On the one hand, paying £7.50 for a cardboard carton of soup and a paper bag of bread sounds quite ridiculous.
When you point out that this is at seaside shack with views to die for, it starts to make a little more sense.
And when you realise that this is at the Hidden Hut – a venue with its own following, regular TV appearances and a beautiful cookbook – it makes perfect sense.
The first thing to say about the Hidden Hut is that despite no signage or visible marketing, it’s anything but hidden. Over time, its reputation has grown enough to make details like advertising entirely unnecessary.
In fact, the mere mention of a trip to Cornwall is likely to lead to a recommendation to visit from those ‘in the know’.
But they’d be right.
The hut is perched above the sea at Porthcurnick Beach. This isn’t one of the county’s most famous beaches, nor given the competition, the most beautiful. But that’s all part of the charm.
The cafe looks primitive, which means it’s in keeping with the surroundings. A wooden hut and outdoor kitchen greet you, along with seating cut from logs.
The cafe sits on the coastal path, which means you bear left to walk the coast or, as most choose, filter right if you’re tempted by the smells or the queue of eager diners.
The menu is short and simple. That is to say the offerings are rustic and homely, rather than basic. They reflect the fact that the team are cooking outside in facilities that can be removed as necessitated by the weather or seasons.
Think pots of stew, warming soups, and famously fresh seafood served with hot hunks of bread and you’ll be along the right lines.
There’s a lovely range of cakes and pastries to tempt those with a sweet tooth, and all the usual hot and cold drinks to warm you up or cool you down as appropriate.
I went for a delicious homemade soup – mushroom and celeriac, topped with a Cornish blue cheese croutons. This was served with the aforementioned warm bread and this dunked into the thick, enveloping soup made for a happy chappy.
Charlotte plumped for a hot pulled pork ciabatta – though the name really is a disservice to what she was presented with. There wasn’t a hint of bbq sauce and the pork was thick and juicy. It was topped with fennel and red cabbage coleslaw, a salsa verde and wild rocket. The bread was light and fluffy with a crispy crust – a cloud on which the pork could rest! It was worth every one of the nine quid it cost.
We sat and ate our food overlooking the beach. Beneath us were a mix of brave swimmers, hardy dog walkers and many, many other happy diners.
Having finished our food, we recycled our dining plates and cups and headed off back up the hill, never once questioning the value for money of a meal, instead reflecting on a dining experience as good as any we had while visiting Cornwall.
Later this year, they’re planning to relaunch their popular feast nights where 80-100 people gather in the evening, whatever the weather, to dine on that night’s dish. Look out for these on social media. But in truth, by the time you hear it, they’ll be sold out.
That probably says it all.
All the info you need is at www.hiddenhut.co.uk. Or buy the cook book and try the recipes for yourself at home. That’s what I’ll be doing next.