Saturday, 23 December 2006

Review: The King's Head, Ruan Lanihorne

Ruan Lanihorne is an ancient and picturesque village on one of the tributaries of the Fal. It’s only about ten miles from St Austell and with its wind-swept mud flats and many long and short walks it’s well worth a visit for a weekend stroll. The village, though small, is quite spread out and has some interesting old houses, a “castle” and a pre-norman church that is worth a stroll around.

The Pub

The King’s Head is an attractive pub with traditional décor and modern restaurant layout. Because the layout is focussed on dining rather than “ye old alehouse atmosphere” it does lack a certain cosiness, but it is by no means sterile. The staff were all friendly and obliging.

The Menu

The menu is heavily biased towards sea food, especially the Daily Specials. The cheapest main course is about seven pounds, the most expensive fifty new pence under thirteen pounds. As well as the fish they serve steak, pheasant , local sausages and other meats.

I had the plaice: one of the daily specials, and it was a beautiful piece of fish cooked to perfection. It came with chips (which I always think of as a bit of a cop out) and the salad, though fresh and varied was let down a tad by the vinaigrette that refused to let its self be noticed. Call me old fashioned, but a restaurant salad should be able to stand up as a dish in its own right and that didn’t happen here. Nonetheless, the meal was just shy of superb.

I also had the Moules Marinere, which was fantastic. The sauce was right and well balanced and the addition off rosemary was an unusual but interesting diversion for this classic. This is the same dish I had in the Seven Stars a few days ago. The mussels could have come from the same rock… yet the two dishes could not have been more different. The King’s Head was orders of magnitude better.

There is a kind of person that is not very welcome at the King’s Head: that is one of those folk who have taken it upon themselves to only eat plants and nuts. Right or wrong, this cult is here to stay and most of its disciples are not going to be happy with a ploughman’s or its unimaginative relations. As a meat-eater this menu undersight didn’t bother me in the slightest but as two of my dining companions were “friends of Linda” it was a bit of a downer to put up with their glum faces and “why can’t people see we are just like everyone else deep down” protestations.

Lucky for the rest of us, the chef came to the rescue with two hastily prepared vegetarian risottos that were described by the two hippies as “not great” and “tasty” respectively, averaging 6.5 out of 10. I seem to remember reading somewhere that vegetarians have different taste buds to normal people so that would probably put the score for the risotto at a normalised 5 out of ten.

Menu Update: A blog reader called Auntie Rita has this to say:

Just an update on the Kings Arms - when we visited it on 3rd Jan., it had included an excellent cauliflower risotto to its menu that was highly rated by two of our party. The starter of garlic tiger prawns is superb. 7 of us had a lovely evening with everyone delighted with the food, service and ambiance of the whole place. Highly recommended.


It’s a lovely gastro-pub in a lovely location. Pretty easy to get to with excellent food, unless you’re a veggie, in which case you should probably stay in the car with some cress.























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