When I decided to run a series of feel-good posts for January I felt that I couldn’t miss out a cafe recommendations post. My friend Jade, of Nelson’s Coffee fame, has written a beautiful piece on her favourite spots in Sussex. So kick back with a steaming cup of tea on this grey Saturday afternoon and enjoy – this one’s a real treat!
Ah January …
The month of promise, stretched overdrafts and drizzly grey days spent panicking about the year ahead. What mischief will I get up to in 2018? Will I nab that promotion, guy, or actually stick to Veganary? January for me personally is a time of manifestation: I tend not to create unrealistic targets, but instead envision realistically what I want to do, get done, and complete in the year ahead.
All of these hippy dippy, but important self-dates with my hopes and dreams usually take place in a coffee shop. Over the years coffee shops and I have embarked on a serious love affair, I take pride in discovering the hidden gems tucked away in East Sussex.
There is a deep satisfaction with finding a magical cove where you can type away to your hearts content, full of buttery croissants, never feeling like you’ve overstayed your welcome or looked a bit too pretentious.
I genuinely remember bumping into a friend from school and her saying how much she enjoyed my ‘café reviews and recommendations’ posted on my Instagram. “Is this your job?”. Confused and slightly embarrassed, I laughed it off but thought about it seriously on my way home. Indeed, these posts, what I thought were harmless little snippets, weren’t a form of either income or employment, but if I could share and shine a spotlight on these secret spots of heaven, then why not?
And over the course of these following paragraphs, that’s exactly what I tend to do.
Nelsons Coffee Co. -Eastbourne
Perhaps slightly biased, but long before I worked at Nelsons, I would spend many a coffee date with friends, myself, beau here. The reason I kept coming back, and would eventually manage Nelsons, was the welcoming atmosphere which was created by the homely interior, friendly staff, and delicious coffee. Up until Nelsons, I was never really ‘into’ coffee, I’d order a vanilla latte from chain coffee shops never thinking to dip into speciality and discover that actually coffee didn’t have to be bland and boring, it could be rich, intense, flavourful. Over my visits, I shyly plucked up the courage to discover coffee, asking questions here and there which were always welcomed by staff. Over the years Nelsons have built up their community, offering a full breakfast and brunch menu, as well as an exciting expansion set for 2018. What I loved at Nelsons, and still do working there, is that it doesn’t matter if you’re a coffee connoisseur enquiring about this month’s guest bean, or a college student in need of a hot chocolate, all are welcomed at Nelsons. If visiting, I highly recommended a bottomless filter to set you up for the day (try it sans milk, it’s incredibly light and fruity) and a smashed avocado with a side of house beans, boom.
Flint owl bakery -Lewes
Nestled in the main high street or Lewes, you’ve probably marched past it not even aware of the exquisite baked delights that await you inside, or the enchanting outside garden that could easily accommodate room for fifty plus hungry souls. My god I cannot tell you how much I adore freshly baked goods. From hearty slabs of Victoria sponge, oozing with buttercream and Sussex’s own strawberry jam, to neat little slices of hazelnut pastry heaven. Standing in Flint Owl evokes a feeling I would imagine Charlie felt in Willy Wonka’s kingdom of all that is sweet and mouth wateringly divine. Whether you’re after lunch or a spot of afternoon delight, Flint Owl satisfies that deep hunger which can only be satiated with bread baked goods rich in decadent gluten delight.
A firm favourite of mine, one I hold dear and oddly get slightly possessive over if I hear or see anyone talking about. Pelicano is a haven of knock your socks off coffee with cake slices heavy enough to break a window. A cool kid favourite, you’ll likely see Brighton famed characters animatedly talking with dates, hurriedly writing down notes in their bashed-up moleskins sipping on black coffee that reflects the achingly hip dark interior.
With a substantial cake offering (think cakes echoing THAT scene in Matilda) Pelicano is the ideal haunt if you’re after a cosy nook to get some work done or simply people watch for a few hours. Regardless of the changing seasons, the suntrap garden makes it an ideal summer spot, with the intimate table layout make it a festive treat in the cold winter months. My preferred Pelicano tipple is an oat milk hot chocolate complete with cream (always kindly accompanied with a chocolate twirl on the saucer) and a grandma sized slab of cake, selection forever changing and keeping my taste buds infinitely hooked.
Flour Pot -Brighton
My darling flowerpot. I remember discovering this heaven on earth a number of years ago, long before Zoella posted a plandid that catapulted Flour’s rise to Brighton fame. I initially stumbled upon the Sydney St. premise after grumpily shopping (I adore food shopping but clothes or any other fills me with a deep rage) I remember walking in, tripping over the step to add to my already building intolerance to the day, and being met with a wall of bread, counter of goods, and a dreamy interior that looked like Pinterest had crafted it itself. While Flour pot is small in size, this feels insignificant as you’re cupping your warm mug of chai latte in-between bites of zesty orange and rose polenta cake. I highly recommend sitting on the table opposite the coffee bar which has a gorgeous window next to it, making it an ideal spot to sneakily watch others and tap away on your laptop.
As a Seafordian, Pomegranate is a place I and many other Seaford dwellers hold dear to our hearts. From my mothers and I monthly lunch dates here, to memories of after school ventures with sweaty pocket money grasped tightly in hand, Poms is as familiar to me as my own living room. While the décor and gorgeously mix matched crockery has remained the same, the chalk board displaying the daily specials is always a buzz with new and exciting food and drink to try. Over the years Poms has changed with the times, offering vegetarian and vegan options, easily catering to a host of dietary requirements. I’m always partial to a veggie breakfast, or if I’m feeling in need of a sweet treat banana on cinnamon toasted bread with a blob of crunchy peanut butter. Poms isn’t a place to crack on with work or beadily stare at a screen, there’s too much going on, cake to eat and warm elderflower cordial to sip in-between a catch up with your madre.
Breakfast at Tiffanys –Brighton
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Avocado toast, matcha lattes and any other vegan, veggie, gluten free, spiralled out of organic carrot foodie extravaganza, but fuck me I think I speak for everyone when I say you cannot beat a greasy fry up loaded with gorgeous calories, warmth and love. I’m an advocate and supporter of a balanced diet that sticks its fingers up at the clean eating brigade, enjoying food as it should be, and that’s exactly why I adore nothing more than a heavy plate full of fry up lushness. Sadly, due to the clean eating wave which in recent years has grown considerable momentum, greasy spoons are few and far between. But, there’s a sparkling diamond which I cannot wait for you to discover, reader meet my darling Breakfast at Tiffanys. I remember fondly my first visit: Dad had just come back traveling Asia with my step mum and we had a breakfast date scheduled on the morning of his arrival. As we chatted all about his adventures, sheltering from the Brighton drizzle, the first plate arrived at our table. As dad moved his wallet out the way to make way for the veggie breaky feast, the server laughed and redirected the heaving delight in my direction. Used to modest portions on his travels, I thought my dad’s eyes were going to pop out when his breaky arrived.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s offers a refreshingly down to earth brunch option, with three sites doted around the city meaning you’re never too far away from a full tum, veggies like me included!
January is quite often a quiet month. The festivities of December slowly fading into the distance, dreams of warmth and summer holidays getting you through those cold and dark winter days. While bumbling through this, what feels like, everlasting month, find solace in a warm a cosy eatery, perhaps one of the above, sample their offerings and watch the regulars drift in and out. Stay warm, stay hopeful and stay full.