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Beach Eats: Sea Spray, South Fistral

Locals and tourists are flooding back to this revamped surf-side café. Here’s why…

There are two ends of Fistral Beach and I’ve always preferred one over the other. On the busy northern stretch, you’ll find some rather fancy fish and chips, a whole lot of windbreaks and the bustling surf centre. While on South Fistral, wetsuit clad locals run up and down the stone steps to the sand — via laidback beach café Sea Spray.

You may remember it as Bodhi’s or The Windswept but new owners have given this surf-side hangout a completely new lease of life. Since February, couple, Kelly and Chris and Kelly’s brother Steven have been restoring the café to its former glory, while Head Chef, Matt White (previously of The Idle Rocks) has been honing the menu.

Fresh from its first summer of trading, Sea Spray has won over locals and visitors alike, with 5-star reviews coming out of its ears. And the formula’s spot on for a Cornish beach café – keep the prices affordable and stick to tasty, fresh and simple dishes, made with quality local produce.

For me though, their success is all in how well they know their Newquay regulars. Chips are piled high with BBQ pulled pork, jalapenos and cheese for the surfers, there’s colourful Acai and fruit bowls for the yogis and great coffee, craft beers and tapas for the daytime crowd. They’ve also introduced a bistro menu in the evening (from Thursday to Saturday), giving chef Matt the chance to flex his creative muscles. He’s particularly keen on fish dishes, such as Crab Linguine, with chilli, ginger and coriander and Goan Sea Food Curry.

Breakfast is also a major event and in summer, tables are packed with nearby hotel guests (as well as their staff and owners) and surfers fresh from the waves. Sea Spray offers a killer full English as well as Mexican and Spanish riffs on cooked breakfast. Add Olfactory coffee and Tea Pigs and I can’t think of a nicer way to start the day.

Sea Spray also caters really well to lots of dietary requirements. Rather the usual token veggie dish, there’s been a full vegan menu all summer, featuring dishes like Vegetable Penang Curry and Smokey Three Bean Chilli – and their homemade, sweet potato, mushroom and quinoa burger is a thing of beauty. On the afternoon tea menu, stonking gluten-free cakes, from Devon’s Exploding Bakery, out number their glutenous (but equally delectable) cousins.

Like Newquay in general, where the entrepreneurial spirit is strong right now, this Fistral café has scrubbed up really nicely without losing its hip, surf-town roots. Let’s hope Kelly and the gang are here to stay – we’ll be dropping in regularly for sure.

MUDDY VERDICT

GOOD FOR: Great food without the fancy price tag: head to Sea Spray for slow weekend breakfasts, post-dog-walk coffee and cake, easy family lunches or relaxed dinners with an amazing sunset view.

NOT FOR: It’s still a café at heart, so if you prefer a more refined restaurant experience, Sea Spray’s laidback vibe might not be your cup of tea.

££: Really affordable for the quality. A full English is £6.95, lunches average around £8 and evening mains, around £12.50.

Sea Spray Fistral, Fistral Beach, Esplanade Rd, Newquay TR7 1QA. 01637 850793.

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