Muddy Eats: The Hut, Colwell Bay
Fresh grilled lobster, a beautiful sea view and loved by celebs. Why hello, The Hut in Colwell Bay.
This chic little beachside eatery is definitely a jewel in the Isle of Wight’s already bursting crown. The Hut, located on Cowell Bay, is a secluded seaside spot that’s been a big hit with casual diners and celebs since it opened in 2013. In fact, just a few days ago it hosted Michael Bublé, Tom Odell and Chris Evans, plus Binky Felstead (Made In Chelsea) is also a huge fan.
To get there you can park up at the nearby Colwell Bay carpark and walk down the slipway. They also have a little jitney service to get you there and alternatively, you can dock up your boat or even land your helicopter on one of five helipads.
Quite simply, its a little slice of seaside heaven. Overlooking the Solent you could be fooled into thinking this was somewhere on the Med rather than the Isle of Wight. With its fresh beachy paint job and Instagram-worthy huts dotted around, there’s a surfer-cool vibe to the establishment – very relaxed but you know you’re somewhere really quite special.
SCOFF & QUAFF
Being a beachside spot, seafood is BIG at The Hut. With gorgeous looking platters (pictured above) and fresh grilled lobster, there are plenty of pescatarian delights to be enjoyed. And, if you’re not so keen on fish there’s also meat and veggie options aplenty.
To start we had the mackerel fillet (pictured above) which came with beetroot, horseradish and beetroot purée (£8) and butterflied king prawns accompanied by IOW tomato fondue, garlic, chorizo, chilli crusty bread (£12.50). Everything was incredibly fresh, beautifully presented and the perfect size to enjoy while not spoiling your appetite.
For the main course, we opted for the Caesar Salad with chicken (above) and my dining partner chose Scallops (below) with samphire from the specials menu.
I’m not a big fan of Caesar dressing or anchovies, but I was able to make amendments to my order very easily. The chicken was cooked beautifully and it was the perfect main for a day by the seaside – not too heavy, but enough to ensure I was satisfied. For dessert, we had Eton Mess which was packed with strawberries and light and fluffy meringue. Definitely the ideal summer pudding.
For a tipple with your food, you can choose from one of the 12 staple cocktails (including the fabulous Yellow Mary made with IoW yellow tomatoes) plus a broad selection of white, red, rosé and fizz. Absolutely perfect for enjoying the view with a glass in hand.
OUT & ABOUT
If you manage to tear yourself away from the beachside chilling (no easy feat), The Needles are a mere 4 miles away from Colwell Bay itself. If you’ve come over from the mainland sans car, you can easily jump on the Needles Breezer bus which goes by every 25 minutes or so.
Alternatively, if you fancy scoping out some of the Island’s fab independent shops then 2 miles down the road (or 10 minutes on the No 7 bus if you’re on foot) is the village of Freshwater. Here you can find the Muddy Award-winning bookshop Mrs Middleton’s Shop as well as gorgeous gift shop Whistle & Hound, that stocks loads of amazing pieces from Island creatives.
Also nearby is the Farringford Estate, once home to Alfred Lord Tennyson, this fantastic historic building has some utterly beautiful gardens to wander around on a summers day.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
GOOD FOR: Laid back leisurely dining with friends and family. Whether you fancy a day trip by the sea or a swish lunch with your gal pals, the relaxed atmosphere and good food will always deliver.
NOT FOR: People looking for something super formal. This is flip flop casual dining. Also, it closes for the winter season (usually reopening around April) so don’t try and head here in December.
THE DAMAGE: ££ – Considering its celeb associations the food is very reasonably priced, though on the higher end for the Island itself. Most starters are around the £9 mark and mains start at £9 and go right up to £60 – so if you’re celebrating something special you can really push the boat out. Bottles of wine average around the £50 mark so depending on how laid-back you want to get you could end up spending a bit on booze.
The Hut, Colwell Chine Rd, Colwell Bay, Freshwater PO40 9NP. Tel: 01983 898637