*** Fresh fair trade coffee
*** Serving the best bacon sandwich in town
*** Dog friendly
*** Famous for flapjack
Some very bold claims for a café to make and being a new girl in town, so who was I to argue?… In I popped to find out for myself!
Whilst walking along a chilly Norfolk seafront recently, I trotted past a sign that stated these claims, but the building itself made me do something that had me kicking myself all the way home after ACTUALLY going inside. Now, I give you permission to judge me, I truly judged myself after this visit as I was annoyed at myself for doing what I did at the very start.
I walked straight past and MOCKED this establishment.
But why did I mock it?
Because to me it looked like all the other traditional seaside and coastal gaffs that I used to frequent as a child, you know the ones, those with styrofoam trays half filled with flaccid chips and disappointing mock ups of dripping “Mr Whippy” ice creams with chewy, stale cones.
So I walked straight past, amused at this venue for being as bold as to state these noble claims, when all it would be is a disappointment in my mind. In fact my walking partner also mocked. We mocked together – how could this café be so cheeky as to make these sort of statements other than to be “desperate” for our custom?!
HOW WRONG WE WERE. How stupidly wrong we were. I’m making a point of this, as it made me realise my own personal snobbery when it comes to food.
By the time we headed back down from our cliff top route, it had turned very cold in the head wind, I hadn’t had my token hot chocolate by the sea (as is a custom of mine when holidaying) and the words “famous for flapjack” were ringing in my ears. Bugger it, we climbed the steps and took over a stunning sea view table, complete with binoculars to check out the beautiful scenery.
Ok, so this table was awesome, the chilled out chap behind the counter pointed to the simple menu laid out above us on asking (he reminded me of a shaven haired “Fonz”), with some recognisable claims between some newer and equally impressive sounding “trumpet blowing” treats. There were choices of jacket potato or melts with salads, nachos, sardines on ciabatta, even homemade hummus for a savoury bite.
On inspection of the flapjack, I was met with the biggest wedges of buttery, oaty goodness that I have ever seen and not just a plain wedge of ‘jack, oh no, there was a choice of apricot, cherry & ginger, date, mixed berry, fig, cherry & coconut, rhubarb and I believe I even saw there was a Bombay mix!
I decided that with the waft of delicious smelling bacon in the air, I was going for their “best bacon sandwich in town” at £4, which came in a ciabatta and served with ketchup. It was meaty bacon, hardly any fat and I couldn’t finish it all as it was such a large sarnie, most likely the best in town!
My partner in “judgement” crime went for the tuna and red onion melt with a red melted cheese and salad which was equally as generous in portion size and it genuinely satisfied his “man hunger”.
We didn’t stop there, after noting the extensive “guilty pleasures” hot chocolate menu… a classic mug simply wasn’t indulgent enough for my walking partner, but the Double Fudgetastic with Cadbury’s Fudge bars and marshmallows with cream was just the sweet (and sickly) ticket! Yes, it was a bit messy in looks by the time I had carried it back over to my table, the cream looked like molten lava dripping down the mug, but he said that it tasted great and that’s all that matters, baby!
Where as I could simply handle a strong cup of tea after my meat feast and my flapjack of choice turned into a brick of apricot flavoured naughtiness, wrapped in a paper bag to nibble at home later.
The Funky Mackerel isn’t a huge place, in fact it’s fairly small, with some outdoor seating, but this makes it a cosy place to curl up on a cold day. It’s dog friendly too, which had us noting a few pleading eyes around us and a few wet noses up in the air salivating as much as we were as the food was being freshly cooked and prepared… This photo says it all ; )
I always find dog friendly venues are genuinely friendly, this place even home bakes it’s own dog treats to take away, of which I did for my own pooch as a souvenir (yes, I am a truly a crazy dog lady)! In fact, he genuinely loved these and chewed on them, rather than just swallowing them whole as he tends to do… a real nod to the chef from my fuzzy fiend ; )
In the corner of the café is one last smile-inducing characteristic and that is “The Rummage Room”, nestled through a little alcove are tables and shelves filled with clothes, vintage china and jewellery, gadgets and toys of all kinds. It’s like your very own private (and mini) vintage fair right at your fingertips – I could have spent hours in here if I had the time.
They also had a little sign hanging above our sea view table that simply said; ” If you sleep on it – make it, If you spill it – wipe it up, If you wear it – hang it up, If you drop it – pick it up, If you eat out of it – wash it up, If it rings – answer it”. I loved this, perhaps more “house rules” and manners can be learnt by such signs after a recent post I wrote on coffee shop etiquette – a few of those made me chuckle!
I am truly ashamed of myself for judging this AWESOME little place simply on how it looked from the outside, I think I’ve been surrounded by some lovely places in my own county and as a result have been spoilt and lost my sense of adventure when it comes to trying out brand new places of late – there’s some true snobbery bounding around lately about coffee shops, tearooms, restaurants and everything in between.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a trendy restaurant or afternoon tea retreat naturally, but I urge anybody reading this to think of that one place you have either mocked, brushed to the side, chosen not to go on the “say so” of someone else, or for whatever reason it may be before ever walking through the door and actually trying it for YOURSELF. This has really taught me a lesson…books and covers and all that jazz…
Try it. Just once. And let me know WHY you judged your chosen venue vs WHAT you actually found in a comment below this blog, I would be VERY interested to hear your stories too!
And if you are in Norfolk, I suggest that you to check out The Funky Mackerel Café – you won’t be sorry!