In A Word
This is actually entirely dependent on when you are planning to go to the restaurant. We went at night and enjoyed the tasting menu, which was fine dining and would be better suited to couples or adults dining. Its central location, just off the Atlantic Highway make it well situated for work outings or even business meetings if you were trying to impress!
That said, the resort does cater to families; meaning its daytime counterpart is designed to attract people bringing their families to Cornwall on holiday. Situated next to the Flowrider which teaches the novice how to ride waves, without being on the beach, it’s tasked with quite a tall order of crafting fun snacks in the day time and then fine dining in the evening.
Surfing the Atmosphere
Within the world of surfing, the ‘green room’ is the part inside the wave, when everything that surrounds you is green. This green room had a natural and warm feel to it. Some people have taken umbrage to the use of pastel coloured surfboards on the ceiling of the Green Room, as it’s a fine dining restaurant, but I saw it as a reflection of James Nathan, MasterChef 2008 winner’s personality, and very subtle. With lots of relaxing green and tessellating mosaics, it’s a pleasing restaurant with a warm and cosy ambiance.
The staff were friendly, passionate and knowledgeable; offering menu advice when requested.
TB meets the Master Chef
Masterchef James Nathan was a surfing barrister, before winning the competition that changed his life. Since then, he has become a full time chef at one of Cornwall’s most popular resorts. Coming out to greet his guests, James was softly spoken and really positive about his team and his food. Raised locally in Wadebridge, surfing and Cornish produce are in his blood. He said he’s recently been asked to cook a Poldark inspired menu, so he was drawing upon 18th Century cook books and recipes such as mock turtle soup. This night, however was James’ tasting menu night.
Going on a journey
The thing about Tasting Menus is that they have been created to take you one a journey. This was no exception, but what was great was being take on a journey across the Cornish landscape. From our crystal seas to the home grown vegetables, there’s something comforting about knowing who most of the suppliers are.
Starting things off with a watercress velouté, the food made a smooth first impression. Served in an espresso cup, the velvety mouthful had a nice amount of cream and an appropriately dark green colour. This wouldn’t sit on a Poldark menu, as veloutés were created later in the 19th Century, but it was a fitting entrance to James’ tasting menu.
The scallop dish that followed was inspired. Sourced, typically within the county’s “natural larder”, they were served on a cauliflower purée, which was delicately seasoned with cumin. Sherry soaked raisins balanced out the creaminess, and on trend, the dish was covered in pea shoots.
Having waved goodbye to chicken circa ’89, I trusted James’ food journey enough to give the chicken ballotine a spin, which, for the first chicken I’d intentionally eaten in about 20 years, was surprisingly easy to digest. With a truffle filling and Madeira sauce over the top, the chicken was really well cooked and melted in the mouth.
As more dishes came out, each had its own personality, and reflected the personality of Cornwall with refreshing and contemporary flavours. My favourite dish was a bouillabaisse with monkfish, mussel and a delightful tomato and saffron infusion. A little bit like breathing in the air on a tomato farm or in the greenhouse.
Barnesy two puds
OK, so one of the things about a tasting menu is that we got two desserts! Well, kind of. A palate cleanser of raspberry sorbet came with a couple of extra frills, so it wasn’t just a palate cleanser, but a little dessert in its own right. Fresh and creamy: if we hadn’t come hungry it might’ve been too filling, but the portions were structured so as to give a taste, without being too filling.
Gnarly waves and ganache
Absolutely nothing about the dessert I chose was gnarly; it’s a surfing term I probably picked up from watching Point Break! But it alliterated well with ganache. In fact, being a whipped ganache meant inside the thin pyramid of chocolate was deliciously smooth and far from gnarly. More like being in the green room of a wave. A perfect end to a really exciting and flavourful journey. Accompanied by a white chocolate pannacotta, it was nice to have something different to my usual penchant for fondant. OK enough of the French already!
An excellent wine list, including some local wines made a good read, but being close to my birthday, we chose a lovely prosecco; most of which I quaffed whilst droning on about Anthony Kiedis’ abs in Point Break and ‘that time when all my mates were in Blue Juice.’ The Tache indulged me obligingly; it was the day before my birthday. But the cocktail menu sounded really impressive and the next time I go to The Green Room I may have to ensure we don’t have a drive to contend with afterwards, as I’d love to sample some of the other booze!
For a real taste of the Cornish landscape and a journey through contemporary cooking techniques and styles, this is a really impressive menu, and worth a journey to, from the many surrounding destinations. If you get the chance to, it’d probably be a good thing to stay over and get on the Flowrider, which will make you far more qualified than me to band terms like gnarly around with reckless abandon! A very high quality restaurant with locally sourced food and really friendly service.