After we got back from Cornwall last week, I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite places to get coffee (or lunch) in North Cornwall. Sharing the coffee love so to speak – particularly as I often search for new places and usually get my recommendations from blogs and Instagram.
These are not the obvious chain places, and are in a rather specific part of North Cornwall (I haven’t included Rick Stein’s, Nathan Outlaw/The St Enedoc’s hotel or 15 at Watergate Bay, for example), simply places that I seek out and have tested over several years of holidaying in the area. One day, when we move down there, I will write a more comprehensive guide, but for now, some of my tried and tested favourites.
Why: Polzeath is a funny little place. In many ways, it’s an odd one for the list at all – the village itself is not a pretty Cornish harbour or estuary settlement, in way that say Port Isaac or Fowey is. There isn’t really much to it really, other than a small parade of shops and a lot of white houses and some surf hire places. And yet, totally compelling and one of my favourite beaches, especially now I have both children and surfers in the family.
Surfside is A1 though. I’m not sure what is better about this place – the coffee, the staff or the view. Surfside is literally on the beach at Polzeath – park in the carpark on the beach (or behind Anne’s Cottage surfshop) and look to the back of the beach away from the sea where you’ll see a distinctive white building.
Perfect in any weather as long as you don’t mind the little walk across the beach, either sit inside or at the benches outside and watch Polzeath beach unfold. Book a late evening table and you can watch the sun drop behind the sea, bathing the whole building in golden light. Also great for grabbing a cup of tea whilst on the beach as you can walk straight in with no need for shoes.
When: All day, every day in high summer.
What: Aside from coffee, I recommend the pancakes with maple syrup and peanut butter for breakfast (the eggs and avocado on toast were also excellent); lobster roll for lunch and for dinner the surf & turf with creme brûlée to follow. So good that I had 3, possibly 4, servings of creme brûlée over the course of the week. It is finished with Cornish seasalt which I swear is what makes it so tasty.
Where: Surfside, on the beach, Polzeath, Cornwall, PL27 6TB
Why: Location wise, this is another that seems an odd choice but for different reasons. Strong Adolfos is a bit like a roadside diner in that it is set at on the A39 as you head south out of Wadebridge. This being Cornwall though, the A39 is still beautiful and the views from inside may not be of the sea but they are very peaceful. Green fields, and windmills. The decor reflects the tag line “subcultural happenings” and includes surf boards and motor bikes with industrial style chairs and wooden tables in varying sizes.
Strong Adolofos is part of a complex which includes a vintage furniture warehouse, a shop full of nice things like candles and crockery, a deli and wine shop and now a nursery. It’s all built in what looks like eco-wood.
When: Breakfast and lunch only – go early for a window table.
What: The coffee is good, as are the cakes and we’ve had some good breakfasts and lunches too. Wifi is also consistent, so when I need to work, I head to Strong Adolfos.
Situated on the cliffs above Polzeath, this is a new addition to our cafe directory. The day we visited it was just the soothing that our weary souls needed, after a busy morning doing some work whilst Pip played on the beach with her grandparents, followed by a slightly fraught encounter with the day tourists and parking situation in Padstow. With a 9 week old I just wasn’t feeling the pottering around the shops of Padstow and after our traditional lunchtime Rick Stein’s fish and chips (mackerel bap for me) there wasn’t enough time on the meter for a lovely walk on the beach, and we’d driven round rather than get the ferry. Big mistake. Always get the ferry to Padstow.
Anyway, I digress… Seven Souls Yard. It’s a relatively new venture for the owners, and is a massive improvement I am told on what used to be there. We were drawn in by the wine shop, and weren’t disappointed, leaving with a decent Californian Pinot. The cafe was blissfully and thankfully empty as little baby 2 was having, shall we say, a vociferous afternoon. We were greeted with fresh air, mown grass, sheep bleats in a field next door to take me straight back to childhood summers camping on a cliff-top, and a decent cup of coffee. All with soft air and a sea view. I am extremely jealous – I would love to run something like this.
When: Every day from 9am – closing times vary. Open late Saturday and Sunday
What: The food looks and sounds delicious from their Instagram feed, but mid afternoon we were only in the market for coffee.
Where: Sevensouls Yard, Polzeath, Nr. Wadebridge, Cornwall PL27 6QT (Off the B3314 – the road leading down to Polzeath from St Endellion) – there is car parking.
I followed chef Emily Scott to the St Tudy Inn, having first ‘met her’ (so to speak) when she was running a restaurant in Port Isaac, which is where we went for the first week of our honeymoon before decamping to a yurt.
I love the St Tudy Inn despite it being both inland and a little drive away from where we usually stay (both things that irrationally often make me think twice on a coastal holiday). Don’t let the lack of sea views put you off. St Tudy is a charming little village and the St Tudy Inn an excellent place for coffee, lunch or an evening meal.
Next time we eat there, I’m requesting that table behind the fireplace in the photo below – seats 6/8 and is under a skylight but next to the fire. Best of both worlds in this old pub, but all the tables in both the bar and the slightly more formal dining room behind are lovely too. The menu is excellent and good value and the dishes/napkins/settings just to my taste. Sophie Conran for Portmeirion dishes, good napkins, decent cutlery. Kids are welcome, as are dogs in the bar.
What: Sunday lunch is excellent, as has been everything I’ve tried. Menus are seasonal – Emily cooks with fresh and local produce, so I don’t want to recommend anything specific, as it is likely to only have been on the menu for a week or so. I thought the pudding I had this time, a version of eton mess, was absolutely delicious. The coffee is good. As is everything we’ve sampled both from the beer tap and off the wine list.
Where: St. Tudy Inn, St. Tudy, Cornwall, PL30 3NN – car parking is at the rear of the building.
I’ve searched a lot for some photos of this lovely little National Trust cafe, but so far, nothing. I’ll keep looking. These darling little tea rooms are on a cliff at the top of Bedruthan Steps with a sheltered garden. Opening hours vary but the steps to the beach are closed from October to February, so it’s worth checking before you set out if you are visiting out of season. As with so many NT places, the coffee is nothing special, but the tea and scones are a welcome sight at the end of the walk, either from Mawgan Porth along the cliff path (be careful, we once saw an adder here), or I think you can walk from the parking just off the B3276 between Newquay to Padstow.
Why: Beautiful views across Bedruthan
Where: Bedruthan, near Padstow, Cornwall, PL27 7UW