Menu Close
Book now Close
  • Choose your booking
  • Stay
  • Zacry's
  • The Beach Hut
  • The Living Space
  • Swim & Dine
  • Treatments
  • Surf | Yoga | HIIT
  • Gift cards

Book a room

Book a table in Zacry's

Book a table in The Beach Hut

Book a table in The Living Space

Includes use of Swim Club before dinner in Zacry's

Book a treatment

Book a surf, yoga or HIIT lesson

Buy a gift card

Gift cards

Clara Jonas: Appetite for art

As you wind down the hill towards Watergate Bay, a bold collage of rainbow colours pops into view. Edge closer, and you’ll see that this colourful mural is painted on the sides of a cluster of converted shipping containers, serving up delicious street food by the sea.  

Local illustrator, graphic designer, and surfer Clara Jonas is the artist behind the mural. Hailing from north Cornwall, she finds endless inspiration in the ebb and flow of the ocean, folklore, mythology and the natural world.

While the beach food chefs stoke their wood-fired ovens and serve their autumn menus (Napoletana-style pizzas, Padron peppers, comforting slow-cooked stews, and even woodfired cookies), we talked to Clara about painting outdoors, post-surf food, and her perfect beach day…

What was the inspiration for your mural design?

It needed to feel bold and eye-catching from the road – but also simple enough to work well on the corrugated container face. Lots of geometric and more organised shapes were key, as well as larger details like the mermaid and merman with their pizzas. 

The merman was actually an unused logo for Nuvola Pizza in the containers, which I really liked and wanted to take further – so the design grew around him. There are lots of abstract sea, sun, and palm cues in there too, reflecting the bright summery mood of the location. 

What was it like painting it on site? 

It was amazing, but also a real challenge. It's the largest artwork I've done, on a pretty formidable surface, and a tricky location with many different variables to consider. The proximity to the road and the lack of stable ground to get to some of the higher areas were a little intimidating, and there were some slightly dubious ladder setups on occasion!

The corrugated surface meant scaling up the design – and maintaining its appearance from all angles was quite hard too. But, despite all these challenges, it was a joy to bring together. Being outside all day, creating with my hands, away from my laptop, and having to adapt to the environment was all really exciting. I also was lucky enough to have some wonderful helpers for practical and moral support.

As I was painting it right in the middle of a surfing thoroughfare, there were always lots of people I knew checking in and giving a wave or a toot. Being up the ladder was definitely a conversation starter! 

Read moreRead less

How does it feel seeing your artwork in its coastal home at Watergate Bay? 

It does make me laugh whenever I see it, thinking back to all those spring days covered in paint. But it's so lovely seeing it as part of the scene down in Watergate, contributing to the atmosphere and feel of the place. 

It's also great that so many people will see my work – albeit slightly blinded by its bright colours as they circle the corner going into Watergate!

Being outside all day, creating with my hands, away from my laptop, and having to adapt to the environment was all really exciting.

— Clara Jonas
Beach food - Pizza - Clara Jonas artwork

What's your favourite thing to eat from the beach food containers?

The pizza, for sure! It's so, so good: fresh, simple, quality ingredients and always such a lovely veggie flavour. It's proper pizza and the perfect post-surf dinner. I have to admit that many pizzas were consumed during the creation of the mural...

What’s your take on the relationship between food and surfing?

When there's a good run of swell during the winter, my boyfriend and I like to cook nourishing food that we know will hit the spot and fill us up after a long session. So, big portions of simple, veggie dishes that really warm and satisfy. 

It's such a joy eating after surfing. When you've been in the sea a long time, it's such an intense hunger that food tastes incredible. For me, the feeling of having a delicious evening meal after some intense exercise is so good; it really relaxes my body and rewards the hard work it has just done. I love that polarity between feeling really light, energised, and active and then relaxing into a warming, delicious meal. 

Clara Jonas Surfing Sunset Watergate Bay

What do you like to eat before and after surfing? 

I try to avoid eating too much before surfing as there's nothing worse than your body trying to digest whilst you paddle against waves and currents. But afterwards, especially after a long session, there's always a serious feed – usually curries and stir fries centred around lots of herbs and a real mix of veggies, with a delicious sauce to top it off. 

My perfect meal after a day of surfing is probably a Pad Thai. I have my signature one with a really delicious peanut butter, lime and ginger sauce. Or if I’m out and about, a pizza for sure. Super cheesy, salty and delicious. There's nothing better. 

Watch Clara surf and sketch

Do you enjoy cooking? 

Yes and no, to be honest. When life feels busy and work is demanding, cooking can fall by the wayside. But I do always try to make sure the quality of the food we eat is good, even if it isn't particularly creative. The organic veggie box I get helps me consume as many nutrients as possible. 

When life slows down and I have some time, I really enjoy cooking and trying more complex recipes to mix it up from the ones I have on constant rotation. 

Being in the water builds a certain type of appetite which I can never work up on land

Beach Food Picnic Clara Jonas Artwork

What's your favourite food to eat with family and friends on the beach?

My family love a well-curated picnic of good bread, cheese, tomatoes, olives and hummus: simple but delicious. We try to get deli and bakery goods, so the quality is lovely, and it always feels so easy to take to the coast in a bag and snack on all day. 

Besides surfing, what are your favourite ways to work up an appetite on the coast?

Swimming, always. Being in the water builds a certain type of appetite which I can never work up on land (maybe it's the salt?!). After immersion in salt water, I am definitely always keen to munch something. 

If you could curate your favourite day of surfing and good food, where would it be and what's on the menu?

It would definitely start with some sort of coffee and pastry in the morning sun; that's one of my favourite things to do (it feels very European). And then lots of water time to build up a lunch appetite. 

I like to eat quite lightly throughout the day and then have a larger dinner in the evening to send me off to sleep. Or just merge breakfast and lunch into one! For a lunchy bite, Basket in Newquay is always super lovely for delicious sandwiches and easy salads. 

On this perfect day of surf, I imagine I’d be in the sea again in the afternoon. So then I’d love to head St Ives way for the delicious small plates restaurant Silco, which is quite playful too – they manage to make burrata and curry work together. Or up to Temple in Bude, which is a firm favourite. If I'm feeling super hungry and lazy, a takeaway from Babu in Newquay is insane; the most heavenly kebabs and potato nuggets. Cornwall has some seriously lovely contemporary restaurant/ takeaway options, and it feels like more and more are springing up – so I look forward to having even more choice!

Follow @clara.m.jonas on Instagram

Visit Clara Jonas Creative

Hungry for beach life? Browse our autumn Beach Food offer here. Open seven days a week, 12-7pm, weather dependent.

Follow @harbour_beachbar on Instagram

Explore beach food

Discover more

Be the first to know

We'd love to keep in touch and send you the latest news, events, competitions and offers from the Bay. Sign up to receive our e-newsletter.