Some of you may already know that Alex and I agreed to take over a restaurant this year!
I’ve spoken about it a bit on Instagram, but basically Alex has taken over the management of the on-site restaurant at The Valley in Carnon Downs (10 minutes outside of Truro) to rebrand and launch it this Spring as Azura Restaurant and Bar. I’ve created the new branding and am doing the promotion and marketing alongside Alex, and Chef Mark has created an incredible menu to match!
Yesterday was opening night – a special evening for family, friends and businesses to celebrate the launch. Over the last few months we’ve been planning this and getting everything ready, including redecorating the restaurant interior, creating menu designs and putting a team together. It’s been a huge learning experience and very stressful for Alex at times, but we are so happy with how it all went last night and I can’t wait to show these photos with you!
For opening night, Chef Mark put together an incredible 8 course taster menu of his finest dishes. His food is heavily influenced by his travels, bringing a modern twist to British classics, and it’s always exciting to see what he will put together next!
Everyone arrived around 6:30pm, relaxing and chatting in the bar area with some tasty gin cocktails. The fully stocked bar has a large range of soft and alcoholic drinks, including a selection of Cornish gins too. We also plan on putting together a cocktail menu soon as well, making Azura the perfect chill out spot for guest at The Valley throughout the seasons, and of course locals looking for an evening out in the countryside.
We all headed to our tables at 7pm, and were served our amuse bouche of artichoke veloute (aka a super delicious creamy soup!) along with some wine – both Alex and I appreciated having a drink to relax us after a busy day of preparations! The next course was a rillette of duck with chutney, followed by a mackerel salad.
The dishes were all served at a really nice pace, and the atmosphere was buzzing but chilled, which is exactly what we wanted. I chose a playlist of some chilled acoustic covers to play over the speakers, and it was lovely to see people taking photos of their courses and enjoying themselves.
After the mackerel, we had pork belly, followed by a cod dish, followed by lamb shoulder. As you can imagine, we were starting to get VERY full by this stage – 6 generous sized courses in! Each one was delicious and it was only the cod and lamb that I couldn’t quite finish as I was so full, plus I don’t normally eat meat so it was a lot. So tasty though, I wished I could finish it!
Mark is passionate about using quality, local ingredients, sourcing his meat from Cornish farms and fish from sustainable local fishmongers too. He is fantastic at creating dishes where all the flavours work well together, rather than as separate tastes. The presentation is always immaculate too!
Moving on to desserts, we were thankful to have a refreshing pause with a rhubarb sorbet mimosa to cleanse the palate, ready for the piece de resistance – a rich & chocolatey ‘fondownie’ with hazelnut icecream. It was my favourite course and absolutely a splendid way to finish the evening!
Despite the anxieties beforehand, we managed to enjoy ourselves throughout the evening and of course were well fed with Mark’s amazing food. It was great to see friends and family having a good time too, and overall we are both so pleased with how the opening night went!
Over the next few months we have pop up events and themed foodie nights planned – including a Sushi Night with Naoko’s Kitchen on May 4th, and a few Thai nights dotted throughout as well! To stay up to date with events, follow Azura on Facebook, and sign up to the mailing list for exclusive offers too.