Less than three miles down the road and less than one hundred years ago, a model posed nude on the rocks and one Alfred J Munnings clung on to the cliffs above to catch a glimpse of flesh framed by sea and rocks. Dominic Cooper plays the much-acclaimed and eccentric Newlyn painter whose love life forms the basis of Jonathan Smith's novel, Summer in February, out on film in June of this year. Lamorna, the centre of the unfortunate love triangle that led to the suicide of Munnings' favourite subject and first wife, Florence Carter-Wood, is within striding distance from The Old Coastguard, the newest eatery and sleepery of the brothers Inkin.
Charles and Edmund took over The Old Coastguard in 2011, the third in their series of 'dining pubs with rooms.' The original model for their signature hospitality- the Felin Fach Griffin in Wales- was followed by the hugely popular Gurnard's Head in Cornwall and the third addition, also in Cornwall, cements the signature Inkin style: "Nothing matches," explains Edmund, "it's not really deliberate, it's disorganised." And therein lies that unassuming British charm and hospitality that the Inkins do so well from stripy sofas and mismatching pine tables to Roberts radios no TVs and a jumble of books you might actually want to read by your bed.
"We don't want to be over-ambitious and we're not cheffy; we serve brasserie style food and don't like to follow trends," Edmund continues. The food is a highlight (and the reason why so many Londoners make the pilgrimage down to Cornwall for the Gurnard's and now the Old Coastguard). As is the view of crashing waves, the garden that leads down to the shore and the grey stroppy sky that greets us as we arrive. And the prices. We can talk of excellent food and quality (disorganised) interiors but what so many reviewers forget to mention is the dime dollars and pounds that you have to fork out for the pleasure of eating and sleeping away from home. The Old Coastguard, as with all the other Inkin sleepery-eateries is extremely good value as Edmund explains: "We want to be cheaper than the local pub. The food is not expensive but it's well-priced and you can get a main for £11 or £12. You'll rarely find food of that price and quality for that price." And he's absolutely right. Often out on the road reviewing I rarely, if ever, have eaten food of that quality in such a location for such a price.
The brothers offer an Eat Sleep Drink deal over winter which Edmund describes as, "preposterous value." Their current offer is The Spring Sleepoverfor two or more nights at The Coastguard from 21 April - 22 May from £269 per couple for 2 nights, including supper. May I just add how darn good the breakfast is too. Eaten to the accompaniment of Radio 4. Newspapers on request. Sunshine hitting the crest of the waves. Absolute Sunday bliss.
The Gurnard's Head will be running its annual beer and music weekend 'Wake the Fish' from 25 - 26 May featuring Cornwall's best breweries and eight live music acts. Entry is free. Did someone mention good value for money? I've dusted down the tent already.