Helen was having a couple of days in Dublin, meeting up with some friends she met whilst travelling in Australia 4 years ago. After dropping her off at Gatwick Airport for her flight – which she caught by the skin of her teeth, as usual – my husband Geoff and I thought we’d pop into the pretty little West Sussex town of Arundel for a cake and a coffee. I remember coming here years ago with my parents. Back then they had a wonderful – I thought – museum full of stuffed animals such as rats playing cricket, a 2 headed cat, rabbits in school and a duckling with 5 wings and lots more by Walter Potter. Unfortunately it is no longer there but I did visit the travelling Museum of Everything in London a couple of years ago which had a few similar displays.
Anyway, that has nothing to do with cake, I’m just reminiscing.
Whenever we go to Arundel we always have a rock cake at 16h Century tearoom’s, Belinda’s in Tarrant Street.
Their rock cakes are served slightly warm with a knob of butter. There is a way to eat this without making a mess as the cakes are quite crumbly. It’s best to break pieces off with your fingers, then spread a little butter onto that piece before eating it. My husband used to make the mistake of cutting the cake with the knife but he just made such a mess doing it that way. He has now learnt how to eat it correctly. The cakes have apricot pieces, raisins and flaked almonds inside and dusted on top with a little castor sugar. Without the butter they would be a little dry but still very nice indeed. They have many other cakes on display to tempt you and all are home-made. They also serve lunches and afternoon teas. They sell their own jams and chutneys too.
Inside is furnished with oak tables and chairs, some oak settles, horse brasses, a log fire and beams on the ceiling. Very old-fashioned ‘English Tearoom’ decor.
Outside is a nice little sheltered paved garden with flowers in tubs and umbrellas to shield you from the sun as it is quite a sun trap. There are always a few little sparrows around picking up the crumbs from the ground.
Another favourite place for us in Arundel is just along the street. Spark’s Yard sells something ‘just that little bit different’ such as handbags, cards, baby gifts, jewellery etc., Upstairs they have some ornaments for the garden and an area where they sell all sorts of cooking utensils, Alessi and Emma Bridgewater are among the brand names, cookery books and a few American food items such as Reese’s King Buttercups and Baby Ruth Bar – Helen would probably like them as I know she likes Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as she reviewed them here. They also have a little shop down by the river and online.
On the same floor is a coffee bar, modern in decor so completely different from Belinda’s. There are two or three tables but we like to sit up at the counter on the high stools and look at the flat screen television hanging on the wall which usually is on the news channel – with subtitles so it’s not drowning out our conversation. They have a few pastries, cakes such as flap jacks and brownies and soup of the day. All sorts of different coffees and teas, milkshakes and soft drinks. I noticed they also sold affogato which is becoming more and more popular on menus and I love this but I had already ordered before seeing it.
I decided on a chocolate brownie as it looked quite gooey on the inside, and indeed it was. It was just as a brownie should be. Dark chocolate, crisp on the top and the inside was truly gooey! One of the best I’ve had since trying Baked & Boxed. (Have a look at our review).
I must tell you that we had gone for a walk around the town and alongside the river in-between visiting both of these eateries. I’m not quite that greedy
Arundel is a lovely place to visit. It has the River Arun where you can take a scenic walk or hire a rowing boat. The Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust is also there, although I have never visited it. The castle is fairly expensive but worth a visit especially when the weather is nice as they have some lovely gardens. Inside is very interesting too. In the centre of the village are some shops, one large delicatessen we went into – which shall remain nameless but begins with a ‘P’ – sold us some very hard (stale) walnut & rye bread. Luckily we were eating it for supper with soup to dip it into. Very disappointing.
Living life, loving cake