Fresh Fish, Sunset and Chablis | Emily Scott Watergate Bay Restaurant Review
When does a chef know that they have hit the top of their game? Is it Michelin Stars, a perfect Trip Advisor rating, a successful franchise or being asked to cook for the most powerful leaders in the world? Emily Scott – cooks for Presidents and Prime Minsters, and she will cook for you…for a fee of course.
I want to make this review short and punchy, but Emily Scott, of Cornwall in England, has such a great story.
Let’s start with ‘where’ – Emily’s restaurant is in the cool, beautiful and surfing haven of Watergate Bay, Cornwall. It started as a pop-up in 2020 in the failed Jamie Oliver Fifteen Cornwall restaurant – before they were turned into luxury sea view rooms for the Watergate Bay Hotel. In 2020 the Watergate Bay Hotel launched The Watchful Mary, a bar overlooking one of the finest beaches in Cornwall if not Britain – that bar, in 2021, has now been taken over with a permanent residency by Emily Scott – who started life, as a caterer.
So – caterer, pop-up restaurant, permanent restaurant and then, Emily Scott was asked to cook for the 2021 G7 summit leaders at the Eden Project in Cornwall followed by TV appearances. So is Emily now at the top of her game…I don’t think so, there even more to come.
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This restaurant certainly has the views, the chef has the reputation but does the food, experience and value match up?
You have to know before you continue, that this location, these views and the accolades come with a hefty price tag – this is an exclusive experience. It’s like surfing at Watergate Bay, if you’re not careful you’ll get into a spot of bother, same here with your bill and the RNLI won’t be able to save you.
The Restaurant only opens Wednesday to Saturday which is smart thinking bearing in mind Jamie Oliver’s’ Fifteen Cornwall bombed (and I actually liked it there).
There were 6 of us for Dinner – 3 adults, two teens and one 10 yr old – families are welcome, but I would advise against going too young.
The bar and staff are excellent, very well made cocktails, I ordered off menu – no problem. Grab a cocktail whilst you take a look at the intentionally small food menu. Some people like a big menu, and with that comes risk of poor food quality. Emily is clearly an astute business person, limited menu, carefully selected ingredients and focus on the final dish – a good combo.
You can grab some nibbles whilst you wait such as Nocellara Olives (Jamie Oliver’s favourite ironically) or whipped cod’s roe or lump in at £40 for some Exmoor caviar.
Starter wise we went for Sashimi of Scallops with Yuzu Ponzu (a citrus soy sauce) and Tempura Turbot in masala sauce. I’ll focus on the Scallops, which are are great fun. Yeah, it’s sliced raw Scallop, but the Yuzu and sesame really lift it, served in the shell and it looks great too. A good start.
Now, I did slag off the bill a bit, but our drinks bill wasn’t cheap, and that’s on us. After our £10+ cocktails we ordered some Billecart-Salmon which you don’t see often on menu and it is premium, but it’s a cracking champagne and in a seafood restaurant, that looks this good, in Cornwall, you just gotta.
Moving on to the main – no meat, just two fish options or a single vegetarian. Both fish dishes were selected and the price is going to come up again I am afraid. Either a small Lobster at £48 plus sides or Butterfly Mackerel roasted over coals with salami and green olives.
Let’s be honest, the Lobster is just Lobster, it does come with Seaweed Butter which I am fairly sure I saw a junior chef collect from the beach that day (that’s cool), burnt lime and some salad. We spent £4 on New Potatoes in Pesto.
The mackerel, one of the cheapest and most abundant fish in the sea took more cooking and flair at £25. Just because it’s cheap and easy to catch, doesn’t mean it’s a poor ingredient. Smoked Mackerel, in a packet found in your supermarket is poles apart from fresh Mackerel – when fresh the meat is white and fluffy, almost Bass like – wouldn’t think it from such an oily fish, but take my word for it, when fresh, it’s insane.
Carrying on with the bar tab, a bottle of Chablis (two actually) at £42 went with these guys nicely – fresh fish, sunset and Chablis.
The kids food by the way made them happy, normal stuff you’d expect for fussy little palates. They did try one of the desserts, and Lemon Almond Cake with Limoncello Cream for £8.50.
We visit Watergate Bay every year, cause I’m such a shit hot surfer (when I manage to stay on the board that is) and we will go back. Emily is an exceptional chef and the kitchen benefits from that. The front of house weren’t always 100% sure on the dishes when I asked probing questions, but they were so lovely, it didn’t matter.
But if I am honest, it would have taken a lot to ruin this experience and that’s with the pricing – the views soften everything, you sit and just let it take you. The worst thing about the bill…just means that it’s over!
Emily Scott’s Restaurant in Watergate Bay is the real deal and getting a reservation will be a big deal, huge.