With a chef who has travelled the world cooking and collecting recipes, the restaurant offers world food, produced with local ingredients.
In A Word:
Surfers from across the globe come to the North Cornish coast to ride the waves and would be hard pushed to find a better location to stay – able to be in the sea within 3 minutes of getting out of bed. (Dependent on wetsuit zipping only!)
With its ‘on the beach’ feel and superb views, the restaurant appeals to locals and guests alike; who enjoy the seasonal local produce on offer, and the ambiance of a relaxed surfer’s haven. From its well stacked bar, serving Cornish and Devon based drinks, as well as world wines, the atmosphere is welcoming for anyone, and as such includes, swimmers, hikers walkers – anyone who loves to be on the beach.
I grew up near here. Just 20 miles along the rugged coastline, I made the journey across to Widemouth most weekends for its long sandy beach, fierce and large waves and divine sunsets.
Having watched the Doors movie, where Jim Morrison takes acid in the desert, the rock formations and their silhouettes as the sun rose in the morning emulated that delicious scene with the soundtrack of the sea, my friend and I would dream of waking up here.
I wouldn’t always start a review with this, and the food was incredible too, as you’ll read. You know that expression, “People won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel?” Well, this is the way I feel about this hotel. With mood lighting and a comfortable book nook, like I have spent many a hangover in South America curled up in; world travellers will feel at home instantly when entering the bar and restaurant area.
This had a lot to do with the friendly nature of…
Chatty when you wanted them to be, but respecting when you fancy some privacy, the way the staff in this family-run hotel welcome guests made us feel really at home. This balance can be hard to achieve, but these guys have got it down to a T.
In a way my favourite part of the meal. Which is a bold statement, since it was all lovely. Using locally sourced crab to make an enormous plate of Thai salad, including mango and glass noodle salad with nam jim, chef had me at hello! Spicy and delicious, this would be a great choice as a warmer for those who’d just come out of the sea of an evening.
The ‘tache had a goat’s cheese, lemon and thyme tart, which again seriously delivered on portion size, and had the delicate and smooth texture of a flan. With velvety creamed sweet potato, this was a real demonstration of the chef’s diversity.
Oh my mains!
The ‘tache had local lamb slow cooked for 7 hours, which was literally falling off the bone and served with one of my favourites from Persia: imam bayeldi. I have a Palestinian uncle who inherited the recipe for this aubergine dish from his family, and I can say that chef captured everything I remember about it. Slightly sweet, and with warming spices, this breathe life back into anyone coming out from the bracing Atlantic shore. I’m told it complemented the lamb perfectly. (My new found non-vegetarianism hasn’t yet forayed into the delight of lamb)
It did lend itself to me discovering the joy of saltimbocca, and this is something I will never look back from. I’ve always ordered any saltimbocca without the meat, and I can now see that I have been cheating myself. Forming a delicious crunchy salt crust on a thick piece of cod, it enhanced the flavour and gave it the perfect crunch, which my mouth is still getting excited about now. Served with seasonal kale and bright tomato confit, this was a simple and really tasty dish.
Getting my choc on
I realised that as I almost always order chocolate, no matter where we are for dessert, it’s becoming a ‘thing’. And I didn’t fail on my thing here. This chocolate brownie was chewy and sticky in the most comforting and delicious way and was served with vanilla ice cream and orange confit. It was absolutely delicious and went through the full range of textures with a serious flavour punch too.
‘Tache sees himself as something of a tarte tatin expert. Rightly so, since he does make a bloody lush one, but he may have found a rival in the chef at The Beach House. With thin and sticky pastry and a well balanced sweet apples and sharpness, this was served with Rodda’s clotted cream, which is the mack daddy of Cornish cream.
The bar itself has lots of features made from driftwood, which really plays on the beach theme and adds to the relaxed surf haven feel. I have seen this carried out badly, but The Beach House remains classy and comfy, which is a fine line to balance.
With an incredible gin sangria on the menu, I was sorted for the night, but I did catch sight of the wine list, which had been created by local professional sommeliers from North Coast Wine. Being a writer, I was drawn to the descriptions on the list, which summarised wine character really well.
A good range of Cornish lager and ale is available on tap and in bottles, so guests can get a real taste of Cornwall in the food and drinks at The Beach House.
By their own admission, the rooms in the hotel are basic, but this doesn’t mean they’ve compromised on cleanliness or comfort. And it means that a balcony room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is a bargain price for couples or families. A solid and cosy bed with lovely Egyptian sheets and the sound of waves at night more than make up for the 70s style of hotel, but the family do have plans to renovate the hotel bit by bit, over the winter.
Good quality toiletries and warm fluffy towels made us feel very welcome, but of course, the best part of the room was that view. Sitting down to coffee in the morning and watching clusters of surfers catch early waves made this a perfect place to have a break and just enjoy watching the world go by.
Other guests we spoke to really seemed to enjoy the atmosphere of the hotel, and its bar, which was pretty busy all night. Focused on providing amazing food and drink with a first class view, the family have got their priorities just right with this place, and their plans to make it even better sound really exciting. A top quality restaurant with really comfortable beds and loads of outdoor seating make this a great spot to unwind by the sea.
Located just outside of Bude in the North Cornwall area that borders Devon, Widemouth is about an hour’s drive from Exeter.
Did I mention the views enough?