Want to be led down a literal garden path and into a fine dining experience that still feels homely? Head to Polperro.
Owners Sam Coverdale and Emma Phillips have built a name – some might say small empire – for themselves as masters of sustainability, community and experience. It’s embedded in every touchpoint, from their wine brands (Polperro and Even Keel by Polperro) to their restaurant, bistro, luxury vineyard villas, hot yoga studio, boutique clothing store and recently opened 1950s farmhouse accommodation.
There’s a lot to love about Polperro, before you even wine, or dine. The rugged-sleek Hecker Guthrie-designed interior is upmarket cottage charm at its finest: whether you're sinking into the rich, lived-in chocolate leather booths, sitting next to the open fireplace on your Mongolian sheepskin-laden chair or heading out through the gauzy linen curtains to the overhanging wooden deck (the perfect spot to toast the sunset with a glass of Even Keel Méthode Champenoise Rosé).
Polperro’s flagship restaurant began as a rustic, share plate-style bistro (this baton has been passed on to sister restaurant and locals’ hotspot, Many Little) and has made a smooth transition to delicate dining under the careful direction of head chef Shane Burke (Barn & Co, Stokehouse, Circa) and Michael Demagistris (East Bar & Dining, Alinea, Chicago and Noma, Copenhagen).
Despite the sophisticated, French-inspired menu, humble produce picked from the kitchen garden, or supplied by local growers, remains the main source of inspiration, setting the tone for every delicate dish served up. It’s a true seasonal menu that “moves” with what Polperro’s produce manager Nick Monaghan pulls out of the ground, and what’s been planned for, and planted – whether that be beets or a bumper crop of just-picked heirloom tomatoes (this season they have more than 70 varieties).
This garden-to-plate mantra is reimagined into inspiring dishes, such as pink lady apple with wood sorrel granita and native saltbush and maple infused ‘nitro’ popcorn. Vegetarians will delight in the foraged pine mushroom tortellini while meat lovers can indulge in the slow braised Wagyu beef cheek in soubise sauce, or Aylesbury duck leg with farm beets and celeriac.
Indecisive? Sample a selection of dishes picked by Burke with Polperro’s ‘tour’ menu ($90 per person / $150 with paired wines, vegetarian option $85).
If you’re after a more casual experience, Polperro’s November to April picnic menu remains. Head outdoors to the grassed area adjoining the restaurant and pull up a deckchair, or laze on a picnic rug next to the vines and tuck into a made-to-order picnic hamper, featuring a selection of cheeses, kitchen garden produce and Polperro wines.
And if you’re only there for the wine (and to admire the view) that's okay too with Polperro’s cellar door open Wednesday to Sunday for walk-in tastings, up to 10 people. For larger groups, it’s best to book ahead.