20 of the UK’s best seaside food shacks
jeanniejeanniejeannie.co.uk BLOG Sunday 18th July 2021
20 of the UK’s best seaside food shacks
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
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TOP 20 of the UK’s best seaside food shacks
20 of the UK’s best seaside food shacks, beach huts and cafés
When the world’s leaders descended on Cornwall last month for the G7 summit, they’d landed in perhaps Britain’s foodiest county. With 41 Michelin stars to its name and countless chefs making use of the region’s world-class seafood and produce, there was plenty of choice to wow the politicians.
The event’s showpiece banquet, however, was catered not by a chef from one of the county’s many white-linen-and-silver-cutlery spots, but by the owner of a humble seaside shack, Simon Stallard of..
- The Hidden Hut near Truro: proof that some of Britain’s best The event’s showpiece banquet, however, was catered not by a chef from one of the county’s many white-linen-and-silver-cutlery spots, but by the owner of a humble seaside shack, Simon Stallard of the Hidden Hut near Truro: proof that some of Britain’s best cookery is taking place in informal sheds, trucks and converted boathouses around the country.
That combination of expertly executed food served up in a casual setting is what so many of us now seek – and, beside the seaside, these places allow us to feel the sand between our toes or dangle our legs from a harbour edge as we tuck into dinner.
The past year has, in some ways, been positive for many such establishments. According to the team at the estimable Seafood Shack in Ullapool, north Scotland, a surge in British tourists unable to travel abroad has boosted footfall. Since many places operate mostly, or even exclusively, as takeaways, they have often remained open when traditional restaurants stayed shut.
On your staycation this summer, then, why not make a beeline for one of the countless shacks, sheds and huts dotted along our coastline. Here, 20 of our favourite culinary coastal hotspots have been tipped by the Telegraph Food team and some of Britain’s top chefs – we’ll see you there!
- North Street Kitchen, Fowey, Cornwall
Tipped by Tomé Morrissy-Swan, Telegraph Food writer
“The most casual iteration of a small restaurant empire from London that has branched out into one of south Cornwall’s prettiest fishing villages. It may be informal (old boathouse; walk-ins only) but the food is anything but. Expect the freshest oysters, vaguely Mediterranean-inspired plates and freshly barbecued local seafood (plus the best jazzed-up fish finger sandwich around).”
55 North St, Fowey PL23 1DB; Fitzroy Cornwall; 01726 932934
- Shoals, Brixham, Devon
“A gem on the windswept rocks, many locals suggest this spot is a cut above the town’s more famous fish emporium. On a recent rainy visit, the French-ish cookery in this minuscule shack (book a table!) displayed serious technique. Sweet Torbay sole was simply adorned with butter, lemon and herbs; a skate wing was given the caper butter sauce treatment and had me picking at the bones.”
10 S W Coast Path, Brixham TQ5 9AF; Shoals Brixham; 01803 854874
- Hub Box, Pentewan, Cornwall
The Hub Box in Pentewan, Cornwall opens directly on to the beach – Lizzie Churchill
Tipped by Paul Ainsworth, chef-owner of Paul Ainsworth at No 6 and Caffè Rojano, Padstow.
“Hub Box is relaxed dining at its best. I love the metal trays, the delicious Philip Warren patties, crispy fries, great drinks and the rustic look. They champion produce from the South West and their burgers are truly top notch!”
Pentewan Sands Holiday Park, Pentewan, Saint Austell PL26 6BT; 01726 844189
- Barricane Beach Cafe, Woolacombe, Devon
Any seaside spot worth its salt has a chippy; it might also boast an oyster shack or ice cream van. But north Devon’s Barricane Café brings something new to the maritime canon: excellent Sri Lankan dishes, focusing on curry boxes with sambal and poppadoms. A welcome addition.
Woolacombe Rise, Woolacombe EX34 7AS; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Billy’s on the Beach, Chichester, West Sussex
Madeleine Howell at Billy’s on the Beach in Chichester, West Sussex, a café by day and a bistro by night – Andrew Crowley
“Local surfers know that at Bracklesham Bay and East Wittering in West Sussex they can catch good waves on the right day, and the best spot to enjoy this as a spectator is on the terrace of Billy’s, a beachfront café by day and bistro by night. Order fresh crevettes with Bloody Mary sauce, seafood platters with Selsey crab, and mini portions of fish and chips for the kids – followed by an indulgent sundae.”
Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham Bay, Chichester PO20 8JH; 01243 670373
7 The Beach Hut, Bembridge, Isle of Wight
“The Hut at Colwell Bay in the west has rightly gained a huge following, but this diminutive namesake on the quieter, far-eastern tip of the island is the locals’ secret. Discover the friendly kiosk along the coastal path to enjoy crab sandwiches and lobster platters at its picnic benches and enjoy uninterrupted sea views.”
Forelands Beach, Forelands Field Road, Bembridge PO35 5TR; isleofwightbeachcafe.co.uk; 01983 874270
- Chef’s choice: The Lobster Shack, Whitstable, Kent
The Lobster Shack in Whitstable, Kent – Fruits de mer: seafood straight from the fleet at the Lobster Shack in Whitstable, Kent. Tipped by Jack Stein, chef-director of the Rick Stein restaurants
“An amazing place, so close to the harbour and serving the freshest seafood straight from the boats. I went there on a very foodie stag do and it was so good we went back again over the weekend. The oysters and steamed lobster really stood out. So fresh.”
The East Quay, Whitstable Harbour, Whitstable CT5 1AB;The Lobster Shack; 01227 771923
- Mrs T’s Fish and Chips, Southwold, Suffolk
Mrs T’s cricket-bat sized hunks of fish and enormous portions of golden chips are ideal after a day spent on the beach. Tipped by Tomé Morrissy-Swan
“On the charming Southwold Harbour, Mrs T’s does some of the best fish and chips around. Served from an old boathouse, the almost cricket-bat sized hunks of fish and enormous portions of golden chips are ideal after a day spent on the beach – or at the pub just down the harbour. Outdoor seating only.”
Southwold Harbour, Blackshore, Southwold IP18 6TA; 01502 724709
- Ash Smoked Fishes, Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Tipped by Pip Sloan, Telegraph Food assistant editor.
“On an icy day, my boyfriend and I sat on Aldeburgh beach for one of the best lunches to date: two trays filled with cold-smoked prawns and home-made mayo, and a pick-and-mix of smoked mackerel, tuna, eel, pastrami-like salmon and tiny whole sprats. Everything is smoked and sold by the gram to take home or in taster platters for the beach.”
Crag Path, Aldeburgh IP15 5BT
- Cookies Crab Shop, Holt, Norfolk
Taste of history: Cookie’s Crab Shop in Norfolk has been serving seafood since 1956. Tipped by Madeleine Howell
“Those in the know head to this family-run seafood hang-out and takeaway overlooking Salthouse’s marshes and shingle beach. It’s been serving fresh local lobster, Cromer crab, marsh samphire and seafood platters, enjoyed with BYO booze, since 1956. Al-fresco seating has marsh views.”
The Green, Salthouse, Holt, Norfolk, NR25 7AJ; 01263 740352
- Bait at Beadnell, Northumberland
Bait at Beadnell is known for super-fresh seafood but also serves a stellar fry up
According to food writer Jane Lovett, who lives nearby, Bait at Beadnell is one of England’s best-kept secrets. This takeaway joint flogs mouthwatering specialities such as freshly caught local lobster with herb and garlic butter or a killer paella. The menu changes every night, but it’s always short and sweet. The nearby dunes are the perfect spot to hoover up the grub.
Beach Car Park, Beadnell, Chathill NE67 5EE; @baitatbeadnell
- The Fish Cottage, Sandsend, N Yorks
Sandsend is a pretty-as-a-picture village on the beach just north of Whitby, a town many cite as the spiritual home of fish and chips. The Fish Cottage offers a beautiful array of dishes, from the traditional to the experimental. Those who want to take their steaming parcels of wrapped fish (or tacos, or deep-fried oysters), to the beach are well catered for, too.
East Row, Sandsend, Whitby YO21 3SU; 01947 899342
- Potted Lobster, Bamburgh, Northumberland
Guests can tuck into freshly-caught seafood at The Potted Lobster, Bamburgh, with a view of the castle nearby. Potted Lobster. Tipped by Lucy Carr-Ellison, co-owner of Wild by Tart, London
“A very homely restaurant, not smart or chichi at all, in the heart of Bamburgh, with a view of the castle. It serves freshly caught seafood with no bells and whistles, and the staff are always friendly. They do a wonderful potted lobster, funnily enough.”
3 Lucker Road, Bamburgh NE69 7BS; The Potted Lobster; 01668 214088
- The Harbour Cafe, Elie, Fife
Chef Roberta Hall-McCarron praises The Harbour Cafe for its “beautifully simple” cooking.
“You couldn’t pick a more perfect setting to enjoy a lunch. The restaurant is completely open and you are right on the water. The food is beautifully simple; there is nowhere to hide with this type of cooking and it is so refreshing.”
Elie Harbour, Elie KY9 1DT; 07708 341298; The Harbour Cafe
- Lobster Shack, North Berwick, East Lothian
This quaint little hut serves the best seafood around. You’ll encounter the classics on its modest menu: fishcakes, half pints of prawns, fish and chips, dressed crabs and mussels mariniere. The star dish is the restaurant’s namesake: a grilled whole or half lobster, in a garlic and herb butter or chimichurri oil, with chips.
North Berwick Harbour, North Berwick EH41 4JL; 07910 620480; The Lobster Shack
- The Oyster Shed, Isle of Skye
Visitors to the Oyster Shed can eat the freshest lobster money can buy in one of the most atmospheric spots on earth. Tipped by Paul Leonard, head chef at the Forest Side, Grasmere
“My Scottish wife introduced me to the Oyster Shed, right beside the Talisker distillery. The finest, freshest lobster money can buy, cooked to order, dripping in garlic butter, eaten in one of the most atmospheric spots on earth. It’s utter heaven.”
Carbost Beag, Isle of Skye IV47 8SE; The Oyster Man
- Gower Seafood Hut, Swansea
Tipped by Barney Desmazery, BBC Good Food.
“You can keep your starched linen – I’m happiest eating by this modest horsebox. Pick from around 10 spankingly fresh catches-of-the-day, all about £5, including flaky plaice goujons, the full fritto misto (squid, prawns, sardines), cockle popcorn, crispy chilli prawns, or dressed crab if deep-fried isn’t your thing.”
Promenade Terrace, The Mumbles, Swansea SA3 4DS; Gowers Seafood Hut
- Cafe Mor, Nr Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire
Ship shape: Café Mor in Pembrokeshire, near Castlemartin. The mobile, solar-powered converted fishing boat on wheels may be temporarily out of action, but Café Môr’s excellent food is still on show at Freshwater West beach. It has wowed locals and holidaymakers for years. Everything they do, from crab baps or lobster rolls with seaweed butter to simple burgers, hits the mark.
Freshwater West Beach, Nr Castlemartin, Pembrokeshire SA71 5AH; 07422 535345
- Harry’s Shack, Portstewart, County Londonderry
“This cabin at the edge of Portstewart’s beautiful beach became a hot ticket the moment it opened. There’s fish aplenty – crab, mussels, lobster, hake with aioli, and whole black sole with herb butter.”
116 Strand Road, Portstewart BT55 7PG; facebook.com/ HarrysShack; for bookings, email@example.com
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Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. – Oprah Winfrey.
Happiness is…a food shacks, beach huts and cafés.
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A time to eat at The Beach Hut, Bembridge, Isle of Wight…A time to eat at The Oyster Shed, Isle of Skye.
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