Chef’s Special: The Bay Restaurant at Hotel Penzance

Ben Reeves

Slow Roasted Primrose Herd Belly Pork



Slow Roasted Primrose Herd Belly Pork, Crushed Cannellini Beans, Smoked Bacon and Vegetable Dressing.

Recipe by: Ben Reeve, Head Chef, The Bay Restaurant at Hotel Penzance

Ben is a local boy returned. Schooled in Hayle, trained in Camborne, and then he left to travel far and wide. He’s worked in Australia, France and all over Britain including spending 5 years in the capital. However, he never thought he’d ultimately spend his life working in London. Six years at The Bay has been a welcome return. In Cornwall he now feels properly at home.

“In the last 10 or 15 years the standard of food has become incredibly high in Cornwall. When I first started, it was necessary to move out of the county to learn how to cook to the highest standard. Now it is possible for any new apprentice to train locally; as we’ve inspiring restaurants and talented chefs right here.”

Ben’s describes his cooking as ‘modern English fine dining’. “The food style is lighter and there are no so many cream sauces…” It is a move away from times when dinners felt were too stuffed to enjoy dessert. “Our aim is for people to be able to eat and enjoy three courses comfortably, so I write my menus with this aim in mind.”

“Primrose Herd pork is from Gloucester Old Spot pigs which is quite a sweet meat. In part the flavour is from the breed but particularly in the way the pigs are raised and fed. The trick is to cook it very slowly, which keeps it succulent and juicy, enhancing the flavour with garlic and herbs.”

The Bay restaurant is soon to launch an open ‘all-day’ dining concept. Keeping the standard of food just as high, but allowing for a more informal feel where customers can enjoy the restaurant at all times of the day, from breakfast, lunch, teas, through to fine dining in the evening.

(Serves 4)



½ Belly Pork, skinned and boned.

½ Lemon zest, 1 clove of Garlic, 4 x Bay leaves, Salt & Pepper, 1 Sprig of thyme


200g Dried Cannellini beans (soaked in cold water overnight)

1 shallot finely chopped

2 Bay leaves

1 Clove garlic

1 ½ Pints of Chicken stock

Salt and Pepper

Vegetable Dressing

2 x Rashers of smoked bacon finely diced

1 Dessert spoon of finely chopped carrot, celeriac, shallot, courgette, celery and fennel.

2 Dessert spoons of olive oil

1 Dessert spoon of Cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper

For the Pork

Ask your butcher to skin and bone the pork. Cook the skin separately with salt until crispy. Place the bones in a roasting tray with the pork on top. Sprinkle the pork with lemon zest, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Cover with foil and bake in the oven at 150°c for 4 hours. Leave to rest up to 15 minutes, place under to grill just to colour the pork.

In a thick bottom pan, fry the shallots and garlic until soft without colour. Then add the beans, bay and stock. Bring to the boil and leave to simmer quietly. The beans should take about 2 ½- 3 hours. Add more stock if needed. The beans should be whole but soft to touch with most of the stock reduced. They can be cooked earlier and reheated when needed.

To make the Dressing

Gently fry the bacon until golden brown and leave to cool. When cold combine all of the ingredients to make the dressing. When you are ready to serve, this can be quickly reheated on the stove. This will take 1-2 minutes.

Garnish the pork with a spring of chervil and a thin strip of pork crackling and the dish with a little pork jus.
Hotel Penzance & Bay Restaurant
Britons Hill, Penzance, TR18 3AE
t. 01736 363117


One comment on “Chef’s Special: The Bay Restaurant at Hotel Penzance

  1. So good to hear Cornish food referred to so highly! This sounds a delicious recipe as well.

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