Words by Dan Warden
Provenance is now more important than ever in our pursuit of good food.
In our third volume, we took a trip to the Isles of Scilly, and during our time there, discovered a thriving wildlife population, many unique breeds, and a haven of untouched beauty. Along the way, we also stopped for a bite at The Beach BBQ Restaurant on St Mary’s, and it didn’t take much to realise that we had to learn more about this beautiful waterside eatery.
“Since buying my first business on Scilly 10 years ago, I’ve always been keen to bring fresh ideas to the islands, so when the opportunity came to buy the restaurant, I was keen to create something completely different,” explains restaurant owner Clifford. It was that drive to differ that ultimately led, with the help of Phil Fallows (former Head Chef at St Mary’s Hall Hotel), to the conceptualis-ation of The Beach BBQ Restaurant.
Set in a converted boat shed overlooking St Mary’s harbour, from the decked area outside, you can sit and watch the Scilly summer go by. Sail boats cross the glorious seascape to Samson, Bryher and Tresco, while the sunlight dapples the undulating waters in their wake. Clifford and his team specialise in local seafood and slow reared, rare-breed meats. “I am very keen on provenance and using local produce,” Clifford tells us. “We also use the best fresh island produce, particularly lobster, fish, duck, eggs, vegetables and salad leaves.” That’s not to mention Scilly produced gin and wine!
“The meat we use at The Beach comes from my own farm in Gloucestershire,” Clifford reveals to us – a nod towards his enthusiasm of bringing fresh ideas to the isles. There, he elaborates: “We produce the very best beef from the historic indigenous Gloucester cattle – fed their entire life on a grass-only diet and only travelling half an hour to slaughter, thus reducing stress to a minimum and meaning we get the best taste and tenderness, and nutritional goodness.”
So, what brought Clifford to this stunning archipelago? “My love of Scilly started as a child. We holidayed here every year until I was 10, so to be able to run several restaurants here combines my love of the islands, and my mission is to produce really good food.” But Clifford also sees his opportunity here as one to educate his guests in why the origin of food matters; to reconnect them with the importance of foodie provenance.