We knew this year would be a very different holiday to our last one in Florida or our more regular stints in Portugal, but Mike and I were looking forward to a week off work and hopefully grabbing some last moments of sun before September arrived. As it turned out, we had far more sun than we had originally expected, or as the forecast had suggested and even managed to visit some of the beautiful Cornish beaches as well as our other planned days out. Aside from the weather and the inevitable question of whether we’d get everything in the car (we did – just), my biggest concern was whether we’d be able to enjoy some family meals out during our week away, an integral part of any of our holidays and not least because I was desperate to have some time off from the kitchen and the need to constantly find new ways to tantalise M’s temperamental taste-buds. The time taken beforehand to search out possible restaurants that would be able to cook for M and G proved to be time well-spent and we found some amazing options that we would happily recommend to anyone, food-allergies or not.
Our all-time favourite restaurant and the one we would visit again at the drop of the proverbial hat, was the truly amazing Trewithen restaurant based in Lostwithiel, the ancient capital of Cornwall. I had discovered this restaurant during one of my many sessions on Google (don’t ask me how as I’ve struggled to find that original review again!) and had started the ball rolling by sending an email enquiry to find out if they could cater for M or not.
This was the fantastic and prompt response I received from Paul, owner and chef, and immediately prompted Mike to ring and make a reservation for our first night there.
Excited by the prospect of a meal that we were confident would be prepared with M in mind, we arrived ahead of schedule (practically unheard of in the 7Y2D household) and were seated in their charming back dining area. The restaurant is set over the 2 floors of a 17th century townhouse, which gives it a cosy atmosphere and you feel like you’re eating amongst friends. The menus arrived at our table and here was the first big tick of our evening. G was presented with their Junior menu, which had been carefully annotated just for her to show which options could be made both GF and DF as she needed. As she spent time perusing the dishes, M was informed that the chef was busy preparing his dinner – a small touch, but such a thoughtful one as it helped him to feel as much a part of the dining experience as the rest of us. We were given baskets of delicious bread with a variety of butters, oil and vinegar to enjoy whilst we chose our meals and G was thrilled to receive her very own serving of GF bread and DF butter. We had taken some rice crackers for M to nibble on as we enjoyed our starters and, having been informed that they cooked with local rapeseed oil, we asked if he could have his own mini dish of rapeseed oil to dip his rice crackers into – a request that was instantly met and received his great approval.
To our delight, so tempted was G by the menu in front of her, she decided to try something new and picked their Tomato and Basil soup to start, followed by the GF penne pasta with a tomato sauce and goats cheese; and I don’t think I have ever seen her plate empty quite so quickly when out for dinner. M’s meal was equally successful and he enjoyed a “mountain” of rice, strips of cucumber and a beautifully marinated and succulent chicken breast. The waiting staff were knowledgable, polite and helpful throughout our meal and at no point did we feel that our requests were too much trouble for them to handle. The meal was such a success that when asked if we should come back again later in the week, M’s response was an immediate “..of course!..” Even better, we heard what has to be one of the quotes of the week from M that night in response to Mike’s question of whether he wanted to come back because it was “posh”.
“Well yes Daddy, of course. Who doesn’t like posh restaurants?“
Our return visit couldn’t come quick enough for our impatient duo, who asked almost every day whether tonight was “the night” for going back there and that evening didn’t disappoint either. We persuaded G to try something different and she picked GF, DF fish, chips and peas, which were declared the “most delicious ever” and was able to have dessert of DF vanilla ice-cream. For those of you battling with the need to eat dairy-free, you will understand just how excited I was to see this on their menu as we generally find the puddings are either GF or DF, rarely both and usually not something our little Miss Picky will eat. As for M, well that night he ate like a king and I still have absolutely no idea where he put it all! To accompany his plate of safe foods, the chef had also prepared him some apple ring crisps and deep-fried sage leaves and M was in seventh heaven. He not only cleared his plate, but asked for more and the kitchen was more than happy to cook another chicken breast for him as quickly as they could. I had taken a dish of home-made safe apple crumble with me for M to enjoy, but had no need to produce it at the table as they had lemon sorbet on the menu, which proved safe for him to eat. Our waitress was fantastic in writing down the ingredients for us so that we could check it was 100% safe and the look on M’s face as he slowly swallowed that first mouthful was simply magical.
And really, I need say no more. The restaurant impressed us from the start with their obvious understanding of food allergies, their knowledge about cross-contamination risks and their attention to the fine details which meant both children really could enjoy an excellent 3-course meal with all the “twiddly bits” on offer too. I loved that the menu was carefully annotated to meet the food needs of every individual customer and that the ingredients in the dishes were listed, so you knew exactly what you were eating and there were no hidden extras. They happily swapped my mashed potato for rice on our second night and willingly went that extra mile when we asked if they could cook more for M. They were even happy to give me the recipe for the marinade used for his chicken, so I can attempt to replicate the dish at home. A big thanks to Paul, Claire and the rest of their team, who made our meals during that week an unforgettable experience. I don’t know when we’ll be back, but we certainly intend a repeat visit if at all possible and they well deserve the phenomenal 20 out of 10 that M awarded them!