In the past ten years the foodie scene in Cornwall has boomed. It’s gone from average pubs serving average food to a transient summer clientele; to top class restaurants backed and run by brilliant chefs serving excellent menus. And to top it all, a lot of them are in breathtaking locations.
In my humble opinion Fifteen Cornwall is one of these. It’s not the sort of place we’d go to on a whim, it’s a special dining experience, so we tend to reserve it for special occasions and this week it was my birthday.
At this time of year – the grey, dull, bankrupt weeks immediately after New Year – it’s fairly easy to pick up a table. I didn’t book until Monday, something that’s not advisable the rest of the year when you’ll need to make a reservation weeks in advance.
Slung into the cliffs overlooking the mighty Watergate Bay, it must have one of the best dining vistas in the area (though there are others to rival it, including the Scarlet). Because the view plays a huge part in the experience, if you’re dining in the depths of winter I’d definitely recommend a lunchtime visit so you can sit and gaze out of the floor to ceiling windows, over the beach and on to the horizon. The beach itself is a two mile sweep of sand, with views of Pentire Point in the west to Park Head, past Bedruthan Steps in the east. We can only imagine what the views must have been like in the past storm saturated weeks, but yesterday when we were there it was beautifully sunny, with an aqua streaked ocean and a smudge of rainbow on the horizon.
Aside from the magnificent views, the set menu is another good reason to pay a lunchtime visit (Mon-Fri). With three courses for just £21 the food bill doesn’t come to much more than a blow out Sunday roast at the local pub. But the style and quality is far superior. When I go out to eat I want to see dishes on the menu that I’d never dream of cooking myself and the options at Fifteen, even on the set menu, live up to that expectation.
Yesterday we both ate from the set menu. We started with buratta (an Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream) served with glazed pears, walnuts, micro leaves, dressed with olive oil and balsamic. Followed by roast pheasant, on a bed of parmesan polenta, with a pokey walnut chutney and cavolo nero. And finished with vanilla panna cotta, served with an orange zest biscotti and pomegranate seeds. On the side we had delicious breads, and olives so big I found myself biting the flesh off the stone like an apple. If there’s one thing that does hike up the bill it’s the wine. It’s good, but that quality does come at a price. We opted for a Yalumba, which was very delicious but at £38 was just a few quid less than three courses for two people.
What I also really like about this place is the atmosphere. Service is friendly and casual and it’s unpretentious, despite it’s excellent reputation, with a laid back manner very fitting of Cornwall. But perhaps not quite relaxed enough to deal with a big, excited Lab X rushing around, so we left the black dog at home. Dogs are not allowed, even if yours is well behaved ;)
For more information: www.fifteencornwall.co.uk