Thursday, 6 December 2012

Breakfast included: Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall

Surroundings The sun rises in the crook of the valley behind the hotel and lights the hillside before streaming in through one of the vast windows along one side of the breakfast room. It's worth getting to breakfast early for. In the other direction window tables get a view of the Atlantic surf and an outline of Newquay beyond it - another reason to be there early - the window seats go fast.

The interior of the restaurant is distinctly 90s and about two decades behind the rest of the hotel, which is decked in a cool, lived-in seaside chic, expertly put together by the same design team who oversaw Shoreditch House in London. It won't be long before the restaurant catches up - it's the last phase in a complete refurbishment.

Buffet The buffet is sensibly spread out so as to avoid elbow tussles and includes a cereal station of bran flakes, muesli, Weetabix and kids' cereal. It's here I'd like to have seen a local muesli - there are plenty of West Country producers, and while the muesli may have local provenance, there was nothing to tell diners that. The fruit selection included sweet and juicy pink grapefruit halves, a tasty red berry compote and a fruit salad, while beyond it a pastry basket of croissant, pain au chocolat and bagels begged to be tasted. Muesli Lover obliged and found the croissant to be buttery, flaky, Parisian...

For the Atkins crowd there was a protein-themed area of boiled eggs, cream cheese, yoghurt and cold meats, offering a sensible alternative to the pastries. Overall a broad selection of fresh, high quality produce but in the age of gastro-transparency and in this bounteous region of England, I'd like to have known more about the food that was on offer.

Hot stuff The fry-up was offered in various heavy iron pots on a warm top - mushrooms, sausages, bacon, tomatoes, scrambled and poached eggs. All fresh and properly cooked, though succumbing to the drying effect of air and heating if you're not lucky enough the catch the fresh batch. It's a shame then that one couldn't order something like smoked salmon and scrambled eggs or kippers, a la carte - we were offered porridge as the sole menu choice - a pleasing simplicity and impressive when they happily made up a soya milk batch for the picky ML. It was a generous serving and piping hot, and was just the right side of too thick (pictured above are soya and normal versions). It tasted delicious with a drizzle of honey and some chopped dates. With the sun up and a tummy of oats, it was time to hit the surf...

Details Watergate Bay Hotel, Cornwall, TR8 4AA;; tel. 01637 860543

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