Good Food Guide 2007

The position of Porthminster beach is rather special, with unbeatable and uninterrupted views over the sea.  The Art Deco building, right on the beach, was converted to the Beach Cafe back in 1991, and continues to add a touch of excitement to this ever-gentrifying town.  It is closed over winter, so there's no opportunity to enjoy the view over the bay on the stormiest of days, nut there's a large terrace for a truly Mediterranean experience in summer.  Or should that be an Antipodean experience?  Aussie Michael Smith has been chef since 2002, and he now fronts a TV show (Beach Cafe) based on the restaurant on Digital TV.  Lunch can be as satisfying as a Cornish crab sandwich or as exotic as crispy fried chilli squid with black spice, Thai salad and citrus white miso.  In the evening, Smith pushes the boat out with scallop risotto with piquillo peppers, mascarpone and lemon vodka, followed by twice-cooked Barbary duck on braised salsify wth seared foie gras and a gooseberry and Cointreau sauce.  Finish with blood orange and Campari posset wth a ginger glass biscuit.  The sparky wine list kicks off at £11.95.

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