Everyone likes to be nosy. The fascination with our fellow humans occupies a lot of our time. You’ve only got to look through the...

Everyone likes to be nosy. The fascination with our fellow humans occupies a lot of our time. You’ve only got to look through the TV listings to find programmes dedicated to satiating the needs of trunky-want-a-bun viewers.

Beach Hut Diner, Ventnor

You can spend half an hour watching people struggle with their hysterical toddlers, swapping wives with the rich and tasteless, or wasting licence-payers’ money buying valueless rubbish at car boot sales. The ultimate people watching programme, Big Brother is back on our screens for an interminable three months, throughout which you can watch nonentities laugh, cry, fight and pretend to have sex.

A cheaper and more wholesome alternative to all this goggle-eyed voyeurism, is to buy a nice cup of tea at a beach-side cafe and watch the beautiful people strolling by. Which is exactly what Cat and her friend did in Ventnor one blustery summer’s afternoon.

Ventnor Bay fresh crab sandwich

Ventnor Bay fresh crab sandwich

For those that live in this southerly seaside resort, every day must feel like a holiday. Or like living in Britain in the good old days. Cat and her friend found people to stop and chat with at every turn. The greengrocer proudly announced that he only sells vegetables in season, there are no plastic carrier bags littering the streets and policemen on bicycles dinged their bells in a friendly salute. After all of this old tyme town meandering, a cuppa was required and Cat and chum tottered down to the seafront on the recommendation of Suze of Suze Room.

Despite the cool breeze, it is compulsory to sit outside in the summer and Cat and pal were fortunate to find a vacant table at the Beach Hut Diner, one of the many eateries along Ventnor’s esplanade. Grabbing a menu, they settled in to see what food their tea should wash down.

The menus, unsurprisingly, offered typical cafe fare; breakfast, sarnies, jacket spuds and burgers. For those with a smaller appetite, there are kids and OAP menus too. Cat decided to go with the extremely locally-provenanced Ventnor Bay fresh crab sandwich and a cup of tea. Her companion ordered breakfast, which came with tea as standard.

Two piping mugs of the brown stuff were delivered followed shortly afterwards by the food. Cat, having broken her reptantia duck on the lobster tagliatelle at The Taverners, was keen to try crab. It did not disappoint. The sarnie’s generous filling of crustacean flesh was tangy and most pleasant. The bread was lovely and soft and a pleasant little side salad, crisps and segment of fresh lemon completed this satisfying lunch. The breakfast, declared ‘great’, was soon polished off.

And, as for people-watching, Cat and her friend were distracted from their food by the sight of a bridal party trying to retain their decorum whilst the shoreside breeze whipped up pashminas, dislodged carnation buttonholes and threatened to topple architectural hairdos. Even with the wind causing such chaos, those who want more anarchic nuptials can try ‘Totally Jodie Marsh: Who’ll Take Her Up The Aisle?‘…

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  • Katie Jones

    29th May 2011 #1 Author

    Lovely place to eat, drink and chill out with your mates after a long day of visiting the many sites around the Isle Of Wight.
    My friend and I have been to Ventnor a few times now and everytime we have visited The Beach Hut Diner We Both had one of their Seafood Platters and finished with one of their Yummy Homemade Cream Teas with a Big Mug of Hot Tea.
    The Staff are very friendly and helpful and we always get a nice welcome and smile everytime we visit.
    If you havn’t already make a point of popping in you won’t regret it. 🙂

    Reply

  • GJ

    9th May 2010 #2 Author

    If we catch an early ferry to the Island we often visit for one of their ‘Exceptional breakfasts’ as the notice outside says.

    We agree with the description!

    For example, if you don’t want the hash browns you will be offered an extra portion of another part of the breakfast menu. A very friendly and good quality place

    Reply

  • jacqueline Bennett

    12th March 2009 #3 Author

    We arrived on the Isle of Wight last August to stay with family and they highly recommended the ‘Beach Hut’ knowing that my husband and I were fish lovers.
    What a fantastic night. The place was buzzing and yet the owners took time to meet and greet us. Aside from the gorgeous fish soup starter followed by an even more gorgeous and succulent Thai style Seabass, the service and presentation was beyond our expectations and the price unbelievable! We are very much looking forward to our return this year.

    Reply

  • Tony and Charmaine

    11th August 2008 #4 Author

    The Friday/Saturday fish suppers are excellent. Great beach side location, wonderful food, very friendly service with a relaxing and unpretentious ambience and all at a very reasonable cost. Best of all you can bring in the wine of your choice. There is absolutely no catch other than the freshly caught fish. We will definitely return!

    Reply

  • Lucy and Patrick

    10th August 2008 #5 Author

    We have tried the Fri/Sat fish supper twice, and will be going back. With the recent parking restrictions on (parts of) the esplanade, it is lovely to have a meal outdoors on a nice evening close to the sea and actually able to see the waves (rather than the side of a parked 4×4 tank)! The various dishes we tried from the menu of local fresh fish only were all cooked to a high standard. Being able to bring your own bottle of favourite wine further enhances the experience.

    Reply

  • Meriel Mann

    25th July 2008 #6 Author

    On a bright, sunny morning we sometimes go to the cafe for a (veggie) breakfast. It’s a smashing way to start the day and the coffee’s good too! If you haven’t tried the fish supper on Friday or Saturday evenings you should. We have. The fish is fresh, local produce imaginatively cooked with a complimentary glass of wine. It’s excellent value and you can take your own wine – glasses provided!

    Reply

  • carole

    24th July 2008 #7 Author

    Thank you for your lovely comments, please come and try our ‘NEW FRESH FISH NIGHTS – throughout the summer months
    every Friday and Saturday 6.30 – 10pm

    Reply

  • John & Janet

    5th July 2008 #8 Author

    Hoping for a facsimile of the Crab sarnie of which Cat partook, we headed for the Beach Hut Diner on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Sadly, it was 3.30pm and they were shutting – grrumph! – off to the Spyglass – again.

    Reply

  • Shaun

    30th June 2008 #9 Author

    must have caught them on a good day!!!

    Reply