Cornwall LivingIssue #64

Bistro on the beach

We sample the best of seaside dining at Sam’s On The Beach, Polkerris.

Blessed with great weather, M and I thought it would be nice to embark on a little adventure in the camper van. We headed to Polkerris on the south coast, our aim: good food, drink, a wander around the coast in the fresh air and a cosy night’s sleep.

“… the interior is impressive and the open kitchen with woodturning pizza oven allows you to see everything thats happening…”

We set up camp at Penhale Camping and Caravan Park. With an excellent view over farmland down towards the sea, it felt like the perfect spot. What’s more, the facilities were great, making it the ideal base for a summer camping trip. Once we’d checked in and donned our glad rags, we took the 20-minute walk from the campsite, across fields and down a scenic path, with gravity in our favour. I couldn’t help but think about the walk back…

We arrived at the beach and were instantly wowed by stunning views over St Austell bay.  Polkerris is a beautiful, idyllic, sandy cove with everything you need for a Cornish day out – places to eat, drink and sunbathe, with ample opportunity to swim and soak up the views. There’s also a watersports centre where you can learn to sail, SUP, windsurf and powerboat!

We’d arrived a little early, so after a good look around the cove we decided to pop into the bustling Rashleigh Inn. Set in the 300-year old former coastguard station, the inn seems to be a popular location for the weekend wind down. We enjoyed a beer and watched a group of youngsters bobbing about in the sea, before crossing the slipway for our meal.

Sam’s On The Beach began life as an old boathouse and slipway 150 years ago, before becoming an RNLI lifeboat station. Now, it’s a wonderfully chic restaurant; the interior is impressive and the open kitchen with woodburning pizza oven allows you to see everything that’s happening, including the preparation of your meal! We were seated beside the huge floor-to-ceiling window, where we could continue soaking up the sea views. M and I are not big wine drinkers, so we thought we’d instead try the Sam’s Pilsner. Thanks to the friendly staff and warm ambience at this charming seaside eatery, we were beginning to feel incredibly relaxed.

To start I chose the hot garlic ‘shell on’ prawns. M had the mussels. Both tasted delightfully fresh and full of flavour, and the focaccia bread they each came with was perfect for mopping up the sauce.

For mains, M had the surf and turf – a 10oz steak, tiger prawns, shell on prawns and fries – while I ordered the generously sized plate of slow-roasted belly pork, served with black pudding, crispy crackling, crushed mustard potatoes, cabbage, leeks and bacon, finished with gravy and apple chutney. Finally, as if we needed another course, we couldn’t resist a plate of profiteroles and a Sam’s beach Bocca; with such a tempting dessert menu, it’s really quite hard to say no!

After the meal we kicked back with another drink and watched the sun set, before wandering back to the campsite. The best part of Sam’s is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy a Sam’s experience, from Sam’s In The City in Truro, Sam’s @ The Bay on Crinnis beach, even Sleep @ Sam’s – a holiday property in Fowey! There’s also a Sam’s Diner in St Austell and you can even hire one of the the team’s retro vans for your big event. Indeed, with different delights on offer from each arm of the business, however you decide to enjoy the experience, you won’t be left wanting at Sam’s.

"... the interior is impressive and the open kitchen with woodturning pizza oven allows you to see everything thats happening..."

Sample Menu


12” garlic and herb pizza - £7.95 focaccia bread - £1.50
With balsamic & olive oil

Olives - £2.95

Charcuterie - £6.45

A selection of cured meats including:
chorizo, parma ham & milano salami with artichoke hearts, red onion marmalade & pickles. Served with salad garnish.

Antipasta - £6.45
Artichoke hearts, pepper dews, sun dried tomatoes, aubergine, humus, green beans, olives, salad garnish, balsamic glaze. (v)

Soft shell crab - £7.50
Battered & deep fried whole crab, with salad garnish & sweet chilli dip.

Sardines - £6.45
Roasted in the oven with garlic, lemon, fresh herbs & butter. Served with salad garnish & bread (gf without bread)

Seafood trio - £7.95
Fresh cornish smoked salmon, smoked mackerel pate, shell on prawns. With rocket, cucumber, capers & toast. (gf without bread)

Mussels - £7.95
Moules steamed with garlic, red onion, white wine, butter & parsley. With bread. (gf without bread)

Scallops - £8.95
Pan seared in the wood fire oven with butter, lemon, parsley & garlic. Salad garnish & bread (gf without bread)

Scallops & black sausage - £9.95
As above with black pudding, smoked bacon & anchovy

Goats cheese crostini - £6.45
Oven baked cornish goats cheese mixed with sun blushed tomato, basil & roasted garlic. Finished with balsamic vinegar glaze, red onion marmalade & toasted pine nuts. (v)

1⁄2 pint prawns - £6.45
‘shell on’ prawns. Served with a pot of garlic & herb mayo. (gf)

Hot garlic ‘shell on’ prawns - £6.45


All 12” thin base:-

Garlic & herb - £7.95

Margherita - £9.95
Tomato sauce, mozzarella & fresh basil

Cheese & onion - £9.95
On a plain base

Vegi - £12.95
Artichoke, mushrooms, sun dried tomato, aubergine, red onion & olives. Garnished with fresh rocket (v)

Goats’ cheese - £12.95
Sun dried tomato, red onions & olives. Garnished with fresh rocket (v)

Parwaiian - £12.95
Smoked bacon, chicken & pineapple

Smokey - £12.95
Chicken, smoked bacon, red onion, peppadews & bbq sauce

Seafood - £13.95
Smoked salmon, squid, octopus, mussels, anchovies, red onion, capers & fresh rosemary

Hot meat - £13.95
Chorizo, milano salami, parma ham, jalapeños, red onion & peppadews

4 cheese - £12.95
Yarg, cornish blue, cheddar, mozzarella

Sams burger calzone - £14.95
A classic 1⁄4 pound sams fowey burger, with fried onion & bacon.
Wrapped and cooked inside a margherita pizza.served with fries, mayo & salad garnish.

12” gluten free pizzas
All of the above pizzas are now also available on a 12” gluten free base. (please note these are prepared in the same area as regular pizzas and come into contact with ingredients containing gluten)

Fresh local westcountry mussels served with focaccia bread.

Mariniere - £11.95
Garlic, red onion, white wine, butter & parsley.

Creamy thai - £13.95
Chef’s creamy red thai sauce.

Classic mixed - £14.95
Mussels, clams, shell on prawns & tiger prawns in a classic mariniere sauce.

Mediterranean mixed basque - £15.95
Chorizo, mussels, clams, shell on prawns & tiger prawns. Cooked in a rich red pepper/tomato sauce with olives, wine, garlic, red onions & fresh herbs.

Please see our specials board for our daily fish dishes.

Seafood sharer for 2 - £39.95
Scallops, sardines, tiger prawns, ‘shell on’ prawns (chilled) & salad. With a bowl of mussels mariniere & bread.

Sardines - main - £11.95
Seared & roasted in the oven with fresh herbs, roasted garlic & lemon butter. Served with salad garnish and focaccia bread.

Sardines provençal - £12.95
As above cooked with red pepper & tomato sauce, wine, garlic, red onion, olives, & fresh herbs.

Scallops - £17.95
Pan seared in the wood fire oven with butter, lemon, parsley & garlic. Salad garnish & bread (gf without bread)

Scallops & black sausage - £19.95
As above with black pudding, smoked bacon & anchovy

Seafood spaghetti marinara - £14.95
Mussels, clams, tiger prawns, cooked in the chef’s red pepper/med veg tomato sauce, chorizo, garlic butter, wine, thai fish sauce & sweet chilli sauce.

Surf ‘n’ turf - £24.95
10oz ribeye steak, tiger prawns, ‘shell on’ prawns (chilled) & fries


Slow roast belly pork - £13.95
Slow roasted belly pork, black pudding & our crispy crackling. With crushed creamy mustard new potatos, cabbage, leeks & bacon. Finished with gravy & apple chutney.

Rib-eye steak - £18.95
10oz rib eye marinated in oil, garlic and herbs, seared in the wood fire oven. Served with beef tomato, flat field mushroom, fries & salad garnish. (gf)

Chicken basque - £13.95
Chicken breast, chorizo, red onions, basil & new potatoes. Cooked in the chef’s mediterranean veg, red pepper & tomato sauce. (gf)

Meatballs - £11.95
Our meatballs are made fresh using quality beef & pork mince. Served with spaghetti, tomato & bbq sauce, red onion & basil. Topped with parmesan cheese.


Halloumi & veg provencal- £12.95
Pan seared halloumi, served in a tomato, sweet chilli and garlic butter sauce, with new potato, mediterranean veg, pinenuts and fresh basil. (v) (gf)

The beach salad - £9.95
A mixed leaf salad, green beans, oil marinated artichoke hearts, olives, aubergine, sun dried tomato, peppadews, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomato, herbs & pine nuts with house dressing. (gf)
Beach salad also available with the following:-

Goats cheese crostini (v) - £13.95
Warm cornish goats cheese mixed with sun blushed tomato, basil & roasted garlic. Finished with bal-samic vinegar glaze, red onion marmalade & toasted pine nuts. (v)
Dressed cornish crab salad
Fresh cornish white & brown crab meat dressed in the shell,

Shell on prawns, sams beach salad, mayo & bread - £17.95 (when available)

Chicken - £14.95
Chicken breast, sliced & topped with parmesan cheese and parma ham. (gf)


Cappuccino coffee chocolate pot - £5.50
Rich dark creamy chocolate & espresso, topped with whipped cream (gf)

Lemon meringue roulade - £5.50
With clotted cream & raspberry coulis (gf)

Warm chocolate cornish brownie - £5.95
Sweet, gooey, sticky! Served with clotted cream

Profiteroles - £5.50
Topped with chocolate sauce.

Dessert pizza - £6.50
Small fresh pizza base cooked in our wood fire oven.
Topped with double cream, syrup, strawberries, toasted marshmallows, dark choco drops, icecream & sams wafer.

Dairy free - marshmallows, raspberry couli & strawberries - £4.95

Beach bocca - £4.95
Ice cream, raspberry coulis, choc sauce, marshmallows, flaked chocolate & a sam’s wafer.

Vanilla icecream & flake - £3.50

Toasted waffle - £6.50
Chocolate sauce, raspberry coulis, flaked chocolate, marshmallows and ice cream.

Cheese board - £9.95
Cornish blue, smokey, cheddar, yarg with apple chutney & crackers.

Beach dessert sharer - £9.95

Can’t make up your mind? Try our dessert mini platter, ideal for 2. Mini chocolate brownie, choc pot & waffle topped with mini beach bocca.