A cafe lovers take on the meaning of life while enjoying a cuppa.

Tag Archives: beachside

The Meeting Place has a scruffy sort of charm about it. Only a short bike ride for me along the seafront cycle path, I’ve been coming here for years attracted by  its promenade location. Being completely outdoors, in the summer the cafe has hordes of tables and chairs spread around its terrace. When it’s cooler, like now near the the winter solstice, then it’s the hardy few who venture here well wrapped up to grab a beach side table. Its bold, canary yellow wind breakers give shelter from the breeze. Pigeons and seagulls abound here so you can’t be too squeamish about them coming close daring to scavenge a few morsels of your food.

Some years ago the cafe was demolished and reborn a few yards  further east along the seafront, significant in that those few yards now mean that you can buy your tea or coffee in Brighton and drink it sitting in Hove. The Angel Peace statue also straddles  the boundary between the two towns and  heralds this popular cafe.

All the staff are Polish, friendly and eager to practice their English. The cafe is open 365 days a year from dawn serving breakfasts and hot drinks to the dog walkers, joggers and early risers in general to dusk where it catches those reluctant to tear themselves away from the beach. It’s even open on Christmas day and I’ve seen the queues stretching back in their masses with customers seemingly impervious to the long wait. There are so many food and drink deals they are too many to mention but if it’s no nonsense fillers and home baked cakes you’re looking for then this is your place.

Christmas is nearly upon us again and it seems to come around quicker and quicker each year.The early setting sun was transforming the watery blue of the sky into a peachy glow while the skeletal West Pier  slumbered peacefully on the calm December sea. At least down here by the The Meeting Place Cafe  you can take some time out, swapping the demands of last minute present buying at the shops for breathing in the fresh air and wonderful seascape for the price of a cuppa.


100_3254

There is something special about getting up that little bit earlier and getting a taste of early morning.  Just  A gentle bike ride along the seafront cycle path and I am  at Morrocco’s  in just a few minutes.  The ice cream counter is what first welcomes  you on entering.  A chilled cabinet with a rainbow  of  rich colours representing around  two dozen different flavours of their home made ice cream to choose from.  Over the years I’ve tried most with the chilli chocolate being a favourite.

The sun is getting quite strong already but  with cup of tea in hand I’m  lucky enough to get a seat on the small front terrace which is still in the shade. I love the musicality of the Italian language and hearing the banter of the staff as they get set up for a day’s trading.  Having studied Italian at school I can usually pick up a few words here and there but unfortunately  that’s about all.

Watching the cyclists pedalling by on the cycle path  directly in front of the terrace. I  hear the whir of  chains turning  and the bur of rubber on tarmac.   I wonder how long it will be until I spot someone I know.  Only about ten minutes as it turns out.  The sea is just a few yards away and the sound of the waves on the shore blend with the  hissing of the coffee machine behind me and the chatter of the nearby customers.  A couple of yachts are sailing on the horizon  on a calm and clement sea.  Breakfasts, seems to be what everyone is ordering to set them up for the day ahead.

I’ve been coming to Marrocco’s for years now since I first moved down to Brighton & Hove. The original couple who  established the cafe in the late 60’s  have  since passed  the business on to their son, Peter Marrocco,  to run.  Marrocco’s describe themselves as bringing a touch  of Naples to Hove.  So, in the summer it is not unknown for queues to stretch right along the block for the famous Marrocco’s ice cream with people waiting up to half an hour for their choice of flavour.  The cafe  is mainly known though for its Italian seafood, pizza and pasta but you can just as easily pop in for a coffee or tea.  Now open till 11pm at night it’s a honeypot  for late night cafe  and ice cream lovers.  When I’m cycling home late in the evening after a night out it’s  cheering to see  Marrocco’s  lit up and  still buzzing with life.

In   Eat, Pray, Love   by Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts in the movie, Elizabeth goes to Rome on the first stage of her voyage of self discovery and indulges in the local pasta and ice-cream.  I’d venture you wouldn’t need to go as far as that.  Just  cycle down to Hove promenade to savour  a little bit of Italy and ponder on life while watching the world go by.

100_3256


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A change of scene always gets your mind moving, changes your perspective and gives you a chance to mull over new ideas. We’d  spent  an invigorating  day’s  walking along the stunning Holkam beach from Wells-next-the Sea to Brancaster Staithe along the Norfolk coastal path.  Huge, wide open skies and miles of dunes backed by pine forests.  All very different from my usual stroll along Hove promenade. Though with one main similarity, a tea stop at the end.

100_2943A  chance to sit down and rest our weary muscles  and drink some tea was top of the  list after an exhilarating  day in Norfolk’s great outdoors.  Though strictly a small hotel, bar and restaurant   The White Horse    also does a fine pot of tea. The indoor  setting reflects  the natural vista beyond being  all driftwood mirrors, comfy wicker furniture and with a colour scheme of dreamy washed out blues and creams with a dash of sun burnt red. The seating area looks through the conservatory restaurant facing directly northwards over the vast area of fens and marshes.  Over the late afternoon the tide gradually came in lifting up the small wooden boats from the  mudflats and changing the view out entirely. The music was as mellow as the gently shifting seascape outside making this stop a very chilled out one indeed.

I’ve been reading  The Job Delusion100_2941 a  book written by a fellow Scot and now Brightonian like myself.  Kevin eschews the notion of  jobs  bringing financial stability to our lives  and instead  embraces the idea of personal  financial freedom. There’s loads of ideas to mull over and I agree with lots of the suggestions  the book describes.  Time to move on my life another step, in  a bolder direction. In the meanwhile I can sip on another cup of tea as the  tide slowly flows in closer still. But not for too much longer as it’ probably about  time to act  and make the life changes happen.

100_2945

We stayed at  the wonderful   Deepdale independent hostel



%d bloggers like this: