Mussels from Rock, less than three miles away, are the latest hero on head chef David William’s Celebrate the Seasons lunch menu at St Moritz Hotel in Trebetherick, Cornwall.
The azure waters of the Camel Estuary in Cornwall are home to highly sought-after succulent mussels farmed by Rock Shellfish. Plucked from ropes laid on the bed of the estuary, the sustainably grown mussels are then purified for two days using natural sea water and ultra violet light. Every day chef David Williams will call through his order, then the team simply boxes them up and puts them in the chiller van to drive the short distance from farm to the kitchen door of St Moritz Hotel.
Mussel men Tim and Jerry Marshall run Rock Shellfish; the farm has been in the family for five generations. Tim said, “St Moritz Hotel is one of our original customers and we deliver approximately a tonne of mussels to the hotel every year. This is the equivalent weight of two cars, so that’s a fairly hefty amount of local shellfish for diners to tuck into.”
Tim Marshall set up the mussel side of the family farm business in Porthilly, Rock 30 years ago. He wanted to work out a way to stay at home as he loved the farm and Cornwall so much. His family owned the foreshore at Porthilly, he was passionate about the sea and aquaculture so he was determined to make something work. The key to the quality of the ingredient is in the water. The seeds are sourced from up north but they grow best on the sea floor in Cornwall. Rock Shellfish lay them down and allow them to fatten for a year. Tim’s son Luke has taken up the mantle and goes out on an eco- barge to harvest them.
Leaving fads and fanciful cookery to others, St Moritz Hotel’s David Williams is keen to emphasise honest and natural cookery. With the best ingredients literally on the doorstep, he wants guests to savour the flavour of Cornwall whilst enjoying the stunning views.
The most significant determinant of quality with Rock Shellfish mussels is freshness; and they don’t get much fresher than these. Where other chefs might turn their noses up at varying sized and milkier looking mussels, instead of consistently yellow brightly coloured meat, David believes it’s not all about looks. He takes the taste test to ensure they are delicious.
Quality is paramount but ensuring the guests go away happy is David’s ultimate goal. For this reason David has developed a special weekly Celebrate the Seasons dish which aims to highlight an extremely local producer, making their on-season hero ingredient the star of the show.
David said, "I'm very fortunate here at St Moritz Hotel that Rock Shellfish mussels are not only geographically on my doorstep, but also indicative of what is great about Cornish produce. They are local, delicious, and sustainable.”
David continued, “All my London contemporaries use them, which is further evidence of their appeal and attraction. We are privileged that they are within walking distance and not a journey up the M4."
This month’s St Moritz Hotel’s Celebrate the Seasons special menu is Camel Estuary Moules Marinière served with french fries, fresh mayonnaise, Da Bara bread and a glass of Muscadet, all for £14.50, making the perfect simple supper after work or long laid-back lunch.
Next month’s celebrity ingredient will be chosen at the 11th hour, ensuring David tastes the cream of the local crops at the point they are going to be picked, giving his nod to only the best.
The new Celebrate the Seasons at Sea Side menu is £14.50, offered every Wednesday at the Sea Side Restaurant & Bar at St Moritz Hotel, Trebetherick, Wadebridge, Cornwall, PL27 6SD.
Please call 01208 862242 for reservations or book a table