Overlooking Trevaunance Cove – a rocky beach with towering cliffs and powerful swell – from the terrace at Schooners Bar & Restaurant you can smell and taste the salt on the air. The atmospheric buzz permeates inside, too, where, even on a dark autumnal night, tables are packed, the bar is busy and a large team of friendly staff are on-hand.
Chef and co-owner Adam Vasey has created a menu which evolves daily and consists of dishes designed for sharing; there are bigger options if that’s not your thing, but you’ll be missing out on Adam’s best work. There’s a strong Italian influence in much of the menu, but the food refuses to be pigeon-holed and is better for it.
Seafood is from the immediate coastline (mainly courtesy of the fishermen who land their catch in the cove), and meat, cheeses, charcuterie, fruit and veg are all sourced from Cornwall’s finest small growers and artisan producers. Local small-batch breweries like Verdant, and craft cider-makers such as Secret Orchard, rule at the bar, where there’s also a tempting cocktail list.
Dishes are served when ready, which suited us perfectly but the informality might not work for everyone. The wine list could do with a little more love to match the inventiveness of the food, too, but that will no doubt come with time.
The style is confident and playful, the service unapologetically chilled. If you love a great atmosphere, big flavours, and owners who get behind local producers, then Schooners will become a favourite Cornish haunt when it reopens for the new season in March 2018.