Writing this week by the open window with the glorious afternoon sun glistening on the Camel Estuary, flooding our restaurant with the freshest Cornish air and sunbeams, it is difficult to imagine life spent anywhere else. With the fervent buzz of a busy happy kitchen of chefs preparing for another fantastic full restaurant tonight in the background and the distant gleeful chatter from guests on the terrace of Outlaws in Rock, the city and the rat race seem far away. However, with guests arriving at the hotel for special celebrations or just a relaxing break the same pressure is still on to deliver the best possible experience. In this day and age with open kitchens, high profile social media outlets and programs such as MasterChef displaying the foodie world for all to see, that pressure has changed. It has evolved from one on a simple plane of demand and supply into much more.
Apart from our passion for genuinely wanting to give our guests an evening they will love from start to finish, from a technical point of view, everybody in our restaurant is now very wise! By this, I mean that they can be extremely well-informed with regards to food and service, with educated questions into specific elements of our dishes. Whereas once it was a more mysterious aspect of dining with an almost secretive barrier between the kitchen and the restaurant, now, due to our culture and the media, there is no place for this as the customer’s deep interest, knowledge and need for communication takes over. These days our guests are very aware of cooking techniques, flavour combinations and are presenting a demand for traceable local produce. And so they should be.
While this has always been a natural choice for Nathan, this wish from guests is also great for us in front-of-house. This is partly because we are such a small team and we live between our inspiring kitchen and adjoining office so there is constant excitement of the kitchen activity and continuous involvement in the menu evolution. As it is a way of life for us, it makes perfect sense to display it proudly on our menu and describe it clearly; away from any pretence that could distract our guests from enjoying what is on their dish and in their glass.
I feel it is more important than ever to know our produce, know our dishes and be ready if desired because as well as the fact there is no fooling our customers, we really are so proud to serve such delights. We find this evolved pressure no hardship at all when we all posses such an ardent love of Nathan and the team’s beautiful food; it merely adds to the joy to be able to share it with our very clever guests.
Having said this, no matter what the level of awareness, it is difficult to ignore the natural magic in the air that comes from the sheer genius of what our chefs produce in flavours and in Damon’s incredible ability to make wines feel like they were ‘born’ to accompany that dish. I believe our culture involving delicious food and restaurants is a great part of our heritage, a feeling accentuated in Cornwall where you can almost see your dinner swimming past the window, with a simple aim to do the wonderful fish and accompaniments justice.