Slurping oysters a pebble’s skim from their bed, scoffing scallops as seagulls wheel overhead – everything tastes infinitely more delicious when you’re in shouting distance of the shore. Enjoy our insider’s guide to the best beachside dining
Ask foodies-in-the-know for their ultimate alfresco dining destination and a good number will, without doubt, point you to Simon Stallard’s remote Hidden Hut on the Roseland Peninsula. With tickets selling out in minutes, the hotly-anticipated feast nights see eager epicureans descend on sheltered Porthcurnick beach, cutlery-clad and wine bottles a-clinking, to watch the culinary magic go down as the team of talented chefs tend to steaming pans over wood fires.
First for freshness
Short of being chucked in the brine with your mouth open, there can be few places offering as fresh a catch as The Crab House Cafe in Dorset’s Wyke Regis. Sweet, salty and spankingly fresh oysters come from their own Portland beds a few minutes from the restaurant and crab is caught in local waters. For complete summertime rhapsody grab a spot on the patio overlooking Chesil Beach.
Top for a takeaway
Tan toppers and beach bums may love the long stretch of sand at Woolacombe in north Devon but come tea time, foodies-in-the-know will have already slipped away to a nearby sliver of sand known as Barricane Beach. As well as being a treasure trove of exotic shells washed ashore by the Gulf Stream, it’s a damn fine place for a Sri Lankan curry from the beach hut cafe. Take a blanket, a crate of beer and make a party of it – the sunsets can be exquisite.
Fun for four-legged friends
Labradors who like to lunch tend to rave about Cornwall’s Lusty Glaze Beach Bar and Restaurant. A big hit with the smart spaniel set, Woof Wednesdays are when the best of doggie society gather for a canine dinner (the £3 cost goes to St Francis Home For Animals) while owners chow down on burgers, steaks and fish and chips. Waiters in flip-flops and a family-friendly menu make it a delightfully relaxed destination for a long lazy lunch with your pooch.
Wicked spot for wave riders
Board riders racing the curl on the two-mile gleaming sweep of Watergate Bay can reward their efforts with lunch by the shore at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall. Sit by the picture windows to watch wave sliders harnessing the power of boards, breezes and breakers. Head chef Adam Banks’ nose-to-tail Mediterranean cooking style is perfect for an atmospheric supper where dishes like spider crab with crisp carta di musica bread and woodfired monkfish complement the splendid views.
Superb at sunset
Perched between rugged north Cornwall cliffs overlooking Porthtowan beach, there can be few places as magnificent as Blue to watch the sun slowly sliding behind the ocean. Grab a seat on the large terrace or ensconce yourself next to a bay window and view some of the most awesome sunsets in the county while devouring stone baked pizzas, briny local seafood or a Cornish beef burger.
Supreme for seafood
Platters piled high with shelly critters like crab, lobster and Porthilly oysters make Porthminster Beach Cafe a must for crustacean connoisseurs. Although it’s not just beauteous seafood that lures diners to St Ives’ glamorous restauranton- the-beach. Turquoise waves, glimmering white sand, a sunkissed terrace and a menu of Mediterranean and Asian-inspired dishes make it a sweet summertime spot.
Best for a beachy brekkie
Sitting on silver sands, amid squawking seagulls and pounding waves, Cornwall’s Gylly Beach Cafe is a magnificent spot for a bready brekkie: its neighbouring bakery supplies it with doughy delights like olive-laced focaccia and brioche buns. With views across to the Lizard Peninsula, the most coveted seats are on the terrace. A Cornwall-roasted Origin espresso and a full breakfast will set you up for a day of sandcastle building and swingball.
We caught a taste of The Hidden Hut's alfresco vibes when Simon Stallard shared his recipe for summer sardines with saffron potatoes and oregano dressing