With two restaurants, a lounge, bar and private dining spaces to manage, Polly Dent has a lot on her plate. We asked her what keeps her hungry for more…
Brasserie on the Bay is the flagship restaurant. With two AA rosettes to its name, how do you maintain quality day after day?
Fresh, honest, local. Those are the words we live by. Dishes are cooked to order; ingredients are sourced from within the county. And we keep it seasonal, with well thought out dishes and interesting combinations of flavours and textures, often playing on classic brasserie dishes.
What do you love most about it?
The flexibility in our menu. You can eat casually and keep it light, or really dine out. And we’re proud to show the local provenance of our dishes, whether from a nearby farm, field or sea. Oh, and the view! Can I say three things?
For contrast, the Garden Kitchen was conceived as a more casual dining experience, how does it work in practice?
It’s a beautifully light and airy space, which is reflected in the simple, lighter and healthier dishes we developed with good nutrition and well-being in mind. We start with plant-based recipes and offer the option to add meats and cheeses to each diner’s preference and dietary requirement.
Menu options reflect lots of different culinary traditions. How did that come about?
Our chefs use spices and flavours from the world over, adding depth to our dishes and tying in the history of Falmouth. The town remains a key international shipping port – reputedly the third deepest natural harbour on earth – and ships filled with exotic ingredients would arrive here from around the globe for the British market.
Yours has been an interesting career. Which influences do you keep with you?
Both at Rick Stein’s and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, the focus was simple ingredients, well cooked, from the best suppliers and producers. Chefs should be passionate, enthusiastic and creative, able to change the lunch and dinner menu daily to reflect the availability of ingredients. I’m proud to say we have that here.
Finally, with so much insider knowledge, what makes a dining experience memorable for you?
Authentic, knowledgeable staff with a true passion for customer care. It’s all in the love and personal touch.
Polly's Perfect Pavlova
For Polly, summer should be sumptuous, scrumptious and sun soaked, served with a side of pavlova...
My grandma would make the best pavlova every summer. It can be basic – pavlova with strawberries and cream – or all-out, with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, prosecco Chantilly and brown sugar meringue. It’s a go -to barbecue bestie.
For the pavlova
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar
For the topping
250g double cream
2 tbl spn caster sugar
500g summer fruit (strawberries, raspberries etc)
1 vanilla pod
Method for pavlova
- Preheat oven to 150C
- In a clean bowl, whisk egg whites on medium setting; when they get close to soft peaks add the caster sugar gradually until all is combined
- Mix the white wine vinegar and cornflour together to form a paste and add to the egg and sugar mix
- Turn up to high and leave to mix for 5-7 minutes until the mix is glossy and stiff
- Take a round main course plate and draw a stencil on to parchment paper, place a little meringue on to baking corners to make the paper stick to the tray.
- Empty the meringue into the stencil and level off as best as you can (this makes it cool evenly)
- Bake for 1 hour, then leave to cool completely
Method for topping
- Whisk sugar, cream and vanilla pod to stiff peaks, then fold through the yoghurt
- Spread cream and yoghurt mix on to your cooled pavlova, then arrange your fruit to decorate
- You can garnish the pavlova further with torn basil, mint leaves or edible flowers