As some of you may know, my husband, Geoff and I love the little jazz band, FB Pocket Orchestra. Locally (for us anyway) they regularly play at Rosie’s Vineyard in Southsea and also at The Pavilion in Rowlands Castle (for afternoon tea), amongst lots of other places around the country.
They were to be playing at the East Beach Cafe in Littlehampton, West Sussex and it’s such an interesting looking building I suggested that we have a day in Brighton and then eat in the cafe in the evening. We booked accommodation at The Regency Rooms which was only a five minute walk away.
Storm Ciara had arrived by the time we set off for the cafe which is on the seafront but thankfully, even at high tide the water wasn’t too close so there wasn’t any danger of being swept away.
Outside the building really is something completely different. You can read more about it here. Inside it is white and is a little like an upside down penguin/polar bear enclosure at the zoo. To make it cosy they had some coloured lights which changed gradually throughout the whole of the evening.
All evening the staff were really very good, friendly and attentive. I did Veganuary (which is where you go vegan for January, I needed to lose some weight but needed a bit of a challenge too) and have kept it up, so far. On the menu there was only one vegan choice for the starter, main and dessert. Thankfully I liked them all.
Geoff had the chicken liver pate, onion chutney & toasted sourdough which he said was “very nice and better than average”.
The tomato, avocado, olive & walnut salad was delicious and very fresh. The tomatoes were lovely, so too were the olives both green and black which gave the dish lots of flavour.
There were several fish dishes to choose from but Geoff played it safe and went for the beer battered fish and chips. This came with a pea puree and tartare sauce. He said ‘the fish was fresh and the batter light and crispy. The chips were just about right’.
The vegan curry was very flavoursome although a little watery (perhaps from the rice not being drained fully? Although it wasn’t really a problem). Cauliflower, chickpeas, coconut, peas and rice, served with flatbread. It wasn’t too spicy, just enough to make me sniff a little.
Geoff decided against a dessert but as usual I couldn’t resist. The mixed fruit & pecan crumble isn’t normally what I’d order, it’s more Geoff’s kind of dessert but there weren’t any other vegan choices and to be honest, it was very good. The fruits below the crumble topping were piping hot. A little vegan custard/oat cream or ice cream would have made a great addition to it.
We enjoyed our evening and then had to battle against the wind back to our hotel.
We were lucky that the room we were staying in was at the back of the hotel, facing north and as the storm was approaching from the south/southwest, we didn’t hear it at all and had a really good nights sleep.
We had to check out by 10 so we chucked our stuff into the car which was parked just outside the hotel (for free), and decided to walk along the esplanade to the cafe again, which had just opened, for breakfast.
This time we were greeted by a different member of staff, a very nice young man who said we had a choice of tables and to take our pick.
The breakfast menu had more than one choice for vegans which was good so I went for my favourite, smashed avocado on toast and added mushrooms as an extra. They also had vegan butter!
After several minutes of taking photos of our breakfasts, I went to tuck in. Unfortunately the avocado was really inedible. It was incredibly stringy and by the time I took out all those bits there wasn’t much left, so I told the young man who apologised and quickly whisked the plate away to change it. Then the young lady who’d recognised us from the previous evening came along to apologise again and said it would be taken off of the bill and was being replaced. It was all done very professionally.
When it arrived the avo’ was much much better and I enjoyed my breakfast along with an excellent oat milk flat white made with beans from local roasters, Coffee Compass.
It was great being in the warmth whilst watching the people outside battling and struggling against the strong winds or being swept along and almost off their feet in the opposite direction.
We ordered another drink each, this time I went for a fresh mint tea as I’d spied one being taken to another table. I said to Geoff that it was shame they didn’t do cakes or pastries and was a bit unusual for a cafe not to have cake. We’d almost finished out drinks when the chap on the table next us was eating cake! “They have cake”! I said. Geoff didn’t want any, meanie genie, but I said I’m going up to pay and see what they have.
When you enter the cafe there’s a sign which says ‘please wait to be seated’ and as you don’t pass the counter we hadn’t seen the cakes on the way in. It’s table service plus when you pay (by card anyway) the card machine is brought to the table so again, there’s no need to go anywhere near the counter. As they were quite busy I couldn’t get the attention of the staff to ask for the bill so I went up to the counter and there were the cakes. Thankfully a chocolate vegan one. We share this and it was very tasty and fresh, much like a brownie.
All in all we very much liked the East Beach Cafe. I think what made it even better was the staff. As I mentioned, they were very attentive and friendly and didn’t make me feel as if I was a pain in the neck for complaining about the avocado, plus taking the dish off the bill was jolly good of them, I didn’t expect that.
Overall 7/10 or 8? Hmm…
Living life, loving cake.