Coast, Coppet Hall Beach Centre, Saundersfoot
SA69 9AJ; Tel: 01834 810800 coastsaundersfoot.co.uk
West is best for a feast from the east, and an evening of seafood delights. It’s just over a year since Thomas Hine took the helm at one of Wales’ most celebrated restaurants. The former AA Wales Restaurant of the Year (2015-16) was an instant hit when it opened under Chef Will Holland. His departure, last year, from Pembrokeshire drew gasps from foodies, near and far. It is therefore a relief to report that my visit to the beach restaurant was most definitely a success. On an early autumn eve the sterling fish-based menu had me howling at the Harvest moon. Indeed, the Cornish chef (Padstow-born and raised) brings a passion for seafood that is most welcome here in Wales. And his interest in Far Eastern flavours refreshes the taste-buds even further. I arrived early enough to savour a stunning Welsh sunset, with views that stretched from Monkstone Point to northern Gower. And even within the modern space, there’s no escape from Carmarthen Bay, as local oil seascapes by Vyvyan W. Davies draw you in further to the wild west drama. A mackerel ceviche appetizer, however, was the perfect reminder that the star of thisshow is the food. The burst of citrus from the kimchi and coriander kicked my saliva glands into gear. The starter that followed was a contemporary take on a comforting seafood classic. The creamy crab ‘cocktail’ was very nicely balanced with a radish and pink grapefruit salad. A crisp Picpoul de Pinet was the perfect white wine opener, whilst a heftier Californian Chardonnay, was just the ticket for the more robust – and ‘meaty’– main course. The moreish monkfish dish was paired with light Pan-Asian flavours, including pak choi, tomato, raita and satay sauce. It was no wonder to discover that during a three-year stint with chef- presenter Rick Stein, Hines helped develop recipes for his tv series Eastern Odyssey. He left Padstow to develop a more classical style under Michael Caines at Lympstone Manor. But at Coast, Thomas Hine has been given free reign to ‘be himself ’ and to let the flavours of Cornish and Welsh produce shine. It’s a treat to experience his vision at Coast – which also includes meat and vegetarian dishes. Indeed, most of the vegetables are hand-picked from the garden at sister-restaurant The Grove, near Narberth. And with a Scottish sous-chef assisting Hine to boot, you’ll find a Celtic feast awaits you at Saundersfoot. So make a bee-line over winter to Pembrokeshire, for a trip to the beach to remember.