Monthly Archives: March 2015
Just a few years ago, legendary Launceston butcher Philip Warren was on his own flying the foodie flag for the town. While places like Padstow and St Ives had already cultivated excellent reputations among holidaymakers, Launceston was somewhere those looking for quality Cornish food tended to bypass. Those in the know are no longer flying past on the A30 as they head west, stopping instead to sample the exciting range of foodie delights which are opening at an increasingly regular pace in Launceston town centre.
As well as smoking our own pork from the Penpont Brewery pigs, here at Firebrand Bar & Restaurant we serve a variety of meat from Warren’s – a Launceston institution run by a family which has been farming and butchering since 1880. As well as opening a successful butcher’s on Pennygillam Industrial Estate they’ve stayed loyal to Launceston town centre, knowing what a huge draw their flagship town square shop is and recognising the enormous impact it has on the local economy. Its not surprising that Launceston people, top London restaurants and Michelin starred chefs alike recognise the outstanding quality they’re getting from this absolute gem. The meat is still dry aged and matured traditionally on the bone and comes from the family farm, as well as farms on Dartmoor, Bodmin Moor and the Tamar Valley.
The focus is on suckled native breeds, including Red Devons, South Devons, Galloways, Welsh Blacks, Aberdeen Angus, Red Herefords and Dexters. Rare breed pigs range from Saddlebacks to Tamworths to Berkshires. Walking into Warren’s is a chef’s dream. Cut after cut is lined up before your eyes and anything not on show is available by request.
We serve good quality coffee from Voyager Coffee Roasters at Firebrand, but we’re very happy to point those looking for speciality roasts from across the world towards Liberty Coffee. Nestled at the bottom of the old Liberal Club with the castle looming overhead sits one of the best speciality coffee shops in Britain. Local Launceston man Ben Statton opened up in September 2012 as the scene was beginning to make its way outside London. His meticulous attention to detail, varying brew methods and ever-changing selection of coffees has rightly earned him a place in the South West Independent Coffee Guide.
An excellent selection of homemade cakes, loose leaf teas from Brew Tea Co and real hot chocolate provided by Kokoa Collection make Liberty Coffee an essential stop off on your Launceston foodie tour. You’ll find it easy to see why it outranks many top London coffee shops.
Little Bakehouse is the newest addition to Launceston’s town centre foodie scene. Opening shortly after Firebrand on the site of an old sweet shop, the artisan sourdough bakery serves up fresh breads, soups, cakes and coffee, as well as the occasional quiche. It’s been wonderfully done out with lovely touches such as a big farmhouse table for you to eat at with beautiful old crockery and cutlery.
The bakery is the second from Philip Hiscott and his wife Suzanne who already run the Little Bakehouse at Downgate. They always sold out when they brought their bread to Launceston’s monthly market in the town square so it made sense to look to Launceston when they decided to open a town centre bakery.
As members of the Real Bread Campaign they bake without any processing aids or artificial additives. If you’re self catering you’d be well advised to stop off and pick up a loaf or two.
If beer or cider your tipple of choice then a visit to The Beer Cellar is essential. Opened by Penpont Brewery, it offers a wide selection of some of the best Cornish craft beers and ciders for you to stock up on your way home. It’s not limited to local ales, however. Venture up Chings Alley and you’ll find a cellar full of beers from around the globe, ranging from Belgian Tripels to German Weissbier. Tarquin’s Dry Gin is also in stock for £30 per bottle, alongside their Cornish Pastis and Xanté cognac-based pear liqueur. The newly-launched Cornish deli range is also worth checking out if you enjoy interesting Cornish produce and gifts.
When Joe Thomson opened Firebrand, he did so out of a desire to serve up great American-style food using quality Cornish ingredients. His Rick Stein-trained brother Eddie came on board as head chef and the result was a being shortlisted for the title of Best Burger Joint in Cornwall within three months of opening and a fantastic response from foodies.
Back then, Jericho’s Kitchen – or Jericho’s Brasserie as it was known – was a good local cafe serving hearty food to the Launceston community. Recognising the desire for a more foodie-orientated offering, they’ve begun to make big changes and are focusing on promoting the provenance of local ingredients. Their Twitter feed is full of beautiful pictures of ingredients laid out before they are transformed into the final dish. Change is continuing a pace, with a new chef, new menu and new opening hours launched on 23 March. We’re looking forward to seeing its continued evolution.
Launceston is becoming an essential stop off for any foodie heading into Cornwall. Whether you want a quick bite, or your family would like to spend a day in a beautiful town to round off your trip, it’s ideally located on the A30 next to the Devon border.
Parking is just £2 all day Monday to Friday and £1 all day Saturday in the Upper Cattle Market car park. On Sundays all the car parks are free. For details of attractions including Launceston Castle, Lawrence House Museum, the 13th century St Mary’s Church and Launceston Steam Railway, visit Launceston Tourist Information Centre.
The Bell Inn – one of the town’s oldest pubs which dates back to the 15th century – is currently being refurbished as a real ale pub. We hope it will warrant inclusion on our Launceston town centre foodie list when it reopens later this spring.
Where to visit:
Firebrand Bar & Restaurant – lunch, dinner and drinks – 5-7 Southgate Street, Launceston, PL15 9DP
Little Bakehouse – lunch, cakes, bread – 26 Church Street, Launceston, PL15 8AR
Philip Warren – butcher – 1 Westgate Street, Launceston, PL15 7AB
Liberty Coffee – coffee and cakes – 4 Northgate Street, Launceston, PL15 8BD
The Beer Cellar – craft beer, cider and Cornish deli products – 3 Chings Alley, Launceston, PL15 9TD
Jericho’s Kitchen – lunch and dinner – 4 Northgate Street, Launceston, PL15 8BD
June 13 – Launceston Food and Drink Festival
July 25 – Lanson Grill Fest
Click to view all events at Firebrand Bar & Restaurant
If you read our blog or dine at Firebrand Bar & Restaurant you’ll know how important great quality local produce is to everything we do. We take that philosophy a step further than most, sourcing as much as possible from the Penpont Brewery and Firebrand Brewing Co farm just outside Launceston on the edge of Bodmin Moor.
Head brewer and owner Joe Thomson took bar and restaurant staff on a little tour so they could see the brewing process for themselves and come face to face with the rare breed pigs which they turn into succulent, smoked pulled pork just a few miles down the road.
The guys at Perfect Pint have rather helpfully put together this video from some of the tour pics which gives you a little peek into the farm and brewery:
If this has piqued your interest, look out for an in-depth tour blog which Joe will be posting soon.
When we heard the sad news of Sir Terry Pratchett’s death following his battle with Alzheimer’s we wanted to do our bit to help local sufferers.
Local newspaper the Cornish & Devon Post published this piece today. It reads:
A Launceston restaurant raised money for the town’s memory café charity by cooking up a special dish in honour of the late Sir Terry Pratchett.
The author, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, passed away on March 12 causing an outpouring of grief from fans.
Firebrand Bar & Restaurant owner Joe Thomson grew up reading Pratchett’s books and decided to raise funds for local Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers in his memory by creating a special and donating half the takings to charity.
Joe said: “Sausage inna bun – one of Discworld’s most famous foods – is a recurring theme throughout the series and I thought fans would be keen to tuck in for a good cause.
“Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease which affects so many people locally. Launceston Memory Café does a great job supporting them and their carers so we wanted to take the opportunity to do our bit to help.”
A collection tin has been placed on the bar to encourage continuing donations.
Firebrand Bar & Restaurant is busy hosting lots of community events such as the Launceston Family Fun Day in February and the upcoming Lanson Grill Fest on May 2, but the team are also keen to help local charities.
Head chef Eddie Thomson, who trained under Rick Stein, said: “We’ve grown up in Cornwall and we want to do our best for the people of Cornwall. We’re organising a fine dining charity evening on May 14 to benefit the Launceston Friends of Children’s Hospice South West and Launceston Foodbank which are two incredibly good causes.”
For information on the charity evening, or to book tickets, call 01566 770722 or pop into Firebrand Bar & Restaurant on Southgate Street.
Photo caption: Owner Joe Thomson and waitress Kira Talbot tuck into their sausage inna buns. Kira’s mum, Shirley, volunteers at Launceston Memory Café.
…and we’d love you to join us.
Bristol Grillstock is a festival of meat, music and mayhem and we’re heading up on 12 July.
Two music stages, a smokin’ hot US style low ‘n’ slow BBQ competition and fantastic craft beer bars attract thousands of people every year. For £55 you get festival entry, minibus travel there and back, a tshirt and free craft beer on the bus! There really isn’t a better way to spend a Sunday.
We’ll be leaving Firebrand at 9am and coming home at 11pm after watching headliners The Heavy. Throughout the day the stages will be showcasing some of the very best in rockabilly, Cajun, bluegrass, country and other foot stompin’ rhythms of the American south.
Eating competitions, smoking demos and a craft beer dive bar will compete for your attention with fire breathers, BBQ masterclasses, hot rods and dozens of traders selling awesome BBQ food and merchandise.
This is an essential trip for all lovers of American food, craft beer, music and style. Drop your cash into Firebrand to secure your place for what’s set to be an awesome day out.
There’s nothing better than some live blues and a glass of bourbon after a good plate of soul food. Joanna Cooke and Nathan Austin are here at Firebrand at 9.30pm on Saturday 14 March to entertain you as your meal goes down.
Non-diners are very welcome to join us for a drink to soak up their beautiful jazz, blues and soul. If you’ve never had the chance to see them before, check out this live track.
If you like what you hear there’s loads more to enjoy at www.soundcloud.com/
It’s always awesome to hear direct from diners how much they love Firebrand’s food and the atmosphere we’re trying to create. When one of them is Tasting Britain journalist Laura Barnes and she shares her thoughts for the world to see, it makes us very happy indeed!
We could rave all day about head chef Eddie’s menu but we’re more than happy to let Laura do the talking, especially when she writes: “The fish was the best of its kind I’ve tasted, and I recommend a visit to Launceston’s Firebrand from any corner of Cornwall.”
If you also love what we’re doing there’s still time to vote for us as Best Burger Joint in the What’s On Cornwall Awards 2015.