Head for the Cornish coast
Sep 17 2010 By Emily Bridgewater
Oliver set up his second branch of Fifteen in the picturesque cove of Watergate Bay. We were lucky enough to be seated at a table in the open window overlooking the ocean and were able to watch the crash of the waves while tucking in to a sublime antipasti sharing platter, followed by delicately cooked pollock with pea shoots and crushed potatoes.
The atmosphere is laid back and the staff welcoming.
We rounded off our lunch with a superlative salted caramel truffle with chocolate sorbet and sesame tuille.
During our culinary adventures we were also fortunate enough to dine at Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, the jewel in his Padstow crown – the town with nine outlets under his name, not including his hotels and holiday cottages.
Here, the tasting menu was our only option and it was a delight, with courses including queen scallops with beurre noisette; crab, mussel and ginger broth, and seared sea bass with a sauce vierge. In fact, the only thing that wasn’t fishy was the strawberry pavlova with managed to squeeze in for dessert.
Once again, the restaurant had an unstuffy atmosphere, yet smart enough to feel it was worthy of the occasion.
The tasting menu was £65 per person and worth every penny, but if you looking for Stein on the cheap then try his fish and chip shop on the South Quay, where you can enjoy a delicious meal for under ten pounds.
Culture vultures will also find inspiration during a trip to the region. Who needs the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) when there’s a whole town – St Ives – dedicated to promoting and nurturing art, from big names at the Tate, to the calming and inspirational Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden, Bernard Leach pottery studio and many other independent galleries.
Travelling further afield, to Cornwall’s west coast, visitors can experience the open-air Minnack Theatre, a Roman-style amphitheatre carved out of the cliff face by visionary Rowena Cade. During our trip we saw a performance of Moliere’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme which, for £8.50 a ticket, not only proved a good value night out but a truly unique theatre-going experience in breathtaking surroundings.
And if Surfing USA is your idea of fun, then North Cornwall boasts some of the best opportunities for watersports in the UK. Why not head to the Extreme Academy based in Watergate Bay where you can surfing, kitesurfing and waveskiing. Or head to Fistral Beack in Newquay, the heart of Britain’s championship surf scene.
While Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, I think I’ve left mine in north Cornwall. And i will certainly be returning to collect it!