At the weekend I finally went to Littlehampton. I have been wanting to go for a long time as I think the name is great, it’s by the sea and it has a cafe designed by Heatherwick Studio (of the Olympic cauldron if you aren’t familiar). My pal and I beelined straight for the cafe with fish and chips on our minds with a pit stop at a bicycle shop, Dutch Bike Shop, which was most apt since I had just returned from visiting family in Amsterdam where I enjoyed the pleasure of cycling around the city without having palpitations induced by crazy traffic such as enormous trucks, busses or drivers who open their doors without looking first or, for that matter, parents who push their baby’s buggy into the road before checking whether anything is coming. I cannot stress how blood pressure raising that is! Anyway, rant over, I ogled the Dutch bikes in the Dutch bike shop, then we passed the dodgems and other garish rides to arrive at East Beach Cafe. It was smaller than I had imagined, having seen many photos of the design which is part cocoon, part overlapping shells with a copper looking exterior and a white staggered ceiling interior- perhaps how being inside a conch if one were a small crab would be.
We hadn’t booked a table and it hadn’t crossed my mind to even do that but fortunately there was a spot for us. The staff were really friendly, the atmosphere relaxed and the fish and chips really very nice indeed. They arrived with pureed peas (which I love to put in lots of things such as risotto and sandwiches) and the best tartare sauce I have had and the batter was light and so crispy but with those wonderful bits of crunchy excess batter around the edges. We finished off with an affogato which is doubly satisfying as it satisfies the coffee urge and the ice-cream urge.
I couldn’t tell you much more about Littlehampton as we then went to West Beach (which is stoney) and absorbed the sea air for the rest of the afternoon. We had taken the ferry to the beach which went from East Beach to West Beach and took…..about 30 seconds! It was so funny! West Beach has West Beach Cafe which is a great little sister to East Beach Cafe designed by Asif Khan. The whole of one wall opens at the middle like two enormous doors with windows on them. What I did see of Littlehampton was very nice and I would recommend a day trip there – it takes just under 2 hours from London Victoria.