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Muddy Eats: Lula, Hayle

Don't be fooled by the casual vibes at this beach-side shack - the setting may be laid back but the east coast American-style seafood and ribs pack a serious foodie punch.

THE LOWDOWN

New to the Cornish food scene this summer, Lula is the more casual little sister to Amelie’s in Porthleven serving up fresh Cornish seafood and ribs, east coast style, from a wooden shack on the beach at Hayle’s North Quay.

Owner Sam Sheffield-Dunstan has evolved her vision for Lula, which was already months in the planning before lockdown began, first offering take-away, then beach-side seating, and now mostly open-air table-service in line with current guidelines.

North Quay itself is still very much in development, so Lula is at the forefront of the evolution of this lovely quayside running along the side of Hayle Bar – that’s the little inlet off the side of the wider Saint Ives Bay. Walk around the corner from Lula, along Hayle Towans and you’ll find the open sea, with views across to Carbis Bay and beyond that, St Ives.

Open daily from 9.30am, tables are available for walks up only, or you can grab your food to go, and sit on the beach.

THE VIBE

Beach-side dining is the name of the game and it’s a pretty fine view across the Hayle Towans beach (above) from Hayle’s North Quay – that’s the church at Lelant, and the West Cornwall Golf Club you can see from your table, FYI.

Sit back and watch the beachgoers go by, as well as the kayakers, gig rowers and little boats (Lula is next to the slipway) so it also makes a good place for a pre or post walk/ active morning.

There’s a mix of seating, some tables and chairs, but for the best view you’ll want one of the lower tables at the front, which also have bean bags.

Festoon lighting and the actual sand floor all add to the laid-back vibes – which come into their own for the occasional evening feasts, where the food is cooked over the beach fire pit.

SCOFF & QUAFF

Local seafood is their speciality so we had to try Lula’s version of Sunday lunch – and the Steampot sharer was awesome (clams, prawns, mussels, crab claw, corn on the cob, served with fries, bread and dips) and easily fed two – my only tip is that you’ll want to order more fries (they’re delish and the portions on the smaller side for two sharing).

It’s definitely a get stuck in with your hands kind of place – we had forks but no plates, so it might not be your first date choice (and can we even do that in these Covid times?) but if you’re into food and seafood in particular, you’re going to love it.

We also tried out a couple of sides, including the spicy pickled slaw (delish and plentiful) and the crispy fish (which my son wolfed before I got a look in), both of which were served beautifully. I could have quite happily eaten any of the seafood, mind you, as it all sounded tempting, and we didn’t get as far as the ribs, but we also have to save something for our next visit.

We washed it down with local Cornish beer and then relaxed with a post-lunch coffee. Ice-cream was available for afters, along with a selection of sweet treats, but we were too full to partake (sadly).

THE MUDDY VERDICT

We visited on a glorious sunny afternoon, which obviously helped, so it was a joy to sit outside and eat beach side, sheltered from the wind with the white sand warm underfoot, even in autumn. On a rainy day, there are a few inside seats, but the beauty of Lula is the combo of great food, outside – particularly in these Covid times – so you’ll probably just want to wear a coat and get on with it.

Good For: Foodies, particularly those who love seafood, and east-coast USA style eating, as well as anyone who fancies a drink with a view. The evening feasts also sound awesome and Lula suits those who can’t (or don’t like to) commit to making a booking, as tables are available first-come, first-served.

Not For: Those who prefer to eat inside or off plates. Lula is literally on the beach, so dress accordingly (keep your heels for another time) or if you’re someone who likes your floors to be as solid as your ceilings you might be better opting for takeaway and eating at home.

The Damage: ££ – Good local seafood is never cheap, but the prices aren’t outrageous, sides are all £3-5. I’ve seen more expensive hot drinks across Cornwall, but they aren’t the cheapest either, basically it’s great value for the location.

Lula, Hayle Harbour, North Quay, Hayle, Cornwall, TR27 4DD

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