Emily Scott Food

Great food … eventually

The closure of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen at Watergate Bay must have been quite a blow for this little tourist hotspot. But is there a new contender for the Newquay culinary crown?

Emily Scott has picked up the gauntlet for the Watergate Bay Hotel at a new restaurant on the sea wall.

We booked lunch there today to take it for a test drive.

The restaurant is on the same level as the old Fifteen site and is orientated to maximise diners’ exposure to the view over the bay, which is spectacular. Today, the weather was calm, so the sea looked like a duck pond. This meant no distractions and we could focus on the food.

Our party ordered monkfish tempura and a beetroot dish. For mains, two portions of porcini risotto and a monkfish steak, with green salads and a portion of potatoes. Everyone had the tonka bean creme brûlée for dessert. The menu was fairly limited in all sections and there were spelling errors on the suggested wine list.

The food, when it arrived, was excellent, but heavens, the service was slow.

When I questioned where our main course was, the waiter denied we’d been waiting for nearly an hour. Not great. Who argues with a customer’s polite enquiry?

We finished our meal, with just one other table still occupied, at about 3.45pm.

Will we go back? Probably, but we’ll take a packed lunch to eat between the courses.

Overall scores?

Food: 7 / 10 (when it arrived).

Service: 5 / 10 (dissing a polite customer is just wrong).

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A Wild Drive and a Good Meal

The Family Unit is a mercurial collection of individuals. No statement ever passes without challenge. No opportunity to laugh at self or others is ever lost, but one thing we are all agreed on is that we like good food.

So, Tuesday night was eagerly awaited, as we all enjoy a trip to Michael Caine’s restaurant at Maenporth.

The Cove Restaurant and Bar sits in an enviable position, behind the beach. So, unless you are unlucky enough to be seated at the rear of the dining room, the views out over the sea are beautiful and it’s a great place to eat and watch the sun go down.

We booked a taxi for the return trip from Kea. The cab turned up 30 minutes late and the driver then attempted to ‘make up the time’ by some seriously dangerous, high speed driving. That put paid to any conversation during the journey, as we were all too busy praying and gritting our teeth. Arrival at the restaurant, then, was a relief.

We chose the tasting menu, as this gives a great opportunity to try things that perhaps you might not ordinarily consider and the selection on offer was a nice balance of meat and fish.

The only place where it went astray, for me, was the dessert, which was a very delicately flavoured pistachio concoction. This was served after a cheese course which contained strongly flavoured blue cheeses. I would have preferred the order to have been reversed (dessert before cheese) as the blue cheese flavour lingered on the palate and you couldn’t taste anything of the pistachio at all. In fact it was like eating cardboard; you could see there was something there and you were definitely chewing something, but …. no taste. Visually, it looked a bit lacking as well. My advice? Scratch the pistachio cake thing.

Overall verdict?

Family: Always good value for money.

Food: 6 / 10. Sorry guys, the pistachio dessert killed it this time, but we’ll be back.

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The Making of the President 1972

US political history of the last fifty years or so, is fascinating. And a thoughtful, balanced, contextualised, factual based view of past events (even if unpalatable by today’s standards), can lead to interesting and important reflections on current affairs.

The 1972 US Presidential election process is a good place to just ‘dive in’ and start looking around. I started from a list of four key books, that have given me a flavour of the times, the issues, the role and influence of the media in politics and gave a ‘wide lens’ view of events from differing standpoints. In no particular order, these are:

  • Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 – Hunter S. Thompson.
  • The Pentagon Papers – Katharine Graham.
  • All the President’s Men – Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.
  • The Making of the President 1972 – Theodore H. White.

White and Thompson cover the same events, but from diametrically opposed stand points: Thompson reports on a ‘fully immersive’ basis – he’s emotionally invested in McGovern and reports events and happenings, conversations and gossip as he slogs around the primaries. White is writing to complete a series of works on presidential campaigns, the first of which won the Pulitzer Prize. He’s a measured, fact checker, with a sneaking regard for Nixon.

Many of the issues reported on, still dominate headlines today: issues around race, America’s position on the world stage (economically and militarily), it’s relationship with China and inevitably, Vietnam.

The US administration’s actions and efforts to end the war are documented in White’s work, which highlights Nixon’s desire for ‘Peace with Honour’ (a young Joe Biden even gets a mention). The war is a major issue in the election.

For us in 2021, viewing the US led withdrawal from Afghanistan, there are interesting parallels with the American prosecution of the Vietnam War. Both required a huge investment from the US tax payer, saw significant loss of life and we’re ideologically driven.

To understand the American’s next move, we should reflect, honestly, on the past.

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Hooked!

This week, we’re staying quite close to Truro, so the logical choice for eating out (according to Trip Advisor) is Hooked!. Not surprisingly, Hooked! specialises in fish.

The restaurant occupies a rather unprepossessing building on Tabernacle Street, but whilst the outside and the immediate surroundings are not particularly attractive, the inside is warm, friendly and comfortable, with the decor picking up the ‘fish theme’ of the menu.

Our party ate off the main and vegetarian menus. Both were equally good. The courgette tempura and vegetarian Goan curry deserve special mentions, as being first rate.

Only one person had a dessert: the Hooked! Cream Tea. This proved to be a really inventive and well executed dish, which included a creme brûlée and a jelly sandwich. Needless to say, three spoons were required for this one!

If you haven’t been, try it. If you have, you’ll be going back.

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A Little Slice of Cornwall

Cornwall, when the sun’s out and the crowds are elsewhere, is truly hard to beat. If you’re standing on the beach at the National Trust’s beautiful Glendurgan property, with an ice cream in your hand, who needs the Caribbean?

Enjoy.

View from the Glendurgan beach.
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Holidays Are Here Again

Early morning. Kea, Cornwall.

This week, the Family Unit are finally on holiday. And we consider ourselves to be very lucky. Finding any holiday accommodation in Cornwall in August, is always difficult, but this year it has been an expensive, near impossibility.

Amazingly, we’ve been able to book one of the lovely eco-lodges on the Killiow estate, near Truro. The setting is idyllic. Surrounded by trees, it is a haven of peace and bird song. A complete contrast to the over crowded hustle bustle of Falmouth’s beaches, which must have had more people per square metre packed on to the sand than the Spanish ‘Costas’, yesterday.

Fortunately, the Gylly Beach Cafe cooked up a rocking good breakfast, served outside on its terrace, so we could look at the sea, but avoid the mayhem. Today, we’ll be heading to the lovely Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Here’s hoping everyone else stays on the beach.

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Inspiring Stories from the Olympic Universe


Adam Peaty is more than just the poster boy of British Swimming. 

He, like the other members of Team GB, exhibits and talks about qualities and behaviours that don’t get a lot of airtime in these unusual times: wanting to do your best, supporting your team, pride in competing for your country, belief that you can achieve something amazing.

Our athletes come from many and varied walks of life and have moving stories to tell about self sacrifice, commitment and striving for a goal. All have the power to be incredible, positive role models for all ages. 

Some of them are very young, some have received little funding and have soldiered on with little more than a dream to keep them going. Many have been impacted by COVID or overcome injuries and other setbacks. Those not fortunate to win medals, have picked themselves up and talked with determination about the future.

No complaints. No self pity. Just belief in achieving more.

Inspiring.

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11 July 2021

Location: Somerset

Day: Sunday

Weather: British (code for raining).

Activity level: Nil, none, nothing.

The entire household has been struck down with a severe bout of lethargy and general, can’t be arsed-ness. A week’s camping ‘holiday’ in torrential rain has left the teenagers traumatised and reluctant to get out of bed.  Those of us who did not have to endure the camping horror, have stayed up too late and still have to face the pile of filthy (i.e. wrecked) clothes, tent, equipment etc. that has been returned from Cornwall. 

This all seems to fit with the general history of 11 July, which appears to be the anniversary of a rather uninspiring set of events, the best of which appears to be the birth of Robert the Bruce (1274), the opening of Waterloo station (1848) and the publication of A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens, 1859).

Hopefully, we’ll be able to summon up the energy to see if the nation will be adding football defeat or glory to this list, tonight.

Here’s hoping we break the curse of 11 July and make it a sporting night to remember.

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Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72

What happens when talent, opportunity and stimulants collide

Every time I think about Hunter S. Thompson, an unbidden mental picture of The History Man’s infernal Howard Kirk hoves into view, probably because Thompson, like Kirk, is inextricably linked in the general consciousness with the so called ‘counter culture’ of the late sixties. But there the similarity ends. Kirk is a fictional fake and Thompson is the real deal; Complex, talented, mischievous, flawed. 

Genius.

The political and cultural scene in America around this time is fascinating and there are a lot of books out there that cover this period.

Thompson’s gonzo journalistic masterpiece, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ‘72 is a great place to start.

The book charts the rise and fall of Democratic Senator George McGovern in the run up to the November 1972 US Presidential election.  McGovern’s opponent is ‘Tricky Dicky’ the incumbent President, Richard Nixon.

Thompson’s immersion in the McGovern campaign feels total and his writing reveals a lot about his modus operandi. He’s the headline act in the book as much as any of the other key players. His forthright views and thoughts are given the same prominence as those of his subjects, reflecting his opinions on objectivity in journalism.

Is everything in it entirely true? Unlikely.

Do I believe Thompson’s assertions about Ed Muskie and Ibogaine? Possibly. But this is not a history text. It’s a happening.

Reading the book is like drunkenly perusing The Economist, whilst racing a Porsche. An adrenaline high with an uncertain ending.

Theodore H. White’s The Making of the President 1972, will be next on my reading list, but I greatly fear that the Pulitzer Prize winner’s efforts may not be such a white knuckle ride.

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Helpmates

Another, fine mess. Stan and Ollie get busy with the washing up.

If ever you’re feeling under the weather and want a quick pick me up, get on to YouTube and find a copy of Laurel and Harry’s Helpmates.

Shot in 1932, when the phenomenally successful duo were based at Hal Roach’s studio, Helpmates tells a simple story in its short 20 minute run time, but Stan and Ollie turn this into pure, comedy gold.

The plot:  Ollie’s feisty wife has gone to stay with her mother and while the cat’s away …the mice get busy on the phone.  Ollie throws a wild party, his home gets trashed and he loses all his money in a poker game.  Shortly after he wakes up on ‘the morning after the night before’, a telegram arrives announcing his wife’s imminent return signalling the start of a massive, under pressure, clean up operation. And the fun.

Stan and Ollie milk the situation for all its worth, with perfectly timed knock about sight gags, inviting the audience to sympathise with them by ‘looks through the fourth wall’. A running series of disasters reduces Ollie’s wardrobe to just a fancy dress costume and the film ends with Ollie, a ‘sadder, wiser and dizzier man’, sitting in the burnt out shell of his home, in the rain, complete with a black eye.

This film delivers the goods and you’ll be laughing from the moment Ollie’s gives himself a telling off, to the end credits. Not bad for a film that’s 89 years old.

Simple, smart, funny.

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