Having heard about a beachside café restaurant and social networking space making reputational waves called Hugo Hub based in Bang Tao, Surin Beach Phuket; I went to go and see what goes on there. The three delightful young Thai female entrepreneur owners Jenna, Kristen, and Fern sat with me one sunny Saturday afternoon at Hugo Hub for a chat.
The three ladies all met some 17yrs ago. Jenna and Fern (both from Songkla) studied hospitality at university together in Phuket. They met Kristen (from Surat Thani) when she was a wedding and luxury events planner, and Jenna and Fern were working in 5-star hotels. The world health crisis hit in 2020 and all three found themselves jobless. It was when economies became more optimistic, that all three decided it was time to get a business going together.
“We found ourselves jobless and said, let’s do something together”.Kristen – Partner of Hugo Hub Café and Restaurant.
Kristen, Jenna, and Fern are all keen young ladies that clearly know what they want in life and are in control of that goal. They exuded this wonderful and at times infectious energy. From what I could see, they are the best of friends and would do anything for each other. They were bubbly and it didn’t take much for the three of them to erupt into roaring laughter the moment we all experienced something funny.
I asked the ladies how the idea for Hug Hub was born and Kristen said, “We found ourselves jobless and said, let’s do something together”. The three entrepreneurs used to enjoy working in cafes with their laptops as opposed to sitting at home, and they all enjoyed good food and drinks. The idea then came about to not only create their own relaxing workspace al fresco but to also create a hub if you like for other businesses to sell their products. The result was a very wide plot of land leading to the beach that has an eclectic range of food units ranging from an American diner grill, Thai food, Italian Pizza and Pasta, Mediterranean seafood, Spicy Mexican, and finally Japanese to include Sushi. You can order from any one of these outlets and the food is delivered to wherever you decide to sit in the Hub. “The one rule we have for new businesses wanting to sell food here at Hugo Hub is that it must be something that isn’t sold here already”. Fair point, I thought.
Fern told the Bowl how Hugo Hub puts on its own parties to include Friday and Saturday night entertainment that comes in the form of Island known resident house DJs fire shows. Once a month they hold an authentic Full Moon party with drinks served in buckets with straws and UV face paint. Fern said, “We also cater for private functions such as wedding rehearsals, actual weddings or receptions, birthday parties, and commercial product launches”. I was impressed.
I mentioned to Jenna that I’d seen market stalls and exhibitions held here on their Facebook page and asked what happens on those days. “We invite all our friends and visitors to come and set up a space and sell any produce they like for free. This is popular with those that want to sell items they’ve made or 2nd hand clothes, and with local wine distributors looking to promote their labels”. The days they hold these events are called “Wear Won Pai” which means “Wear 2nd Hand Clothes” and is Hugo Hubs way of doing something green for the environment.
Following our talk, I was invited by Jenna to try some food from her own Japanese food stall at the Hub called Wabi Sabi. Within minutes Jenna had produced a row of fried chicken dumplings for me to sample. They were nice and crunchy with soft-centered chicken stuffings.
A short while later, her boyfriend (called Ahdi) a trained Sushi Chef appeared and kindly prepared their signature Salmon roles. The highlight of this preparation was the flame cooking of the salmon and the addition of a secret sauce.
Once I arrived at the table, I was surprised to see that Jenna had also had a Mediterranean-style seafood platter prepared for me that looked mouth-watering. I tried the Sushi first and my mouth was not disappointed. I’ve not eaten cooked salmon on sushi before, however, it tasted great as did the secret sauce. I then moved on to the seafood platter. This fine plate contained prawns, muscles, squid, corn on the cob, and a nice piece of fish. All tasted delicious and allowed me to realize just how unique the offering is here. I had mentioned to the ladies in the interview that when I walked into the Hugo Hub area I felt like I was entering some secret Island. So relaxed, with great food, rustic cozy décor, and lots of great people who look genuinely pleased to serve you.
As the sun set resident DJ Ken arrived and played some welcoming Afro and Soft House that fit the scene. The volume never went anywhere near too loud, and people could talk to themselves. Once the sun went a troop of fire jugglers arrived to treat the guest to incredible displays of bravery and skill. I sat back and let my worries dissolve.
I managed to catch up with Fern as I left and thanked her for a great time. I said that for me this venue is like a village of cozy restaurants and bars all held underneath the one Hugo Hub umbrella. If you’re in the area of Bang Tao, Surin Beach, then you would not be disappointed with an evening spent here.
Thank you to Jenna, Kristin, Fern, and the staff at Hugo Hub for an awesome interview and evening.
To all supporters of the Farangbowl, thank you for being a great support!!!
Hugo Hub Café/Restaurant
Owner/Manager: Jenna, Kristen, and Fern
Address: Had Soi Had Surin 8 Choeng Thale, Thalang District, Phuket 83110
Call: 062 235 6492
Instagram ID: @hugohubphuket
Google maps: https://goo.gl/maps/Z8PYD4CTgRMyfkZ26
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