Fifteen, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, Review

View out to sea at Fifteen, Cornwall

Although a subsidiary of Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation, the Fifteen restaurant in Cornwall is actually owned by the Cornwall Foundation of Promise. This means that while the restaurant is influenced by Oliver’s passion for fresh produce and Italian cuisine, it should have its own identity. Given Oliver’s influence, we expected simple rustic food with a tonne of good quality olive oil and fresh salads.

Fifteen Cornwall, has been blessed with a stunning view that its counterparts could only dream of. We sat on the balcony – front row seats to the keen surfers’ twilight wave-riding, framed by the setting sun shimmering over the bashing waves. Below, dog walkers pat along the beach before it’s engulfed by the incoming tide.

The food on offer was set out on a tasting menu but with room for choice and optional matching wine alongside. Before we got down to the choosing, our waitress explained what the different ingredients were, where they were sourced and how they were cooked. For seasoned diners, this was a little over explained although for the less gastronomically experienced, it proves to be a good insight.

To start was the obligatory nibble of bread with olive oil but also Puglian olives and courgette flowers. As we opted to skip the insalata, the first set of mains to arrive were the raviolo of Lee Carter’s lobster and aged carnaroli risotto. While the fairly small portions were nice, they didn’t do too much to impress. That said, the raviolo seemed more ‘cheffy’ than the usual Oliver style.

What arrived next was the pan fried fillet of John dory and hand dived Cornish scallops. The scallops, though perfectly cooked, didn’t excite our taste buds. At least not like the panzanella which came with the John dory – the perfect tart side to the fish and the hot weather. We certainly wouldn’t object to another portion of those.

An Amedei chocolate cake and the Amalfi lemon tart made a rewarding finish to the meal, whether shared or savoured individually.

It’s interesting to see the fine amalgamation of Cornish and Italian ingredients together on a plate. Though the delicious food wasn’t extraordinary, the quality of the ingredients and the care in preparation was certainly impressive. Added to that mix is the fabulous view and excellent and knowledgeable service. The tasting menu makes it hard to have a simple meal but we would definitely go back when there’s good weather and buoyant appetites.

Click here for menu and imagery.

(First seen on Blue Tomato)

Fifteen, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, dinner

Tasting menu from a dinner to review Fifteen, Watergate Bay, Cornwall, where wine and courses are optional:

Bread baked daily by Da Bara’s Bakery and Puglian mammoth olives

To get you started…

Fiori di zucchini fritti

Ruggeri Prosecco ‘Giustino B’, 2009, Valdobbiadene, Italy


Insalata of Deli Farm coppa, juicy Sicilian melon, mint and Buttervilla’s funky leaves

Domaine de Vaufuget Vouvray, 2009, Loire Valley, France


Mozzarella di bufala, smashed peas and broad beans with pea shoots and aged balsamic

Fred Loimer ‘Lenz’ Riesling, 2010, Kamptal, Austria


Raviolo of Lee Carter’s Lobster, Amalfi lemon sauce, bronze fennel and bottarga di muggine

Martin Codax Albariño, 2010, Rías Baixas, Spain


Aged carnaroli risotto of prosecco poached Italian flat white peaches, Newlina’s basil and pecorino di vino

Proprietà Sperino Erbaluce di Caluso, 2008, Piedmont, Italy


Pan fried fillet of John dory, panzanella salad and basil oil

Terenzuola Vermetino ‘Colli di Luni’, 2010, Liguria, Italy


Hand dived Cornish scallops, vedure mista grigliata and chilli and mint dressing

Pieropan Soave ‘La Rocca’, 2008, Veneto, Italy


Rotolo di patate e spinaci con peperonata

Tenuta di Capezzana ‘Barco Reale di Carmignano’, 2007, Tuscany, Italy


Char grilled fillet of aged Angus beef with borlotti beans, braised Italian greens and horseradish

Le Soula Rouge, 2006, Côtes Catalanes, SW France

Dolci e Formaggi…

Amedei No. 9 chocolate and hazelnut layer cake with crème fraiche, chocolate sauce and praline

Cantine Leonardo Vin Santo ‘Bianco del l’Empolese’, 2005, Tuscany, Italy


Amalfi lemon mascarpone tart with mixed Cornish summer berries and Rodda’s gooey clotted cream

Château Laville, 2006, Sauternes, France


Formaggi: Keen’s, Cornish blue and Dorstone, date and walnut bread and Fifteen’s fruit chutney

Fairview Sweet Red, 2008, Paarl, South Africa

Caffé e Cioccolatini

Origin’s amazing in season espresso blend coffee roasted in Cornwall with chocolate truffles

Road-testing ‘Jamie’s 30 minute meals’ by Jamie Oliver

Jamie's 30 minute meals by Jamie OliverAs the book that accompanies Jamie Oliver’s Channel Four series of the same title, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals has received a lot of publicity. Lots of people (including Guardian columnists) have tried cooking along with the show and failed. I too have watched in awe as Oliver apparently peeled and chopped an entire tray of fruit in about two minutes, gawping at the impossibility of the task at hand. And yet here I am testing out the paper version.

When I first got the book, I was overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at the same time. The recipes were uncomplicated but also unglamorous. Don’t get me wrong, they looked fantastically tasty but in that rustic Jamie Oliver kind of way. Plus, they were just every day recipes, nothing extraordinarily fancy.

There were a lot of recipes though – 50 meals worth in fact. Each meal is made up of a main, a side and generally a dessert for upwards of four people. That’s basically a casual dinner party in 30 minutes – an impressive feat. It was also a varied selection of recipes from different cuisines, albeit not authentic. As one of my tasters pointed out, Cypriots don’t stuff their chicken.

Browsing through the recipes, I was convinced I could do it. These were simple dishes, what could go wrong?

Choosing the meal to cook was hard. I was looking for something different from what I had been eating during the rest of the week, something a little bit challenging and I definitely wanted a dessert. The meal I chose was chicken skewers with amazing satay sauce, fiery noodle salad and fruit and mint sugar to finish.

Finding the ingredients was easy enough but having all of the equipment was a little harder. Specifically, I only had a hand blender and not a food processor and an oven not a grill. Small things, you might think, but actually contributed a lot to the time taken.

With ingredients and equipment at the ready, the timer was set and off I went chopping and bashing through the kitchen spilling nuts everywhere, stabbing myself with the skewers and burning my arm on the oven tray. It wasn’t so much that the recipe demanded it, but rather the little voice in the back of my head telling me to move faster. That and my tasters standing at the side counting down the minutes like a live episode of Ready Steady Cook. Except I was no chef and checking the recipe every two minutes was using up all of my time.

Jamie's 30 minute meals

Mid-way through the whole process I was not impressed by the book at all. Why hasn’t Jamie created a time plan so I actually know what I’m meant to be doing rather than scanning through paragraphs of stuff to find the next? Already, I had declared that if this meal tastes terrible then it’s all Jamie’s fault and if it goes okay, obviously the credit is due to my hard work.

As the timer approached 30 minutes, my chicken skewers were still in the oven nowhere near done. There were also a couple of handfuls of herbs to chop, nuts to sprinkle and sauce to drizzle. But surprisingly, chicken aside, I basically had a meal ready. While waiting for the chicken, I had time to clean up the kitchen and do a little washing up, which by now had piled up considerably high. Realistically from start to finish, the whole thing was a 45 minute bumpy ride. That said, if I was familiar with the recipe and had a grill then I’m sure that extra 15 minutes can be shaved off.

When the food eventually made it to table, it was gone pretty quickly. It could just be my hungry diners finally getting to indulge on that late lunch but the feedback was “you have permission to make that again”.

The real debate was perhaps whether it was Jamie’s achievement or mine. But love him or hate him, this 14th book from Jamie Oliver is a sure sign that he’s here to stay.

(First seen on Foodepedia)