If restaurants could win awards for their views, then The Sea Terrace just outside Ilfracombe would have already won multiple Michelin stars. Perched on the shores of Watermouth Harbour, the restaurant and bar offer panoramic views of the beautiful North Devon coastline.
However, few people even know it exists. Tucked away out of sight behind Watermouth Castle, the restaurant is part of Park Life Resorts, but is open to guests and visitors. And this conveniently located restaurant has just undergone a revamp led by Chris Holland – an award-winning chef and former contestant on the BBC show Great British Menu. We were invited to taste the new menu concept. But would the food live up to the views?
First up: the entrees and it’s fair to say there was something for everyone, including classics like prawn cocktail, whitebait and vegetable soup. We opted for sticky vegan cauliflower wings with Japanese rice wine dip (£6.95) and Watermouth fried chicken (£7.50). The vegan cauliflower wings were huge (luckily we ordered a portion to share between the five of us) and looked a bit like giant chicken nuggets. I always doubt anything that tries to look or taste like meat, but these were amazing – succulent and crispy at the same time and perfectly complemented by the unusual sauce. Even the kids enjoyed them (and didn’t ask for ketchup).
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The fried chicken was just as delicious – and despite the name, unlike anything you’ll find at KFC. It came on a pile of salad (perhaps to counter any guilt over the fried part) and it was great to find out that it was not just the contents of a ‘mixed bag’ but a vibrant mix of baby kale, thinly sliced raw cauliflower and bell peppers. I would have gladly eaten this starter as a main course, accompanied by flatbread fries.
The fantastic entries meant the bar was set high for the sector. Again, the menu included classics like steak, burgers, sharing plates, fish and chips battered in local beer, as well as alternatives like zucchini and English asparagus salad. Apart from the steak (£24), main courses ranged from £10.50-£15.95. There was also a kids menu with pizza, pasta, fish and chips and chicken goujons with sweet potato fries. We opted for langoustines and monkfish coated in citrus fruits and roasted marinated salmon with an asparagus salad and new potatoes. This also came with strips of local glasswort which was a bit like chewing on sea water, but worked surprisingly well with the delicate fish and creamy sauce. I would definitely order it again.
Despite the generous ‘Devonshire’ size portions, we managed to save some room for dessert. Choices included a chocolate brownie, a rhubarb and strawberry English crumble, and a Watermouth cheesecake with various toppings. We choose a cheesecake (£6.50) a brownie (£6.95) and a vanilla panna cotta (£6.50) to share. The brownie was incredibly rich and not for the faint hearted, but my favorite was definitely the panna cotta. This had been brewed with Earl Gray tea and was topped with a layer of homemade scone, strawberries and a dollop of clotted cream, so it was like eating cream tea in dessert form. Genius.
Suitably sated, we sat down to take in the incredible views, while the kids went to burn off a sugar rush. The restaurant has both an outdoor play area and a small indoor play area, making it perfect for families. We could even watch them from our table. Overall, we really enjoyed the food at Sea Terrace. The atmosphere is relaxed and laid back while still maintaining that “night out” feel and the staff were brilliant. As for the setting, well, that would be hard to beat. It would also be the perfect place to visit for an alfresco drink after a walk along the coastal path. We would definitely come back.
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