Does Jamie Oliver's seaside restaurant live up to the hype?
Where? Fifteen Cornwall, On The Beach, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, TR8 4AA (01637 861000, www.fifteencornwall.co.uk
Isn’t this that place Jamie invented on the telly? Well, yes, but these days he doesn’t run the restaurant itself. There are four Fifteen holdings across the world, each headed up by their own executive chef, who leads a team of ‘black hats’ (professional chefs), who then train the twenty ‘white hats’ (local youngsters who come from unprivileged backgrounds, much like the ones you saw on the telly).
So we won’t catch him in the kitchen? Only if you’re lucky. Once a year, when he’s not campaigning for chickens or cooking for the Queen, the increasingly political naked chef comes down to Watergate Bay to say farewell to his current apprentices and welcome another batch in.
What’s on the menu? The restaurant prides itself on local sourcing and seasonal cooking, so the menu is different each time you rock up. We were presented with a hot-off-the-printers scroll with the latest offerings when we arrived – testament to the fact that the seafood really is freshly caught by local fishermen (as if the stunning views of Watergate Bay aren’t already a reminder) and the chefs are offering you the best available dishes of the day.
Recommended? Dinner is always a five-course menu, which at £55 is pricey, but you get your pickings of the Italian-inspired dishes – think Cape Cornwall lobster, salads with gooey Burrata cheese, Roast Grampound duck and yummy seafood risotto – our favourite. At each stage you get a choice of dishes, with dessert being a toss-up between white chocolate panna cotta with Italian figs and a mascarpone-accompanied raspberry and almond tart (PC reigned supreme).
How much is the wine? At least £20 for a bottle, but there is also a wine tasting package (£40), with a measure of recommended vino to match each course.
All in all? We weren’t completely convinced we were getting value for money, but considering all profits from Fifteen Cornwall go to the Cornwall Foundation of Promise (a charity providing young people in Cornwall with inspirational opportunities), we weren’t miffed. The picture postcard setting also made for an extremely pleasant evening, as we watched the locals surf, crabbers scour the rockpools, and the sun go down.