Star chef pair to open new restaurant

The global pandemic hasn’t been able to stop a star pub team starting up a mouth-watering new venture.

The gang behind the acclaimed seafood pub The Tolcarne Inn in Newlyn will launch their second Cornish inn, despite setbacks brought on by Covid-19 and lockdown.

Highly-respected chef and restaurateur Ben Tunnicliffe, alongside his head chef Matt Smith, have taken over The Packet Inn – an old coaching inn near Prussia Cove, which will officially opens its doors on September 2.

They say the new opening will create jobs and provide a much-needed boost for local suppliers as the autumn approaches.

Promising a “Cornish pub for all seasons”, and “a microcosm of Cornwall’s famously good food and drink”, Ben and Matt said they have been looking for a second site for some time and, despite difficult trading conditions, refused to be thwarted in acquiring The Packet.

Ben took over The Tolcarne in 2012, which rapidly gained a tasty reputation for its fresh seafood.

Seafood will be a feature of The Packet Station's menu, alongside locally-sourced meats and veg
Seafood will be a feature of The Packet Station’s menu, alongside locally-sourced meats and veg

Matt joined as head chef in 2019, allowing the dream of a second site to become a reality.

Whereas the location of The Tolcarne – on the harbourside of one of the UK’s major fishing ports – naturally dictates a focus on seafood, The Packet sits between coast and countryside and so the pair say they will cast their net wider for inspiration.

Ben said: “As ever we’ll be guided by seasonal cycles and our love for the finest local produce, but we’ll be working with local butchers and smallholders as well as growers and fishermen. So, as well as superb seafood, guests can expect grass-fed beef, free range poultry and outdoor-reared pork as well as colourful and creative vegetarian and vegan food.”

The menu will be in a ‘small plates’ format, encouraging diners to order and share a variety of dishes rather than the traditional three courses.

Chef Ben Tunnicliffe is very well known with a strong reputation in the Cornish culinary world
Chef Ben Tunnicliffe is very well known with an enviable reputation in the Cornish culinary world

Referring to their decision to launch a new pub during one of the most uncertain periods in living memory, Ben said he was undaunted by the uncertainty of the current climate, adding: “I will always be an optimist; I just can’t help myself.

“I have so much faith in the quality and reputation of the Cornish food and hospitality scene, in the talented people who deliver and supply it, and in the level of support and appreciation from the public that I can’t help but feel we’ll come out of this stronger eventually.”

Matt said: “The timing is challenging and there’s not many people launching new enterprises right now, but The Packet will be very accessible – both in terms of location and price – and the site lends itself well to adaptation and social distancing.

“It’s really great to be doing something positive – our staff and suppliers have received a much-needed boost as a result of this launch.”

Cornwall Live