The True Food Kitchen, Castlehaven

Lockdown has thrown shadows over the hospitality industry everywhere, but the Island is shining a few rays of light.

Who would have thought that the team at Ventnor's Tramezzini — a High Street restaurant that only a year ago we described as 'stunning' and 'outstanding' — would end up running a kiosk in a caravan site half a mile from the nearest road? An audacious move and one we knew we'd want to try.

After a lovely walk from the roadside parking on St Catherine's Road up above, we arrived at The True Food Kitchen at Castlehaven Beach Cafe to see an enclave of outdoor dining tables, suitably spaced out, all with delightful views across the English Channel. A caravan has been repurposed into a fairly sophisticated kitchen where we could see a team busy preparing food.

We could have chosen from panko local gurnard, seafood Thai green curry, Vegas steak and more. As it was still lunchtime by our tardy reckoning, we instead settled for the lighter daytime menu.

Castlehaven pretzel buns are sophisticated takes on the classic burger. Cat's refreshing bun came with mashed avocado, a slice of Emmental, salad and a miso aioli, all decorated with a soft, salty seaweed garnish.

Steamed bao buns are all the rage, and if you want a very good one, you'll find it here. Matt's pair of pillow-soft bao were loaded with a hot, sticky mess of pulled pork, cucumber and pickled apple, all laced with a sweet and salty hoi sin sauce.

Alongside we shared a poke bowl. This glorified Hawaiian side salad comes with impeccable seafood credentials, and ours was adorned with yuzu and ginger smoked salmon. A riot of super-fresh ingredients was underneath. Sushi rice, sesame seaweed, edamame beans and a tropical fruit salsa gave the bowl substance: a great accompaniment.

The True Food Kitchen at Castlehaven Beach Cafe is an outstanding location, used very effectively. With Covid-19 it is hard to predict what's happening next, but clearly this has to be a seasonal venue. Will this Castlehaven venture continue once warm summer evenings overlooking the sea are no longer available — which might not be long? We suggest you hurry down the little coast road to appreciate the delights of this splendid seafood-focused menu; friendly, informal service; and most magnificent views.

Matt and Cat's bill

Avocado pretzel bun £8.50

Pork steamed bao buns £9.50

Salmon poke bowl £14.50

Total: £32.50

RATING: Four stars: very good indeed; well worth seeking out.

Has this whetted your appetite? Read the full review HERE