The Headland Hotel – Newquay
We were hungry. We had spent the morning, driving (what felt like) all over Cornwall, doing various errands. Sure everything we had on our ‘to-do’ list could have been done over a period of a few days, even weeks but with my ‘why isn’t it done already?!’ attitude in full force, there was little room for outstanding tasks in our day.
On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air…
Early afternoon found us in the concierge mecca of the West country, Newquay. As a child, I lived and schooled here but that was over 27 years back and although largely unchanged I was struggling to navigate the tourist laden streets. Driven by our appetites we made the easiest and most obvious choice for a hopefully decent lunch and headed to the Headland Hotel.
My vague memory of this award winning establishment, patronised on occasion by royalty, was that it was fancy and that my mother had taken a culinary course there at the same time they were filming Roald Dahl’s The Witches. As a massive fan of this literary giant, this was quite possibly the most exciting thing to ever happen, that and lining up for endless hours at the local cinema awaiting the first screening of Moonwalker. – I digress.
Mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice…
The hotel itself was a weird and brilliant mix of high end and beach casual. The staff were fantastically friendly, each one of them engaging our ‘three-nager’ in happy conversation as we were taken through to their Terrace restaurant. We initially opted to sit outside overlooking the clifftop down to the sapphire blue water below and got settled, comfy in their cushioned sofa chairs and making contented comments such as ‘This is the life’ and ‘I could sit here all day’. The breeze was gathering strength, nothing that we couldn’t handle but little did we know the ever present threat of the hungry seagull(s) lurking just out of sight would end this particular idyll. As we sat awaiting our food, two unsuspecting holiday makers on an adjacent table were cheerfully tucking in when ‘The Gull’ came. Out from it’s hiding spot and quicker than you can say ‘I’ll have a pastie and a pint please’ it took an sandwich in it’s entirety from the hands of it’s devourer and with a smug indomitable look on it’s face (surely), flew away. At this point, we decided to move inside, thus avoiding the the inevitable meltdown and future counselling expenses should this happen to Evie.
So I called up the Captain, ‘Please bring me my wine’
He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine’…
The inside was just as pleasant, with it’s fresh, unstuffy decor and floor to ceiling windows. We re-seated and soon enough our food landed. Halloumi, mushroom and chilli jam burgers with chips were the all round adult choice, delicious and reasonably priced. The kids margarita pizza was basic as is usually the case but good and perfect for little tummies. A busy day behind us (for the most part) we indulged in a tasty crisp rhubarb gin and elderflower tonic. One out of so many options at their custom gin bar that so clearly promises an interesting (and completely un-recallable) night out. Perhaps a post for another time!
You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!’…
And for those of you left wondering about those poor forlorn tourists… the hotel staff without question, replaced their missing lunch. A clear sign this grand old hotel has not lost it’s class.
“She might even be your lovely school-teacher who is reading these words to you at this very moment. Look carefully at that teacher. Perhaps she is smiling at the absurdity of such a suggestion. Don’t let that put you off. It could be part of cleverness.
I am not, of course, telling you for one second that your teacher actually is a witch. All I am saying is that she might be one. It is most unlikely. But–here comes the big “but”–not impossible.”