The Hut | Freshwater (UK)

Simple yet well presented dishes.
Some are style over substance, other’s are a perfect fit with this beach-front restaurant!

The Hut is perched on the water’s edge at Colwell Bay in Freshwater (UK) on the Isle of Wight. Just a few minutes drive from the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth. Acquired in 2011 by brothers Matt and George Adams, The Hut is a laid-back, beach shack style restaurant, with a Mediterranean vibe. It’s superbly set among colourful beach huts and looks over the sea across The Solent to Hurst Castle.

On a summers day, it’s clear that The Hut is a very popular sea-side location with it’s panoramic views from the expansive terrace or under it’s retractable roofs upstairs, looking over of a yacht-filled Solent. A lot of diners arrive by boat and they’ll even collect you from your mooring in one of its ribs.

The Hut is a summer-only restaurant as they are only open between April and October. During the season they open 6 days a week and are closed on Monday. The nicely filled menu offers 3 “For The Table” nibbles (at £4.50-£5.50), 8 Starters (at £6.50-£10), 11 Mains (£14-£45) of which 5 Seafood, 6 Sides (£4.50-£5.50), 7 Desserts (at £3-£6.50) and a Cheese (at £10).

We had lunch last week on one of it’s last days before the winter closing. They seated us upstairs under the retractable roofs, right in the middle of a room with 9 tables. The sun was out, but it was a bit nippy outside and it felt chilly at first. Luckily it got better when more people arrived. Unfortunately all other guests brought their dogs and their young kids, so in no time we were surrounded by 6 dogs and 5 babies. Not sure why they didn’t seat us somewhere else as it felt somewhat awkward.

We made a selection from the menu, which we all shared between us.

Arancini (£5.50)

We started with the arancini, They were packed with wild mushrooms and a good amount of Grana Padano cheese, but could hardly find any rice. They shouldn’t be called arancini, but tasted very nice with a crunchy crust.

Gambas Pil Pil
Gambas Pil Pil (£9.50)

The shell-of prawns were cooked right and had a lovely flavour. The chorizo in there was quite mild, but a bit of chilli brought the necessary heat. A slice of warm crusty bread to dunk into the sauce was nice, but the tomato fondue was quite watery, which diluted the taste of it all. Would have liked it more the traditional way with oil rather than the tomatoes.

Chowder (£6.50)

The chowder was more a watery soup. Smoked haddock in there, which you couldn’t really taste because of the abundance of fresh coriander and raw spring onions overpowering the whole dish. A chowder needs to be creamy and fishy, which this dish wasn’t in the slightest. I could still taste those spring onions hours later, which was not pleasant!

Courgette Risotto
Courgette Risotto (£14.50)

Creamy courgette risotto with Grana Padano. A nice bit of lemon and mint giving freshness and peppery herbiness from the young watercress on top. A courgette flower tempura adding a lovely texture to the risotto, together with the slices of courgette. This is a very good dish!

Lobster Spaghetti
Lobster Spaghetti (Half £26.50)

I was glad we ordered the half portion of the lobster spaghetti, as it was still huge. A very nice lobster sauce, which was not too strong in flavour. But is was under seasoned with salt, which made it a bit bland. Confit tomatoes and courgette in there together with a good amount of lobster. Unfortunately they hadn’t cleaned the claw properly, so came across some cartilage.

Whole Plaice
Whole Plaice (£21)

The plaice was on the bone and had a good cuisson. It tasted great, like fresh from the sea. A bit heavy on the salt, which was enhanced by the caper butter. The salad was simple with rocket leaves, tomato, balsamic and cheese flakes. We changed the normal fries with Aspen fries (£1 Supplement), which are truffle and Parmesan fries. They were okay, but triple cooked would have been better!

Alaska Cone
Alaska Cone (£5)

An ice cream cone filled with raspberry coulis in the bottom, topped with vanilla ice cream and finished with a big layer of Italian merengue. Like the presentation and taste was good. Only difficult to get to the raspberry coulis and eat everything together, which was the best part. A lovely “baked Alaska” in a cone.

Cinnamon Apple Crumble
Cinnamon Apple Crumble (£6.50)

And finally a good crumble with a chunky flavoursome apple. Cinnamon adding a comforting flavour. Crème Anglaise had a good taste, but was quite thin.

The young staff are keen and friendly. A mix of seasoned waiters and less experienced part-time helpers. Which you kind of expect in a restaurant like this. It was fine, however, call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like to be served by someone with a nose ring.

An enjoyable lunch, with simple yet well presented dishes. Some are style over substance, like the chowder and the prawns in tomato fondue. Other’s are very nice and are a perfect fit with this beach-front restaurant, like the courgette risotto, the plaice and the Alaska cone.

If we visit the Isle of Wight again in the summer, we probably will be back. Having lunch in the sun outside on the terrace, while looking out over the beach and water is just very appealing. And The Hut is west-facing, so it makes a great spot for an evening drink!