8 restaurants to try on the British coast
British coastal dining has never been so good, as a raft of talented and creative chefs eschew the big cities to take advantage of seaside inspiration.
The calibre of chefs on our shores has soared in recent years, with many jumping off the big city treadmill to seek a more mindful way of life. Most will tell you that living by the sea makes you healthier and happier, providing a zest for innovation — not to mention the freshest of ingredients. They’re proving the belief that a coastal lifestyle boosts creativity as well as fuels energy, encouraging them to push new boundaries.
1. The White Hart Inn, West Mersea, Essex
Mersea is an island when the causeway floods at high tide, adding a remote feel to this chic, buzzy new restaurant with rooms offering a menu that delivers more than the sum of its parts, thanks to head chef Eliot Craven. Oysters are the main draw but try imaginative mains such as salt-baked celeriac, turmeric sauce, onion bhaji and spiced raisins.
2. Updown, Deal, Kent
Ruth Leigh and Oliver Brown opened this restaurant with rooms last summer in a charming 17th-century farmhouse near Deal, offering hyper-seasonal, European-influenced dishes, such as raw white asparagus, cured egg yolk and serrano ham, with a short but sweet wine list. Look out for their guest chef supper clubs.
3. Catch at the old fish market, Weymouth, Dorset
Fishing boats bob around in the harbour outside Catch at The Old Fish Market. Enjoy a lobster roll and a glass of local Bride Valley fizz on the sunny terrace or go full throttle in the fine-dining restaurant upstairs, where chef Mike Naidoo offers plenty of technique and polished presentation in dishes such as Portland crab dumpling and crab broth.
4. Ynyshir, Machynlleth, Powys
With Arctic Monkeys and the ilk on the turntable, you’ll eat 19 courses over four hours at this two-Michelin-star restaurant where visionary chef-owner Gareth Ward puts a Japanese spin on modern Welsh cooking. There are also eight bedrooms should you choose to stay over in this glorious spot on the Welsh coast.
5. Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow, Cornwall
Paul and Emma Ainsworth have put their culinary stamp on Padstow with several local businesses, but this is their Michelin-starred flagship, where there’s a focus on Cornish produce and you can expect the likes of monkfish with soft green herbs and roast chicken manzanilla (yes, all in one dish).
6. Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac, Cornwall
Overlooking the dramatic north Cornwall coast, each dish on Outlaw’s New Road’s seafood tasting menu offers no more than four ingredients — including spider crab and spelt — creating alchemy in the mouth.
7. The Terrace Rooms & Wine, Ventnor, Isle of Wight
The moon shimmers over the water during dinner service at this stylishly restored Italianate mansion with six sea-view bedrooms. Tuck into a five-course wine-paired menu made with hyper-local island ingredients cooked by owner and restaurant guide inspector-turned-chef Tom Fahey.
8. Coast, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire
A stylish, purpose-built restaurant with views across Carmarthen Bay to the Gower Peninsula just metres from the golden sands of Coppet Hall. Head chef Fred Clapperton serves up an elegant menu that sings with local ingredients in dishes such as cod, black bomber, coastal leaves and shrimp.
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