It was 27 years ago, a snowy Sunday afternoon in a part of Britain then not noted for blizzards, global warming not being part of the consciousness, but infamous for forcing its pubs to close mid-afternoon. Greedy Girl, in a previous life, was at the Pandora, a 13th century thatched cottage on the Restronguet Creek, near Falmouth in Cornwall.

The wood fires were crackling merrily away and the red wine was flowing. Outside, the drifts piled up and the chances of getting cars up the steep climb heading back to civilisation were limited. Who cared?

Summer or winter, it is a fantastic spot. When the tides are right, locals can sail up to the Pandora’s pontoon or enjoy a leisurely stroll from nearby Mylor Bridge. Arriving in non-peak times, there are some prized car spots – as enjoyed by Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband who made an hour’s pilgrimage from Wadebridge.

Not much can keep the Pandora down and it has enthusiastic support from locals and tourists alike. Such is its fame, it was even featured in the Financial Times’ latest How to spend it magazine. Unlike other regional attractions, it is absolutely not a tourist trap.

The pub has just re-opened after a devastating fire in March 2011 threatened to do what time seemingly cannot. When the thatch went up, the roof collapsed into the first floor. While the walls remained upright, the ancient building looked to have an uncertain future, but its owners rallied to re-open the pub within a year of the blaze.

There are some ‘new features’ and, thankfully, they mostly relate to the toilets. ‘Nuff said. Downstairs, the interior looks remarkably untouched but with the very welcome addition of some leather padding placed over the lowest beams near the bar. The ceiling heights definitely attest to the building’s age and an era of much, much, much shorter individuals. Greedy Girl was thankful not to be wearing heels.

The FT story told of ‘hake and ale’. While Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband decided not to partake of the former, we both tried the local ale. Four Cornish ales are available on tap and a local lager. Half pints (we were driving) in hand, we headed to an outdoor seating area on the far reaches of the pontoon. A welcome sign reminded children (or, more accurately their parents) that this was ‘not a play area’.

Battling a blustery wind, we sat and sipped (at least it kept the beer cool) and watched the boats tipped on their sides in the slick of remaining water at low tide and a lone white swan feasting on whatever greenery it could find. At the arrival of people and therefore, presumably, food, the ducks headed for the pub forecourt, blithely ignoring yelps from excited puppies.

After our nature moment, we judged it too cool to sit outside and eat and found a cosy corner inside. The interior on the ground floor is a rabbit warren of rooms and various floor heights. We ordered another round of beers and some food.

Greedy Girl admits she was craving a hamburger but couldn’t bring herself to order something so ubiquitous. She opted for the crab sandwich, served on ciabatta with mayonnaise, lemon and peppercorns. Local crab – check. Ciabatta – check (I have the flour all over my jeans to prove it). Mayonnaise – check, plus, plus. Lemon? Peppercorns? Absent. Crab shell – check (unfortunately). The crab was fresh and tasty but lacked any real seasoning. It was served with a salad drowning in balsamic dressing and what we Aussies proudly term chips, but must be referred to locally as ‘crisps’.

Gluttonous husband also turned his back on the ‘hake’ to opt for Cornish sausages, served with a champ-style mash, red wine and onion jus and roasted tomatoes.

This was served searingly hot. Greedy Girl offered up half her crab roll with a promise of sharing the snags once they’d cooled to merely blisteringly hot. Once sampled, the sausages and tomatoes were indeed tasty and while gluttonous husband raved over the jus and mash, Greedy Girl could take it or leave it. Also a bowl of chips (not crisps) ordered on the side came out rather too blonde for her liking and no amount of salt could disguise that.

While the experience for gluttonous husband was postcard perfect, Greedy Girl felt a bit blue. Such happy memories but this visit hit no great heights. The dining room was cold and felt a bit damp. Despite the wind, it would have been warmer to sit outside and feed the leftover chips to the ducks.
You can go back again … but sometimes you need to ask yourself whether it’s a good idea.

Pandora Inn

Restronguet Creek, Mylor Bridge, Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
Pandora Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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