“The motor’s off a Stannah stairlift” offers the friendly guy poking more logs into the halved oil drums. “We’ve welded on a fan” he goes on, “it’s ok for a couple of hours without overheating”! We marvel at the sheer brilliance of the machine. A contraption built of necessity. If you had to roast chickens for fifty or so people on a Cornish cliff top, you’d build a machine like this. Turning fast enough that the wood fire underneath licks but doesn’t char the regiments of expertly prepped birds, this thing is a work of beauty.
We arrived early enough to watch this spectacle begin and the aroma tantalised for a good few hours while we messed around on the beach. Me, Tom and Lamorna took Tom’s surf board into the sea. There wasn’t a wave in sight really but it’s amazing how you can push a seven year old into a tiny ripple, no more than a 6 inch bump and they can travel 30 feet with it. A great way to build up the appetite in readiness of an open air banquet. Next we got dried off (momentarily) before the kids got straight in the river, where they spent most of the evening creating dams and gullies to redirect the flow of the stream.
All morning we’d watched heavy showers of rain regularly wash the windows and we wondered whether our night at The Hidden Hut would be a washout? By teatime it was clear and a beautiful late May evening developed. Perfect for the wedding reception taking place at the nearby Rosevine Hotel just up the hill (the bride and groom walked across the beach to a ripple of spontaneous applause from the mad hutters). Importantly for us, perfect for a feast with friends! This time at The Hut we found ourselves in great company with lovely friends Jem and Ellis who’d been kind enough to share their haul of prized tickets with us and more friends Claire and Tom. As anyone whose tried to get tickets will know, they are so desirable, they seem to sell out a couple of seconds before they are launched! …and well, if you need to log in or type a password then just forget it. These things are like the Golden Tickets from Mr Wonka himself!
…and well, if you need to log in or type a password then just forget it.
Between us, we brought along our five kids and, togged up in warm gear, equipped with our own plates and booze we got settled in for the evening.
The team of chefs who run these feast nights have it down to a fine art with the food all arriving in abundance with more than enough to bust the gutsiest of guts. Half a wood roasted chicken each with a delicious salad, rustic fries and buckets of garlic mayo made for one of the best barbecues you’ll find! The food gets a massive tick and even a gold star from me. I think they are clever, there’s a simplicity to the food while being ambitious and theatrical at the same time and really just darn tasty. This is a feast I recommend!
It’s a very British thing too and perhaps a very Cornish thing. I don’t mean Alfresco dining of course, I mean the whole performance of a Hidden Hut Feast Night. People trekking across a Cornish clifftop, wrapped up in their overcoats with their best camping cutlery in hand, before forming a disorderly queue for a barbecue washed down with lashings of fizzy wine and beer. It’s very Last Night of the Proms! Very Land of Hope And Glory! …and very Kernow Bys Vyken!
It’s very Last Night of the Proms! Very Land of Hope And Glory!
We are lucky to have these events locally (a twenty or so minute drive from Truro) and while there are tons of copycat happenings springing up all over the place, The Hidden Hut Feast Night is one of the originals and in my opinion will always be one of the best.
Thank you Jem and Ellis for taking us – we loved it!