By Katie Wilson

For someone who doesn’t usually like blue cheese or olives, I devoured both when I visited ONDA, a new Italian-inspired restaurant in Wadebridge, North Cornwall that is doing things a bit differently.

Not only were these two ingredients I had previously avoided delicious together, they were served warm. The blue cheese is the coating for ONDA’s Crispy Blue Cheese Olives, which were unlike anything I had ever tasted before.

Even if you’re not an olive lover, they are a must-order and you get plenty to share for £6. And I’m not the only fan of this new restaurant, headed up by local chef Ben Ambridge, who previously worked at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall.

ONDA restaurant Cornwall interiors
Credit: Rebecca West for ONDA

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, who has a house in the area, has been singing ONDA’s praises. Calling it ‘Wadebridge’s best new secret’, he said on Instagram it had ‘delicious food, warm very friendly front of house, everything you love from your local restaurant’.

I’d echo all of the above. Even the relentless rain on the wet October night when I visited with my parents didn’t dampen our spirits. I’m told ONDA means ‘good vibes’, and that is exactly what we got.

Aside from the food (more on that shortly), ONDA is housed in an impressive, almost church-like building. Think traditional stone, high ceilings and arched windows. Its history remains a mystery, but chef-owner Ben has been told it was once a place people were blessed in before crossing the river, an act meant to keep them safe.

ONDA restaurant
Credit: Rebecca West for ONDA

These days, the interiors are atmospheric with dark walls, wooden floors, orange colour pops on the banquette seating and pampas grass floral arrangements adorning the windowsills. At night, candles are put out on the tables creating a moody, but stylish vibe.

Three dining spaces making up the restaurant. We were seated at a window table in the middle section. Gin and tonics and a pint of ONDA’s own brew beer was swiftly brought over along with the Blue Cheese Olives, Bread and House Butter and Pork Scratchings with Burnt Apple. The latter was delicious, but a bit hard to eat as they were so large. Perhaps they would be best served in smaller bite-sized pieces.

ONDA restaurant food
Credit: Rebecca West for ONDA

Main courses were two portions of the Porthilly Mussels, caught locally in the Camel Estuary, served with Nduja, Foccacia and Fries (£21), and the Beef Ragu with Spaghetti and Parmesan (£21). Other highlights on the menu, which changes with the seasons, are the Black Truffle Arancini (£9), Crab Ravioli with Lobster Sauce (£15) and the Cornish Fish Stew with Hake and Shellfish (£26 ).

The food here is rich, colourful and perfectly plated. Although the focus is on Italian-style cooking, the chefs put their own Cornish spin on it through the use of locally sourced ingredients and British-Italian fused dishes. ONDA is not the cheapest place to eat, so is one for a treat or special occasion, but we spotted a £15 main and wine deal available at lunchtimes.

Best for: Special occasions, date nights

ONDA is 4 Molesworth Street, Wadebridge, North Cornwall PL27 7DA and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 12pm to 2.30pm for lunch and 5.30pm to 8.30pm for dinner. Sunday hours are 12pm to 4pm. Closed Mondays

Prices start from £4 for small dishes up to £35 for a fillet steak main course. Get a main and glass of wine at lunchtime for £15

Book a table at ONDA here

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