A Kipper Cob From The Hut At Bamburgh, Northumberland
If the sand was that picture-perfect, powdery white stuff and there were palm trees swaying gently in a warm breeze, Bamburgh beach in Northumberland would be the best beach in the world. Fact. As it was, the sun was out, the breeze was gentle and warm (sea grasses swaying instead of palm trees) and the sand was pretty damn soft, so I was going to say that Bamburgh beach was a joint top with (insert your own favourite beach here)...
His Nibs and I have been coming to this piece of British paradise for many years now, and for yonks we have always managed to get parked easily, even in the height of tourist season, thanks to a little known spot that the Man Bird’s granddad told us about. That secret is now well and truly out in the open thanks to the addition of ‘The Hut’ in this car park at the bottom of the dunes!
We’d spotted this little treasure as we were planning our visits around the area and it’s always a risk visiting somewhere new – there’s no guarantee that you’ll like what they do, or that the food will be decent (!), so I was relieved when I saw that a friend of mine and her husband had visited a few days earlier and enjoyed a breakfast treat at The Hut. His Nibs’ reaction to the Kipper in a Bun though, was less than enthusiastic; “I suppose you’ll be having one of those honking things for your breakfast?” Too right fella, too right I will! And I did.
The Hut is exactly as it sounds, a hut (think a chopped down shipping container-type affair) that blends in nicely with its environment thanks to being painted in neutral colours and no smidge of gaudiness in sight. Because it’s fairly compact in size it doesn’t take up too many of the previous car parking spaces either which is massively appreciated by the loads of visitors to this gorgeous spot of the Northumbrian coast. Anyhow, I was up for sampling the Kipper in a Bun (renamed as a Kipper Cob by me) and The Man Bird ordered his perennial favourite, a Bacon Butty; pooch was going to have to be content with our scraps, but don’t worry, Grandma had given him Weetabix and milk before we left (yes, really!).
I’m pleased to say that they don’t skimp on fillings at The Hut; both our soft, floury bread cobs were stuffed to the brim. His Nibs had ketchup to go on his thick slices of Bacon and heartily tucked in, wiping up any rogue sauce that escaped. The bacon was nice and juicy in the mouth with a superb flavour, and there was a quartet of slices to enjoy so no chance of not tasting them! Within the folds of my cob was a whole Kipper (head and tail removed) and I got the full smell of it well before any of it hit my mouth. Kippers are the piscine equivalent of Marmite, I think: you either love them or hate them, there’s no middle ground. For me, I’ve always loved their strong fishy, smoky taste and its accompanying sweetness, but I can appreciate why they may not appeal to those who don’t fall for their charms. Although the oil from the kipper had soaked into the bread bun, I would’ve still liked a bit more ‘moistness’, perhaps in the form of a citrus-pimped mayonnaise that would provide a burst of sharpness at the same time. Some fresh herbs certainly would add appeal too, but then again you don’t want to detract from the simplicity of this breakfast delight either so a bit of experimentation is perhaps in the pipe-line?
When we went to get our breakfast treats we were the only customers at The Hut, but when we returned from our walk along the beach and went to get coffees there was a queue (a nice socially distanced one) snaking down the dunes. As well as the Kipper and Bacon cobs, The Hut team do Crab Sandwiches at lunchtime; I didn’t partake as we’d already got plans for lunch but I imagine they’d be delicious as the local crab is very scrummy.
The Hut is open daily form 9am-3pm during the ‘tourist’ season, so it will be closing soon until next year.