Could there be a better way to celebrate the first Sunday of summer with no school in the morning than to take a rib over to Isle of Wight for supper? My family and I were headed for The Hut which opened last year in Colwell Bay, on the island’s northwest coast. Resisting the urge to check out The Haven in Lymington Marina first (Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans has recently become a partner in the restaurant and we spotted his elegantly impressive California Spyder parked in the marina), we set off.
Adam, my stepson, was at the helm (always good to have someone in the family with a Master Yachtsman qualification if, like us, you live on the South Coast) but it was a slow start. You have to snail out of the Lymington River at 10 knots or below, which is fine for Ben Ainsley in his sailing yacht, not so good for us in our speed machine. But once out of that restriction area, we turned the knots up to 30 and bounced over to Colwell Bay in 15 minutes.
There, at the edge of the beach, is The Hut . It looks like– you’ve guessed it – a very large beach hut, its name emblazoned on its roof. The storms that battered the South Coast last winter flattened all the surrounding beach huts. They have since been resurrected and are now painted in stripes of ice-cream colours. The Hut, meanwhile, is chic in simple taupe, its wooden decks set with white tables and blue chairs, shaded by parasols.
Get our feet wet? Not us. A chap called Charlie came out in his tender to whisk us ashore and swiftly we were settled at our table for 7.
Moules marinère, lobster linguine, fillet steak and even a children’s menu were all a hit with our little tribe; the bottle of Pinot Grigio Rosé also slipped down rather well. There is that theory that food and wine always taste much better outdoors. Add a summer’s evening, looking out over the Solent with impressive Hurst castle in the distance, and I suspect that even cardboard would taste delicious. Nevertheless, I honestly believe that when we creep back to The Hut in the depths of October, that lobster linguine and Pinot Grigio will still be a pretty good match.
We didn’t stay long as even without school in the morning, bedtime loomed. But I can imagine the bliss of pitching up here on a summer afternoon, and spending hours just watching the world sail past. As for us, Charlie kindly dropped us back out to our rib and as the sun set over the Solent, we set off for home. Sometimes luxury is the simple things in life.
The Hut, Cowell Bay, Freshwater, Isle of Wight; 01983 898 637; firstname.lastname@example.org; 12:00-3:00pm; 6:00-9:30pm; food served all day on Sunday. Booking is advised during peak times. Rib hire from Solent Rib Charter in Lymington, www.solentribcharter.co.uk