“For me, it’s doubly satisfying – you’ve reared it, cooked it and people love it.” Not many restaurateurs can make such a claim. The 1,000 acres of Ellenglaze Farm are framed in the windows of Odds, a spectacular, unusual vista that captures rugged sand dunes, pulling the eye right out to St Ives, where the evening light is beginning to flash on the buildings in the distance. In the conceptual stages, Adam moved a chair up and down the field to find the best view, dictating where the restaurant would be built.
In our provenance-obsessed times, Odds has pushed the bar even higher in terms of food miles and local sourcing. Only in Italy’s agriturismi have I come across anything comparable – farms where you eat and sleep and food is sourced straight from field to plate. The farm’s Hereford pedigree cows take centre stage as you walk down the stairs: pin-ups to quality, one poster even has Adam lying down next to his prize bull. The beef stars in a restaurant favourite and highlight – Beef Two Ways – a steamed suet pudding and a char-grilled fillet steak.
The dish is an ode to the cow, these particular ones being reared just two fields away: the meat is sweet succulent tender (perhaps just a little too much red wine jus) and the overall effect is a celebration of the best of British heritage cooking with some of the best of Cornwall’s produce. VM went for the line-caught bass with chorizo ratatouille – crisp skin, delicate and meltingly fresh, even if the chorizo wanted to steal the show.
Bread is made in-house with freshly milled grain from St Newlyn East. I chose honey and cinnamon over onion, a delicious malty rye style bread, slightly chewy, the consumption of which had to be curtailed in preparation for the beef. Alongside the bread for starters, we opted for Cornish fish cake with samphire and pesto for me, wild garlic mushrooms with hollandaise, white truffle oil and Serrano crisp. Sumptuous and filling, the samphire in particular was a real treat, lending a lively salty flavour to the fish cake studded with fresh salmon.
By dessert we had almost peaked early. With some Malbec and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to soothe digestion, we perused desserts. Sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and orange and whiskey ice cream, chocolate and Baileys pot de crème and elderflower ice cream and more. The list of post-mains delectables was temptingly disorientating and we turned to Laura our waitress for help. The upshot was a selection of homemade ice creams by Jim in the kitchen: liquorice, elderflower and honey, with everything bar the liquorice sourced from the farm. The liquorice, a deep chocolatey black brown was possibly (and I have eaten a lot of ice cream in Italy) the best ever. A revelation for the taste buds, thank you Jim.
Adam crouched down next to us with affable concern and curiosity for what we thought about the meal. Honestly? We loved it. Loved the service, the atmosphere, the care, the sourcing that beats all other restaurants I’ve been to and the concept. Odds is a grass-roofed construction built into the hillside with stone from the site, that aims rather unnervingly to blend into the landscape. From above, all that signals the existence of the restaurant is a wooden porthole, a Doctor Who tardis that opens out into a light-filled interior below.
And the name? Isn’t it, ah, rather odd? Adam explains: “It’s my nickname from when I was at school. We’re a little bit different here.” Different yes, but also ambitious, visionary and very good.
Odds The Restaurant can be found on Holywell Road, Cubert, just outside Newquay. Call 01637 830505 or go to www.oddstherestaurant.co.uk for more information and reservations.