Personal trainer by day, budding restaurant critic by night; Zoë Jackson’s review of The Beach Hut won her a finalist spot in the Waitrose Good Food Guide restaurant critic competition. We find out more.
One of Zoë Jackson’s favourite things in life is finding good places to eat, especially by the sea. So it was a match made in heaven when she became one of 10 finalists picked to attend a day at the Waitrose cookery school in London, all thanks to her review of The Beach Hut when she visited Watergate Bay earlier this year.
“The Beach Hut is my ideal hang out; great local fresh food, a cracking location right on the beach and a lovely laid-back vibe,” she explains.
“What makes a great restaurant? I think a lively, relaxed atmosphere, excellent service and a fresh, locally-sourced creative menu. The best are always run by people passionate about what they do, and it shines through.”
According to Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor of the guide and one of the contest judges, all of the entries this year were good. “Certainly any of the finalists would have been worthy winners,” she said.
Zoë was thrilled to be picked as a finalist: “My dream job would be a food writer. I had to ring my mum to tell her the news!
“I learned a lot on the cookery day and the chefs were excellent. Testing our palates was fascinating – it was surprisingly difficult trying to pick out certain ingredients in dishes. We also learnt new tastes and skills, such as how to make Japanese kimchi cocktails.”
So what’s next on the culinary adventure? “I’ve just discovered a great little gem in Bath called The Beaufort’ which ticks all of the boxes above when I look for a good restaurant. It’s family-run with a cool vibe and every dish served up is mouth-wateringly exquisite.”
Thanks for the tip Zoë! Here’s her review of The Beach Hut:
If someone said to you, let’s eat at The Beach Hut on Watergate Bay, you’d be forgiven for expecting a dilapidated surf shack, serving filthy fry ups and dirty burgers to fill the washboard stomachs of hungry surfers.
You may be pleasantly surprised then to find a much more eloquent establishment. One where you’re greeted warmly at the door to be seated – it’s worth embracing the fresh sea air on the covered wooden veranda if you can – and met with a truly sumptuous menu. The seasonal, locally sourced ingredients may not go amiss next door at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, except it’s much kinder on the wallet.
The vibrant, laid-back atmosphere is buzzing, alive with chatter, and when the tide’s in, it feels like you’re floating on the waves.
Local fish dominates the menu with an Asian twist. I was torn between the Sri Lankan mussels in tangy tomato & creamy coconut milk, and the Goan fish curry served with fluffy lemon rice.
My sister and I opted for the Cornish crab bisque and was not disappointed. Served in a huge cast-iron pot with chunks of granary bloomer soaked in Gruyère, the flavours were incredible; just the right consistency for a decent belly-filling soup served with delicious rouille. The delicate crab flavour wasn’t too overpowering, complimented with tangy hints of lemon. Or, you could go for fat tiger chilli prawns or potted smoked Cornish mackerel with spicy horseradish. My mouth watering at just the thought of it.
A closer look at the menu and the dirty burgers are there! Steeped with melting Swiss cheese, feisty jalapenos and BBQ sauce, served with heaps of crunchy slaw and fries, so the hungry surfer won’t miss out after all.
There’s also a decent veggie option in the form of chunky roots, pumpkin pureé, tahini & cumin pistachios, or thick tubes of rigatoni pasta, king oyster mushrooms, spinach, lemon & pine nuts.
Tempted by the classic English desserts with a fun twist; rhubarb and custard crumble, toffee apple cake, we couldn’t resist a couple of scoops of Cornish ice cream from a farm round the corner.
Overall, it was the perfect warming pick-me-up after a dip in the freezing Atlantic. And you must try the Extreme Hot Chocolate topped with a soft smattering of sweet mini marshmallows and chunky chocolate discs.
Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, this beach hut is so much more than what is says on the tin.
Book your table at The Beach Hut online or call 01637 860877.