Feverish for a winter seafood fix? A tide‑to‑table supper at Sea Fever in Bude is just the tonic
What’s the draw?
Leave the restaurant bustle of Bude’s Belle Vue and Queen Street for this unassuming cliffside venue which serves delectably fresh seafood.
Despite its picturesque location on Summerleaze Crescent, Sea Fever flies somewhat under the radar because of its setting within Atlantic House Hotel. However, don’t let this deter you as it’s a find for gourmets who get excited about menus that are built around the local catch.
The team at Sea Fever are so inspired by the big blue and its spoils that they named the restaurant after poet John Masefield’s ode to the ocean.
Bude‑born chef Kyan Hooper – who earnt his stripes in Yorkshire at Michelin‑starred restaurants Rascasse and The Star Inn at Harome – is well versed in cooking seafood. The head chef has strong family ties with the local fishing community, so only the freshest fish make it into his kitchen.
Kyan skilfully turns these high‑quality ingredients into comforting, crowd‑pleasing dishes typical of a traditional French bistro – with a dash of Asian influence for good measure.
What to order?
It seems trivial to talk bread when the seafood was so good, but the warm malted loaf with its honeyed notes, caramelised crust and carpet of salty seaweed butter warrants a moment of reflection.
The moreish bread started the meal alongside tasty morsels such as smoked anchovies, and Porthilly oysters with pear and jalapeño. Snack sensibly, however, as you’ll want to save room for starters like the tandoori mackerel with squid bhaji, pickled cucumber and coriander. The mackerel’s spiced yogurt marinade permeated its delicate flesh with warming heat, providing a delicious contrast to its torched skin.
A second starter of buttermilk monkfish in a pool of sweet hot sauce with house pickles, crème fraîche and sliced red chillies also scored highly for creativity.
Choosing between mains of fish stew packed with mussels, hake, monkfish, gurnard, sea bass and smoked haddock, and the hake with pumpkin, vadouvan spice, yogurt and broccoli was tough work. The latter swung it and was a triumph of French‑Indian fusion cooking.
Following such fish‑heavy feasting you might be tempted to turn down dessert, but it’s worth trying one of the homemade ice creams or sorbets if you’ve only a smidgen of room. The plum sorbet was lip‑smackingly good as a side to the lemon posset pud.
If you spy lobster on the Sea Fever menu, order it! It will have been caught in Bude Bay by Kyan’s uncle.