One night in August I had a surreal dining experience. When we left, I said to the Peeb, ‘did that really just happen?’. You see, we’d been up the ‘brea’ to the Carn Brea Castle restaurant.
In case you can’t guess, the Carn Brea Castle Restaurant is a restaurant in a castle on the top of an enormous granite mountain called Carn Brea.
We’d been walking up there before and it was hard to believe the beautiful ancient Castle growing out of the rock in the middle of nowhere could function as a restaurant.. But with a petrol powered generator and some battery fairylights and candles anything is possible. Clambering up the tiny stairs to the roof in the pitch dark was the first part of the fun. (We were early so waited for our table out on the roof, as you do.) The view from up there is breathtaking, especially when the sun is setting. We were bold on the way back down to our table, where food was the incentive for the climb down.
We sat by a single candle and a tiny window in the 2ft thick stone wall, overlooking the sea. We saw the stars come out one by one and the sea fade to nothing in the distance. Over delicious home made hummus and warm bread, smoky baba ganoush and olives so good we shared the last one, we settled into this amazing place.
It was one of those unique and special experiences that don’t seem to be quite real. You know the ones I mean: where strangers smile at each other because it’s so weird and cool and everything is delicious. It’s pretty romantic there too, and I imagine in the winter with the huge log fires ablaze it would be even more so.
We ate perfect grilled lamb chops, with delicious crispy edges. The salad tasted like Mediterranean salads of childhood holidays (lots of lemon juice), and rice. I was in heaven. It reminded me a little of Beyti, the Turkish grill restaurant, on Newington Green Road near one of my places in London. I’d spied the other tables getting baklava petit fours so we swerved dessert and had coffee instead. The Peeb doesn’t like baklava so I had four morsels to myself: coconut, chocolate, and pistachio flavours encased in the finest flaky filo pastry and a not-too-sweet or overly-sticky syrup.
When we left we stood in the darkness for a while, on a boulder on the edge to survey our kingdom and the lights of Redruth. I tried to take a picture of the stars (which didn’t work). On the way back to the car I really felt like I had been to a fairytale feast (albeit Jordanian in flavour) in a hunting lodge from an Arthurian legend.
One thing to think about was the owner’s suggestion that we hire the place at New Year, bring our friends, some sleeping bags, and have the most atmospheric and unforgettable New Year’s Eve party of all time. I could just imagine settling down to sleep, listening to the wind howl as the candles got low, and getting The Fear from ghost stories…
Price wise the meal was about £7 a starter, £16 a main, and a 250ml glass of wine was about a fiver. It’s not cheap but it’s totally romantic and unique. I’d love to go back.. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be all a dream.