Monday, September 04, 2006

Windswept At Fistral

As usual, it was a busy beach at Fistral yesterday. The tourists were thinning out like a rash easing but there was a flurry of activity at the North end with the SLSA National Seniors Championship still going strong.

It was Beach Bum’s first day back with sand between the toes since that run in with salmonella and mighty good it felt too. Bracing, breezy, sunshine – just what the Doctor ordered! Sea Nymph and Nippers in tow, we moseyed along to the South end (after picking up some T-shirts in the Fat Face sale) to let the kids splash about in wetsuits and go crabbing.

Sea Nymph was keen to check out the new-ish beach cafe perched above the rocks - the appropriately monikered “Windswept Cafe”. The cafe perches on top of the building with a board hire-come- coffee shop and the Lifeguard’s station nestled underneath. Be advised, access for disabled is challenging, to say the least.

The staff were pleasant if a little dreamy and we ambled over without any discernible encouragement to a vacant table and plonked ourselves down. The interior d├ęcor is suitably “natural”, with washes of white woodwork and pine beams aplenty. Creative decoration as opposed to lavish expense, I reckon. A local photographer’s work is hung around the walls and the atmosphere seems properly chilled.

The balcony seating outside provides diners with a wonderful view of the surf and beach stretching away up to the Headland hotel. There’s a few peculiarities that struck us - like the key required to use the loos and the tiny kitchen area. I pity the poor chef that has to conjure up his culinary thing in this squeezebox.

Alarm bells ring when I see space devoted to the diners at the apparent expense of what should be the heart of any decent restaurant. I couldn’t track down any other reviews on Winsdswept – there’s a link to what looks like their website but it’s broken. Weirdly enough, I was able to find out more about the “chef” at his MySpace site.

“Didn't really wanna stick around my hometown of Worcester, so got a Job and moved to Newquay for a while to see how it goes. So far it is going well and I'm having fun, met some cool people. I'm a chef at the Windswept cafe on south Fistral beach, come and have a meal its all homemade and well nice, I constantly make fishcakes so they must be selling well!”

No doubting his enthusiasm but I think Rick Stein can relax for the moment.

They don’t have credit card facilities installed yet so we had to root around for cash. This fact and the presence of three hungry Nippers baying at our elbows ensured that our selection was something that wouldn’t stretch a chef. Fortunately, the food delivered was tasty and dispatched with gusto.

The menus are scribbled up on blackboards and are not overly fussy or ambitious. It would be nice to have some set menus on the tables though. I have the memory capacity of a gnat, and hate having to shuttle back and forth like a fool to remind myself what’s on offer. So bowls of chips it was, chunky but pleasantly crisp, spinach salad (slightly glutinous dressing) and calamari with the ubiquitous sticky Thai dressing. Coffee was excellent (phew!) and the sliver of brownie slightly squishy, but acceptable. We both felt prices were on the high side for the quality and presentation of the food on offer.

There’s an unusual loyalty card scheme in operation that involves stamping cards in return for some freebies after x visits. Based on this taster, we will be back – minus the Nippers – to try something more adventurous. I hope it does well. There’s stiff competition from the Lewinnick Lodge just over the hill and Fistral Blu at the far end of the beach. The business buzz over the winter months will be the acid test I guess.

(This post has been so Googled many time - there's more on the Windswept including reservation numbers here!)


the flying monkeys said...

I think this is really "tutu"

Anonymous said...

I must be cool!
Not only do I know photog Tristan Morgan (surfed in Indo and met up with him in Aus and went to his wedding)....I also came from Worcester a long time ago...strange one...what's that game called?..."6 times removed"
Beach Bum you need to write a food guide for Nippers & their folks in Cornwall. ATB Sea Weeble

Paula the Surf Mom said...

salmonella...ugh... glad you didn't die or anything like that.

Anonymous said...

Overpriced!! Well you haven't eaten at The Lewinnick or Fistral Blu lately, now that is overpriced!

The food at the Windswept is excellent and well thought out. Maybe you should try again soon!

Beach Bum said...

Anonymous - thanks for your feedback! Well, I have been back several times since I penned that review - the last time just two weekends ago - and with the location and the food there, I don't have any hesitation is recommending it as a great place for lunch. I can't recall the exact price from the most recent visit but I recall thinking that whatever they were charging for a burger was a bit on the high side - especially as they had costed on options for cheese and bacon = wheeeze in my book. This is different from being overpriced because the food was tasty (esp. the soup) and we were happy to pay. It's been a while since we all sat down at the Lewinnick - always enjoyed the food there but a very different dining experience to the Windswept - which I guess is reflected in the cost. As to Fistral Blu - quite agree - against my better judgement, I took some friends there towards the end of the summer. It was all edible - just rather unimaginative and "processed", which is what you often get when you are catering to the tourist market.And overpriced - I quite agree. Still, you been in Padstow lately?