The Hidden Hut, Portscatho, Cornwall
The Hidden Hut is not that hidden. Sitting above the curve of Porthcurnick Beach looking out across the bay, it is fairly easy spot. Not because of the actual hut which is sympathetically and aesthetically set in its National Trust surroundings. But because of the continued line of people that head to it throughout the day for pastries, lunch and afternoon cakes. It’s almost impossible to leave. If there was only one beach café I was allowed to go to it would be this one. It does all it should, from neat menu, to wood seating (sawn from a tree bought from the Tregothnan Estate) to easy beach and cliff walk access. Everything is made on site or locally (ingredients responsibly sourced) using an outdoor field kitchen and chefs who brave every weather. The menu is deliciously simple with a daily stew or curry, 2 or 3 different soups with generous cheese and crouton toppings and warm focaccia rolls, pasties , ice creams and piles of cakes. Simon Stallard and his partner, local girl Gemma Glass have taken a small snack hut and created a magical food destination. With an infectious enthusiasm and passion for what they do they are committed to good food, community and atmosphere. It’s hospitality in its truest form. In the summer months they throw Feast Nights, so popular that recently tickets sold out faster than the Beyonce O2 concert. Fact. Simon heads the kitchen and Gemma runs front of house, providing blankets and hot water bottles for guests during inclement feasts. You may have to turn up with your own booze, plates and cutlery (facilities are basic) but those plates will be piled high with lobster cooked over the custom made wood fired bbq. Or seafood paella. Or slow roasted spring lamb. A ten minute walk from the hut is their second project, Tatams Café. The local public convenience of Portscatho, renovated and turned into a coffee and pastries bar. Whilst the rest of the bustling village takes a while to wake up in the morning, the long slab of hewn wood overlooking the beach is full of perching locals and holidaymakers. People in wet suits, hands hugging mugs of coffee, warm ham and cheese croissant crumbs and yet another amazing sea view. There is a third project in the offing. I’m in.
Closed over winter but open at Christmas and New Year – check the website for details – www.hiddenhut.co.uk