It’s an absolute joy to return to Talland Bay Hotel for a relaxing overnight stay and to their seasonal tasting experience.
This is my second invite to Talland Bay Hotel, near Looe, Cornwall. My first was about a year ago for lunch; it was fabulous. I was excited to return with my sister, Lisa, for an overnight stay and to try their new 9 course seasonal spring tasting menu.
About Talland Bay Hotel
Talland Bay Hotel oozes personality and individuality. It’s certainly a memorable place to stay, with fabulous features and little touches wherever you look. It’s relaxed yet refined, with staff being friendly and personable, and offering incredible service.
The hotel’s bright interior flows throughout, with vibrant walls and eye catching artwork. Every room has its own personality, with nods to Alice in Wonderland and Wind in the Willows (which apparently was written nearby!). As the Talland Bay Hotel is in a secluded spot, above the beach of the same name, it feels like a treat when you step inside. You instantly know you’ve discovered a special place to stay; one that you’ll want to return to again and again.
The rooms at Talland Bay Hotel
Talland Bay Hotel have a mix of luxury country view rooms, sea view rooms and garden cottages. It’s a dog friendly hotel too so you don’t need to leave your pooch at home. For our stay, myself and Lisa were in Room 9, a superior sea view room. It has a private balcony overlooking Talland Bay Hotel’s beautifully maintained grounds which were basking in dappled light in the late afternoon sun .
Each room at Talland Bay Hotel has its own personality and decor, all with a luxurious feel. Ours was a large french inspired gold, black and cream twin room with wood panelling, a fireplace and 2 comfortable chairs by the doors leading to the outside area. On a warmer day, I’m sure we would’ve taken advantage of the sun loungers on the balcony. Instead, we lazed in the white fluffy robes and slippers supplied, sipping delicious English loose leaf tea from a decadent cup and saucer.
The bathroom was equally as tasteful. It’s a large, light airy room with a shower and bath, and toiletries from The White Company. A large conch housed thick white towels for us to use.
Myself and Lisa relaxed in our room and took our time getting ready before heading downstairs for dinner. We were so relaxed and chilled, I’m not entirely sure where the time went.
The spring seasonal tasting menu
Talland Bay Hotel have recently released their 9 course spring seasonal tasting menu with paired wines (£100 pp). We simply could not wait to taste the exquisite food Head Chef, Glen Merriott and his team had carefully formulated and prepared. As I’ve eaten at Talland Bay Hotel before, I knew it was going to a true fine dining experience. The Hotel has 2 AA Rosettes which speaks for itself.
Our evening started in the inviting bar where we were given the hotel’s own blend of gin. They’ve collaborated with nearby Colwith Farm Distillery to create their own house gin using botanicals, such a pine, from their grounds. Accompanying our Talland Bay gin and Fever Tree tonic were some nibbles. These were small chicken liver tarts and little round blue cheese cakes – totally delicious. The pastry was amazing, it literally melted in my mouth. From then on, I knew I’d entered food heaven.
Myself and Lisa were then taken to through to the dining room. We were given a window table overlooking the patio and gardens. Our seeded bread rolls arrived first with garlic butter. Now, this is no ordinary butter, it’s Talland Bay Hotel butter. It was all whipped and light yet creamy. I seriously wish I could’ve taken some home.
The first course, Amuse Bouche, changes daily. Ours was a Thai Crab Cake with a lemongrass and coconut bisque and mango salsa. It was so good.
Our appetiser came next, Rabbit Ballotine with pickled fennel and a pollen cream. I was excited to have rabbit; I can’t remember the last time I ate it. It was perfect too, I wanted to savor every mouthful! This was accompanied by a gorgeous wine, a South African Viognier, offering peach notes to complement the richness of the meat without the acidity of other white wines.
Next up was the fish course, Local Scallops with a Brown Crab Mouse, coupled with watercress pesto, samphire and a fresh chili cracker. I love fish and seafood but rarely cook it at home, it’s usually what I choose when eating out. The dish looked stunning and the scallops were cooked perfectly. The fish course was paired the Seifried Estate Gewurztraminer. I think out of all the delicious wines we had, this was probably my favourite. It’s a lovely citrusy wine with lemon and limes, coupled with a bit of apple and pear. As if that isn’t tasty enough, there’s also some elderflower and burnt pineapple in there too.
The main course was a Rump of Lamb. This is served with a wild garlic salsa verde, shallot and lamb gravy, and crisp sweetbreads. I absolutely love lamb, but again, seldom eat it. I couldn’t wait to enjoy it as our main course. The paired wine was a Californian Zinfadel made with ripened grapes, cherries and raspberries, which provide a hint of vanilla. Plus, there’s lots of red and black fruits in this wine, offering a bit of sweetness that marries up nicely with lamb. This was a lovely silky smooth red that was easy to drink.
Following our main course, it was time for our palette cleanser. Like the Amuse Bouche, this changes daily. For our Talland Bay tasting experience we had poached pineapple pina colada sorbet and it was divine.
We decided to have a little break before dessert. It was great to share this experience with my sister and have a proper catch up. By this time we were feeling quite chilled; I think the wine was taking hold.
The dessert on the spring tasting menu is a Rhubarb and Custard – a warmed doughnut with a custard mousse and poached Cornish rhubarb. Rhubarb is in season at the moment, it’s tart and gorgeous, and I’m here for it. The perfect wine pairing for this dessert? Bubbles of course, a Muscat D’Asti. This is a medium sweet wine is made with orchard fruits and elderflower, giving an additional apple flavour to the dessert.
As far as I’m concerned, all excellent dining experiences end with cheese so I was thrilled when the cheese board made an appearance. I love how it was presented too. The cheeses were placed on a bit of tree bark which originated from the grounds of Talland Bay Hotel.
It was recommended that we try one piece of cheese but were welcome to have as many as we liked. I opted for the Sharpham Rustic with Dulse and Sea Nettle, a solid but creamy cheese that ticked all my boxes. Lisa had the Devon Blue which came highly recommended. We had a selection of small crackers, grapes, celery and chutney to have with our selected cheeses. With the cheese came a small glass of Olorosso Sherry which has predominant walnut notes making it perfect for cheese. It had a bit of a warming spicy taste too, and I have to say, it was delicious.
From here, we decided to go to the bar for our tea and petit fours (turkish delight fudge and a little chocolate tiffin). We met Head Chef, Glen, who was incredibly humble and modest. I’ve never had a tasting menu before and I’d say it’s one of the most memorable dining experiences I’ve had to date. As we drank our tea, we spoke to Jack, the manager, who shared more of the hotel’s story.
Breakfast at Talland Bay Hotel
We made our way back to our room full and satisfied, and literally rolled into bed. We slumbered by the sea in our wonderfully soft and comfortable beds, waking in time for a nice cup of tea before breakfast.
As we had eaten so well the night before, myself and Lisa said we’d have a light breakfast. Talland Bay Hotel put on an excellent breakfast spread. Lots of cereals, plenty of toast, pastries, fruit and yoghurt. However, once we were sat in the conservatory, looking at the menu with a pot of coffee and a glass of sharp grapefruit juice, it was hard to resist the offerings. We both decided to have Eggs Royale. It’s my all time favourite breakfast and I just couldn’t say no.
How to spend your time at Talland Bay Hotel
Relax at the hotel
If you’re in the mood to stay put and chill out while you stay at the Talland Bay Hotel, you can. Take your time to wander around the grounds, laze on the loungers, and have afternoon tea on the patio. I can confirm, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
Walk on the local beach
Just down the hill from the hotel is Talland Bay, a sandy beach with rocks to amble over and explore at low tide. Talland Bay Hotel is dog friendly as is the local beach. You can stroll down the hill and give your furry friend a good walk and a little swim during your stay.
Talland Bay Hotel isn’t far from Looe, a well known and popular fishing town on the south Cornish coast. In the car, it’s probably less that 10 minutes away. If you venture onto the coast path, it’s about 3 miles, one way. At Looe expect to find the usual coastal inspired outlets as well as boat trips in the summer months. It’s bigger than Polperro (see below) – I’ve not been for about 4 years so am well overdue a visit.
Walk to Polperro on the south west coast path
Before checking in at the Talland Bay Hotel, and while I waited for my sister to arrive, I decided to head out on the Polperro Heritage Coast. It’s only about a 1.5 miles. Aside from a very steep climb from Talland Bay, the south west coast path is more undulating than hilly.
This time of year is such a wonderful time to explore the south west coast path. Cow parsley has made an appearance and pink sea thrift frames the coastline perfectly. Yellow, coconut smelling gorse is also in abundance meaning there’s a vibrant colour palette dancing before your eyes.
With the sea relatively calm, and the sun finally making an appearance, it didn’t take long before I arrived at Polperro.
Polperro is a traditional Cornish fishing village with a working harbour and plenty of charm. Fisherman cottages huddle around the harbour and houses stretch up either side of the valley. You can almost picture what life must’ve been like here, hundreds of years ago. I bet there were a few smuggling operations here, back in the day!
Walking around Polperro, it’s a relatively small place with an impressive number of pubs! There’s also lots of ice cream and Cornish pasty sellers. Naturally, I was happy to see some art galleries too but with this being early May, not all places were open.
I spent a bit of time just sat on the harbour, taking in the view. There’s a small beach on one side which no doubt gets quite busy in peak season!
If you want to go a little further, check out Polruan and Lantic Bay. Both are are further along from Polperro.
Well, that wraps up my stay at Talland Bay Hotel and our fine dining experience with the new seasonal tasting menu. It’s an experience and hotel I’d highly recommend. Not only will you experience refined and laid back luxury from a wonderful team, you’ll leave feeling relaxed and well looked after.
We were invited to stay at Talland Bay Hotel – all views and opinions are my own. It’s a wonderful place to stay and eat.