Beautiful, coastal hotel with sea views serving effective, Michelin starred food - great for hotel guests and visitors alike
Editor’s note: review conducted at time of holding a Michelin star – venue subsequently demoted in the 2020 Michelin guide.
I loved this place. Tucked away at the end of country lanes sits this alluring seaview hotel with its Michelin starred restaurant. The short version is that it was actually quite difficult to pick many holes with this visit in any way as I thought the setting was charming, the food as heartfelt with strong and completely amenable flavours (many of which stem from the chef’s childhood experiences), the décor cosy and although the service was not as polished as some other luxury hotels overall, the experience left me walking away with a skip and a jump which is exactly the whole point of these visits n’est-ce pas? Great stuff all round and I knew before the end of the meal I wanted to come back and enjoy another time and in the warmer months whenever can be done.
The opening snacks of cauliflower cheese pillows with chive were a nice bite-size duo to start with but I thought could have had a bit more moisture inside when the outer crisp was as thick as it was. However, the fish cake ball with parsley purée and lemon caviar and plum and apple chutney pork dougnut were completely sumptuous and showed the level of efforts that the restaurant was prepared to go to just on the openers.
The amuse bouche of cod and potatoes that were blended together (brandade) within a shelfish broth was comforting and with a degree sweetness at the same time. The breads were equally lovely. These ranged from a clotted cream brioche (wonderfully rich) and sour dough with fig and and hazelnut and another with malt star – all of which were fluffy and pleasantly original.
The pork jowl starter with white onion purée, mushroom powder, cider reduction mixed with pork mousse and shallots was fab, no question. The pork was melt in mouth, the sweetness of cider reduction well balanced, the toastiness of the hazelnuts was there and the sharp of the rhubarb all came together beautifully – a lovely dish. The beef main itself was a tender as you can imagine all held together with a lovely garlic purée and easy on-the-mouth spinach. The fact that this had bone marrow which was toned down as well was all the merrier.
Pre-dessert of mango curd, coriander sorbet, mango tuile and diced mango was the perfect blend of warm & cold, savoury and sweet, crunch and smooth – actually in terms of these it was text book. Unbelieveably, I didn’t take a snap of this course but I put this down to wanting to devour it as quickly as I saw it. This then led the way to dessert itself which was taken straight from childhood memories in the summer garden of the head chef where this tart took its variation from. It was a gloriously rich tart made from our old Cornish friend, clotted cream with raisin purée, golden syrup gel and with a ginger beer sorbet on the top. Although the tart was less warm, eggy and soft than traditionally expected (as it had the texture literally of a slightly stiff clotted cream), it was an indeniably lovely flavour. It was the sort of dessert in fact where I was looking forward to each subsequent, clotted mouthful which was rinced and complimented perfectly with a lovely ginger sorbet.
In summary, there really wasn’t much not to like on this visit and it was especially pleasant to speak with and get the ground perspective from the head chef (Chris Eden). Even though it was dark on my visit and I couldn’t see a thing beyond the cliff, the outdoor decking, dining conservatory, menu itself and the feel of the restaurant makes me easily see how this would be a charming break away in almost any context. Something I hope to do with others another time.
Food Grade: 86%
Location (Click google logo for directions)