I’ve always loved Watergate Bay Hotel, just outside of Newquay (the town’s not nearly as charming, but this seems a world away). And it seems to be going from strength to strength. We discovered it a few years ago, having been invited to its barefoot chic restaurant The Living Space and we fell in love with the panoramic views over one of Cornwall’s best beaches and shoreline beyond, the laid-back surfy vibe, the hip furnishings, the family-friendly nature of the place and its cool philosophy. Oh, did I mention the food? It was good. Freshly caught fish, mezze, pastrami sandwiches, buttered Cornish new potatoes… I could go on.
Last year, the hotel opened its Swim Club, situated under The Living Space and which has a Hamptons-come-to-Cornwall kind of feel. It’s made up of a stunning 25-m ocean-view infinity pool, a charming cafe-lounge, poolside terraces, timber boardwalks and a Canadian hot tub. There’s even a spa and yoga classes on tap. Could this place get any better?
I’m enthusing, I know. But it has. This year is the unveiling of new restaurant Zacry’s. A grown-up brasserie-style restaurant with a dash of Cornish attitude and a pinch of New York style, it has a cool sensibility.
You sit on tan leather banquettes and dine off zinc-wrapped refectory tables. Floor-to-ceiling windows mean you can eat with the stunning sunset as your backdrop, while cocooning booths mean you can also indulge in an intimate dinner for two.
Our meal kicked off with freshly-baked bread and icy butter (delicious) and perfectly made Bellinis – how better to kick start a meal? We were already feeling the good vibes, when my starter of Charred Octopus with haricot beans, courgette, fennel, red pepper, black olives and basil (yes, it was a mouthful, in more ways than one) arrived. Fresh and zesty, it was an unusual and memorable dish. My husband’s, meanwhile, was Crispy Cornish Scallops with spicy mayo and white truffle oil and was equally impressive.
Head chef Neil Haydock’s passion for seasonality shines through across the extensive menu, which features both classic and contemporary dishes. Seafood, of course, is a highlight and the indoor charcoal oven means that flavours are bold and distinctive.
On to the mains and I chose the Roasted Turbot with spinach, cockles and pancetta, with a side of Cornish early potatoes. The combinations were an ideal marriage and complimented each other perfectly. Hubbie’s main was the Pork Loin Chop with crushed potatoes, onion puree and crackling (the highlight of the dish, he said). Sumptuous home cooking with a lot of finesse was how he described it. I have to confess I wanted to reach over and snap off a piece of the crackling, but divorce may have been mentioned.
When it came to the desserts, we toyed between the chocolate soufflé and the cheese board, but –- and, now looking back, I could kick myself – we were so full, we decided to forego all treats!
There was a real camaraderie at Zacry’s and a laid-back buzz about the place. It’s somewhere to unwind, and somewhere to enjoy good, inventive food. “Zacry’s is not just a place to eat,” they say about themselves. “It’s about the notion of sharing; food, good company and moments that bring people together.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
For more information, and to book, visit: www.watergatebay.co.uk/food-and-drink/zacrys/