Its nourishing green facade, bold white signage and large bay windows stand out in the busy high street. Displays of beautiful and full salad bowls and boards brimming with tahini cinnamon buns and Persian love cake stock the counters. Happy chatter from conversing customers and front-of-house staff drifts out from the doorway. A glimpse inside shows a long and deep room, with sizable tables and windows that line the far wall, and that boast some of the finest views in Falmouth.
With a daily changing menu that celebrates humble but first-class ingredients, diners can enjoy an experience that remains equal in personalisation and memorability, irregardless of dining in or taking it away.
Owner and chef, Kate Attlee, whose first Sabzi premises in Truro grew from success to success, is a local businesswoman with heart, soul, and charm, and is a consumer of all things culinary. We had the very special pleasure of being able to sit with her, with a mug of Middle Eastern fresh mint tea, in her new Falmouth eatery, to talk about her inspirations, ethos and her ongoing and future plans.
Hi Kate, we are so grateful to be able to speak with you today. To begin, could you tell us about your culinary background?
It’s a pleasure to be able to do so! I began my culinary career working front-of-house, training at the Michelin Starred River Café in London. This was the area in which I initially trained, and the importance and impact of attentive service has been in my repertoire ever since. After my time on Masterchef, I left London to find a home in Cornwall, and here Sabzi was born. Through my time working in both kitchen service and front-of-house service, I have a strong belief that hosting is equally as key as cooking when it comes to forming the happiest of dining experiences.
Who or what inspired you to be a chef?
I almost always jump to answer this question with: my Dad. Not only has his cooking been influenced by his Iranian heritage, but also by his world travel – his recipes and dishes have always been an amalgamation of all the places he lived, visited and has been fascinated by.
What is your signature dish?
Some may be surprised that this question is easy to answer, as Sabzi’s menu is constantly changing, but it is certainly our spiced and roasted roots. Using humble, inexpensive produce, a considered cooking method and wonderful extras such as whipped tahini and sweet homemade chutney, this recipe has always been a firm favourite with diners. For those seeking to recreate it in their own homes, pop into Sabzi for our not-so-secret recipe.
How would you describe your cooking style?
Middle Eastern at its very heart, built on a sustainable approach, championing local produce and quality ingredients.
How would you introduce Sabzi?
Sabzi is a celebration of gorgeous ingredients, served always with authenticity and heart in an informal setting. We have a close connection with our customers, and provide a sustainable and creative approach to the food industry, aiming to show that takeaway food can be just as delicious and exciting as that of more traditional restaurants.
Where do you find inspiration?
A good question, I think I consume all and any food content that I can. From cookbooks and food magazines to Instagram and dining out, I seem to surround myself with it.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef or owner of Sabzi?
When I was younger, my work experience was with a law firm, which I enjoyed very much. I love to debate and talk and had a strong desire to work as a lawyer in human rights. It is funny how life leads you down different paths!
Where in Cornwall are you happiest?
I adore the Roseland Peninsula and Carne beach. Falmouth is always a vibrant place to visit, as is St Mawes – having lunch on the terrace at Hotel Tresanton is always a treat. As a family we try to also enjoy boat trips annually that take us out around the River Fal to spot wildlife. Living in Cornwall, we can often be desensitised to what’s around us. I find importance in regularly exploring and re-immersing myself in my local surroundings and the Cornish way of life.
Who are some of your favourite local businesses, eateries or creatives?
How would you describe Falmouth to someone who has never visited?
Falmouth is a wonderful mix of all walks of life and is teeming with friendly creative souls and independent businesses. I love how much of a student town it can be, and we can’t wait to welcome back the Falmouth University students over the next few days. Underneath the visitors and the students, there is a strong foundation of long-term residents who Sabzi are so grateful to have seen so many of since our second premises opened.
What future plans do you have?
Over the next week, we will be announcing the start of our bi-annual Supper Clubs, which invite both locals and visitors to dine together informally during the first two Friday evenings of each month. I hope to host cooking classes here and our ready meals will soon take a permanent place on our menu, with options to pre-order and then reserve. You will be able to reheat these at home or store them in your freezer for up to three months. Our portions will be generous, with no need to buy any additional sides or salads. Sabzi will also offer a lovely discount to all of those who chose to buy a lunchtime salad alongside their ready meal dinner.
What is your favourite property in the Cornish Holiday Cottages portfolio?
I’d say 23 Florence Terrace for me; the beautiful period features, amazing reading nook with spectacular views, and easy access to the town centre (And Sabzi!) would make for a magical trip in my opinion!
If you are planning a stay with us and would be interested in any of Kate’s beautiful ready meals, which you can enjoy after a long day of travelling to your Cornish cottages, or throughout your stay please, call her friendly team on 01326 761610 or email firstname.lastname@example.org