Cornwall LivingIssue #Spring 2018
A hidden gem
The Roseland peninsula is one of Cornwall’s hidden treasures and it is fitting then that one of the jewels in The Roseland’s foodie crown is The Hidden Hut – and it really is hidden.
We pull into the car park, on the edge of the village of Portscatho, which overlooks the bay and the golden sand of Porthcurnick beach that lies below. Both the beach and the hut are family and dog friendly. The bay is known for its safe, calm waters and dogs are allowed on the beach all day, all year round.
“I am more than happy with a coffee watching the boats sail across the bay.”
A short stroll takes us down a gentle path, where the heady scent of gorse and bracken fills the air, leading down to the beach. Suddenly the smell in the air changes as wafts of Indian spices and warm bread mingle with sweet patisserie and heady coffee notes. What could possibly be the cause of this wonderful olfactory assault?
And then it reveals itself, nestled at the back of the beach and literally on the edge of the cliff, The Hidden Hut. The small green shed sits in perfect harmony with its surroundings and as we arrive a small queue of expectant diners is forming at the hatch. Seating is on communal wooden tables in front of the hut, with a few smaller tables dotted here and there. Our children spot some giant beanbags laid out on a grassy bank to the side and immediately head-off to stake their claim on a couple.
We are more interested in the menu than the seating plan and so head to peruse the boards outside. Small, but perfectly formed The Hidden Hut offers a lunch menu that is hard to choose from, such are the delights on offer. I opt for the special of the day, a chicken and potato curry served with warmed flatbreads and couscous. The other half can’t resist a toasted focaccia filled with roast pork, coleslaw and pickles, while our children opt for the ubiquitous Cornish pasty. The Hidden Hut isn’t licensed but you are welcome to bring your own wine or beer, which many people around us had done. We opted for lashings of organic lemonade in true Famous Five style – after all we are on an adventure!
All of the food is served in recyclable paper or cardboard containers which I did wonder might detract from the taste of the food – how wrong I was. My curry was fragrant, the chicken succulent and the warm flatbread a welcome accompaniment. The pork and pickle filled focaccia was declared a similar triumph, full of flavour and incredibly juicy. And the pasties? Well, they were devoured in minutes. Small girl was unable to comment when asked for her opinion as she was too busy eating while number one son declared it: “The best pasty ever. Every time I take a bite I think yummy in my head,” and he should know, he’s sampled a lot of pasties!
I should add at this point that everything is homemade from cakes to pastries, pasties to flatbreads and the meals are prepared on massive burners in an outside kitchen from which the chefs create their culinary magic. As we sit with full bellies and happy hearts the gentle murmur of happy diners in convivial surroundings makes me realise that you don’t have to have silver cutlery and linen tablecloths in order to produce high quality food – in fact sat eating from a cardboard container overlooking the bay I resolve to eat alfresco more often, it seems to heighten the sense of taste.
Lunch is followed by a happy couple hours on the beach searching for cowries and basking in the sunshine. The lure of afternoon coffee and cake is too much and after a short stroll out along the cliff path we can’t help but return to sample the desserts. I don’t have a sweet tooth but my three compadres make up for it and devour a luscious carrot cake, a light as a feather lemon drizzle finished off by a slab of flapjack that is almost as big as small girl. I am more than happy with a coffee watching the boats sail across the bay.
All of the food at The Hidden Hut is available to take away and so in a bid not to end our foodie foray sooner than we have to we order humus, mackerel pate, flatbreads and olives to take home for our supper. All are delicious but the mackerel pate outstanding. We are always on the lookout for something just a little different and what we had happened upon here has instantly become one our foodie favourites. We can’t wait to return for one of The Hidden Hut’s feast nights when we shall be all grown up and take a bottle of something chilled. But shhhhhhh, don’t tell anyone we want to keep The Hidden Hut our little secret!
For more information visit www.hiddenhut.co.uk
"I am more than happy with a coffee watching the boats sail across the bay."