For anyone dreaming of an off-the-beaten-track holiday in Cornwall, the Hidden Hut is a must visit. This remote wooden cafe is tucked away in a small, secluded cove on the south coast of Cornwall. To get there it’s best to take a stroll along the coast path towards Porthcurnick Beach. You’ll discover long communal benches lining the cliffs’ edge, each hidden away from the outside world.
Jemma Glass and Simon Stallard, the pair behind this magical place, simply started with a few impromptu barbecues. Through word of mouth popularity spiralled. They invested in huge paella pans to cater for the rising demand and simply asked people to buy tickets in advance. As such, the highly sought-after ‘Feast Nights’ were born.
So desirable is a night at The Hidden Hut that cagoule-clad guests turn up in the most inclement weather, but on this occasion we are lucky – Mother Nature has been kind and most people are dressed in pretty summer dresses, shorts and flip flops. The sun is scorching and we even have time for a dip in the sea before we eat. It’s a beautiful, postcard-perfect spot: body boarders and paddle boarders, dog walkers and sun worshippers, enjoying the day’s final rays. It is idyllic.
But it’s not just about the oh-so-secret location. The hut has built a reputation for top-notch grub too. Each Feast Night focuses on one dish; from wood roasted chicken, sticky ribs and crispy pork belly to River Fal shellfish, paella and Goan seafood curry, there’s always plenty to tempt the taste buds.
Tonight, the place is full of hungry meat junkies drooling over the promise of a gourmet burger. The warm air is heavy with the scent of barbecued meat and an eager crowd awaits their gourmet burgers, crispy onion rings and thin cut chips. The aromas are drifting across the sea air: wafts of savoury promise. Mmmm.
The casual, communal dining experience is part of the feast’s allure. Similar in style to a catered picnic, you bring along your own plates, cutlery and alcohol. We’ve also brought our own blankets, torches – and even two dogs. The relaxed, friendly atmosphere is the very thing that sets this place apart from other run-of-the-mill seaside cafes.
Finally, we are given the signal and – in true British fashion – the hordes of hardcore carnivores form an orderly queue: mouths watering, plates in hand. The Calenick Farm short horn beef burgers are served in brioche buns from local bakery ‘Da Bara’, with thick succulent bacon, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, gherkins and relish, oozing with Cornish cheddar cheese. I wistfully hope that I can conquer this beast of a burger.
As the sun sets and the air cools, the evening draws to a close. It’s easy to see why the crowds flock to this hidden treasure. Unpretentious, locally sourced, value for money and social. It’s exactly my kind of place. And the gourmet burgers? Completely devoured of course.
Sadie Phillips is a freelance blogger, copywriter and public relations specialist. Having grown up on the coast of Cornwall, now residing in Devon, Sadie loves food almost as much as she loves the Southwest. Find out more about her work here: https://twitter.com/SadiePhillips