It was my Mum’s 60th birthday and we were down in Newquay Cornwall for a week for this occasion.
To celebrate, my Mum had decided to try Bush Pepper, an Australian restaurant in the heart of Newquay and after sampling the Aussie delicacies in Sydney for the past year and a half, I was interested to know how this Australian restaurant would fare. Let’s just say I had high expectations, especially after learning that the owner and Chef, Chris Brookes is from Australia and the restaurant had been crowned Best Restaurant at the Newquay Bar & Venue Awards in November 2014!
Located on Fore Street, it is very easy to walk past Bush Pepper, as it is close to other bars, cafes and gift shops and can blend in. Just keep an eye out for a red and white painted frontage and you’ll be alright!
Inside, you are welcomed by a contemporary interior with Australian paintings on the walls and we were sat on a long table by the bar and decided that the cuddly kangaroo mascot (Skippy) sitting by the till would be our buddy for the evening.
It was a good job we had made a reservation as it was a fairly smallish restaurant and there were eight of us on a Sunday night dining here, whilst there was another party going on too so the restaurant was teeming with activity.
Chris was actually waitering tonight as one of his staff had gone sick and he was doing a fine job helping us choose menu selections and whetting our appetites.
Although an Aussie restaurant, Bush Pepper takes on a modern approach, combining local flavours and delicacies found in Newquay and Cornwall. However, for those looking for typical Australian ingredients and flavours then you won’t be disappointed as you will find skippy (not the cuddly kangaroo mascot!) and croc on the menu too.
A few of my party went for the sharing platter (Bush Pepper Calamari, Crocodile and Black Pudding croquettes, Crab and Fish Cakes) for £14.50, which I would have also gone for if someone else wanted to share, but I decided to try out the Calamari, as I know this is done very well in Sydney, but the times that I have had it in England it can sometimes be overcooked and tough.
Before our entrees arrived, we were greeted with complimentary home-made damper bread, which was served still warm alongside rapeseed oil, balsamic and Queensland macadamia dukkah. The bread was extremely moreish, especially accompanied by the dukkah, which reminded me of the flavours of Bombay mix. In a word – YUM!
With our tastebuds salivating and our tummy’s wanting more, our entrees soon arrived. Everyone’s dishes were beautifully presented and our table soon went quiet as everyone feasted on the delights in front of them.
I was very impressed by my Bush Pepper Calamari which was perfectly cooked and there was plenty of it. There was definitely no scrimping in this restaurant and the food must have been excellent as everyone’s plates were completely clean!
Next, it was time for our mains, and you can’t come to an Australian restaurant and not have the kangaroo in my opinion, so this is what I went for. However, after living in Sydney for the past 18 months I have extremely high expectations of kangaroo as it has to be cooked right. There is one place in Sydney where I have had kangaroo numerous times, and it is the best kangaroo that I have ever had. No pressure Chris!
Besides kangaroo on the Bush Pepper menu, there were plenty of other Aussies delicacies to sample including Chicken Parmigiana and a variety of steaks, whilst you can also find fish and seafood on the menu too as well as specials of the day.
We didn’t have to wait long for our mains to come out and my kangaroo was nicely cooked and came with sweet potato chips, but as I have been spoilt by Sydney’s kangaroo dish, on this occasion it was not as good as Sydney’s in my opinion, but everyone else on my table who had it enjoyed it and it was their first time eating kangaroo.
Now did we have room for dessert? Well, after looking at the blackboard menu that was sitting right by us I think I could squeeze in some pudding which were affordably priced at £5. There was plenty of choice including sticky pear and date cake, homemade sorbets, cheese board (which is best ordered at the start), Pavlova or an upside down mango cheesecake. However, I decided to go for the hazelnut chocolate torte which is very unlike me as I don’t normally eat chocolate or nutty desserts for that matter. Perhaps this Bush Pepper dessert could change my mind?
Again, our desserts didn’t take too long to arrive and were beautifully presented and my Mum’s even had a candle so we sang her Happy Birthday with plenty of cheer! The torte was served with homemade Irish cream and Cornish Clotted Cream on the side – I think that’s the reason I went for it – got to get my fill of clotted cream before I leave! The dessert was actually very nice, although a bit too nutty for me, but the creams were the perfect accompaniment.
Before we left Bush Pepper, Chris also served each of us a complimentary Baileys drink with ice to his mother’s recipe to end the evening on a high and it definitely was a very touching gesture, appreciated by all.
Overall, an excellent dinner at affordable prices with very friendly and attentive service. Although the kangaroo did not beat Sydney’s in my opinion, it was still very good and definitely a must try for anyone who has not tried kangaroo before.
With a great choice of food available throughout the day including breakfast and lunch, Bush Pepper certainly has a lot of appeal and would welcome me back the next time I am in Newquay.