PUBLISHED: 12:40 05 June 2015 | UPDATED: 13:02 30 August 2017



Neil Haydock’s sea-view restaurant fuses local Cornish produce and contemporary American cuisine with winning results

Why do people visit Watergate Bay: the beach, the surf or the food? Undoubtedly, all three. Many visitors will be heading to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, butZacry’s at the Watergate Bay Hotel, headed up by (ex-Fifteen) executive chef Neil Haydock, is looking to change that.

The new restaurant is named after the rock that juts out across the bay and is styled combining Cornish attitude with a classic brasserie, while the food draws on international influences, local inspiration and executive chef Neil Haydock’s passion for contemporary American cuisine.

We headed to The Living Space in the hotel bar for a G&T, hoping the view would set my mind straight. The bar staff allowed me to announce my arrival at Zacry’s and transferred my bar bill to the restaurant without fuss. Zacry’s is a long restaurant, offering plenty of glass for the sea view, the design has a contemporary American kitchen feel to it, with some soft leather booth style benches and black-and-white zig zag flooring. The lighting is rather special, including some perfectly dimmed old fashioned light bulbs creating an air of warmth and comfort.

If you weren’t sure that this restaurant is in Cornwall – then the menu makes it very clear and while all restaurants now like to shop local (as they should) Neil Haydock clearly takes this very seriously with an array of Cornish produce on offer. Very fresh warm bread, whipped Cornish (of course) butter and a recommended bottle of cold Viognier were already at hand, along with staff to pour it for us, as course number one arrived: crispy scallops for me and octopus for my partner.

Anything different about these scallops – yes, they were different, more like cured Italian ham as they were so sweet – entwined with a dressed light salad. The octopus (most likely pota), was served with chorizo and spicy beans, it was deep, smokey and comforting – a long way from a tapas version. Our next course was Fiorentina steak. It doesn’t often turn up on a British menu, it came rare, and was nicely presented sliced upon a wooden board collecting the ample juices.

For dessert I went for a rhubarb fool while my co-eater braved the chocolate fondant. The fool was lots of fun and lighter than expected, the rhubarb was a real star too, perfect. The fondant had a deep, soft and chewy crust with an oozing centre, just as it should be. And unexpectedly, we were delivered with what I can only describe as a deconstructed strawberry cheesecake, it was very good. Amazing Cornish strawberries and a whipped quenelle of sweet, cold, creamy cheese laid on a bed of golden crumbed biscuit with a few friendly blobs of strawberry jelly to bring it together.

Watergate Bay is an amazing place to visit, especially for food, and if you can’t get in to Zacry’s you can always try The Beach Hut (also under Neil Haydock), just over the road.

Zacry’s, Watergate Bay Hotel01637 861231

Words: Wayne Morgan. Originally published in Cornwall Life magazine July 2014.

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