroot butter.

Next came a celeriac, bacon and truffle soup. The heavy scent of the garlic and truffle was deceptive because the soup was smooth with just a hint of seasoning and left you looking forward to what came next.

What did come next was a brilliant combination of lamb – three cuts each cooked and presented a different way, Nat demonstrating her liking for meat tenderised by slow cooking while we demonstrated our liking for her cooking by leaving empty plates.

A selection of desserts followed, including the first rhubarb and custard dish I have ever enjoyed – a triumph in itself as it’s not normally my favourite vegetable, but this dish was delicious.

Petit fours and coffee were, if we’re honest, a bit of a struggle after we left none of the previous offerings, and, full, we waddled back through the pretty grounds to our accommodation.

This turned out to be luxury of another kind, with the stone cottage housing an enormous bedroom with a huge bed, velvet-covered sofa and large TV, while the softly-lit bathroom included a substantial bath and multi-jet shower.

A good night’s sleep was followed by a super breakfast – after the previous dining experience we expected no less – and we were on our way, having pocketed a brochure to ensure we once again track down The Plume of Feathers when we are next in the area.