Nestled in the heart of Colwell Bay, overlooking The Solent, The Hut is the place to be on any summer’s day on The Isle of Wight. Since opening in 2013, the restaurant has become something of a cult destination for foodies, attracting guests from all over the country.
Many guests arrive from the mainland by private boat, while the restaurant also runs a drop-off and collection service from Yarmouth, transporting guests back and forth in a renovated Land Rover 101. There is even a helicopter landing pad close by.
Alfresco dining is taken to another level at The Hut, especially when seated for sunset. With panoramic views across the ocean, diners will be treated to a spectacular show as the sky changes from orange to crimson. It’s a magical hour, made even better by a cocktail or two.
The restaurant style is relaxed, with white wooden furniture, bleached wood decking and accents of blue adding to the beach vibes. You would be forgiven for thinking you were in Ibiza, with a live DJ and buzzing atmosphere. The dress code is casual, but many diners choose to dress up – so whatever your style, you will fit right in.
My guest and I were invited to sample the new menu that Head Chef Lucian Romocea created. Romocea spent time working at restaurants in Barcelona and brings a Catalan cooking style to the table, championing fish-based dishes and the freshest local produce.
While we browsed the menu, we sampled some Sundried Tomato Arancini in a moreish Arrabbiata Sauce. The cocktail list has some summery delights to offer, and I opted for a refreshing English Garden Twist with Fords Fin, Kwai Feh lychee, elderflower, mint, cucumber and apple juice, while my guest – designated driver for the evening – went for a Strawberry and Lime Muddle mocktail with fresh strawberries, limes, mint, syrups, soda and lemonade.
To start, we tried the Romocea’s Spanish inspired Gamas A La Cazuele, with delicious chorizo, piquillo pepper, and tomato ragu, served with slices of fresh baguette to dip; and the Smoked Beef Tataki, served perfectly pink with white onion, wasabi purée, garlic crisps and pickled shallots.
For mains, I can’t recommend the Lemon Sole enough. The tender fish fell apart and melted in the mouth like butter. It is served with sea herbs, Provencal potatoes and Beurre Noisette. My guest selected the show-stopping Grilled Lobster with garlic and herb butter, served with a garden salad and fries. We enjoyed the delicious food as the sun set over the water.
For vegetarians and vegans, The Hut offers a separate menu, including Vegan Scallops and Bang Bang Cauliflower.
There’s also an impressive wine menu, and the friendly staff are happy to make recommendations based on your likes.
To finish off a wonderful evening, we sampled the delicious Banoffee Pie with caramelised banana, peanuts and white chocolate cream, as well as a refreshing Rhubarb and Custard Tart with ginger poached Rhubarb and pistachios.
All that was left to do was to sit back, sip our drinks and watch the sun disappear beneath the horizon as the waves lapped gently against the seawall below.