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Taxi Noir: Eastbourne

Me-Pier
Me-Pier

Eastbourne is a popular seaside town on the south coast. It’s known for it’s attractive beach, magnificent pier, and nearby beauty spots such as Beachy Head. This is not an exhaustive review: it’s merely my opinions on a few places I visited with my wife on a post-lockdown visit in July.

Our traditional first stop before lunch is The Eagle. The tatty furniture has recently been replaced, making the pub less shabby-chic and something more elegant. It’s bright and modern, but still very much a proper pub. The staff have always been very nice to us. It seems a well-run place with plenty of beer to choose from.

Eagle
Eagle

We walked in the drizzle to the Belgian Café on the seafront. My decision to wear shorts had been declared inappropriate well before we changed trains at Clapham Junction, and as the wet rain whistled up my shorts I knew I wouldn’t be sunbathing on the beach today. This was only going to go one way: there was little else I wanted to do but drink.

We’d come to the right place. The café brews its own beer based on Belgian beer. I ordered a pint of 5% ale, plus a half pint of their 9% rocket fuel. I arranged the two glasses on the window sill and took a photo of the set-up with the magnificent pier in the background. Sadly, the image of the pier didn’t come out in the photo, but it was there, I assure you. The Belgian Cafe is quite basic but it often manages to create a seaside holiday atmosphere. Sadly not today though, thanks to the weather. The lobster spaghetti and small tapas plates were fine.

I don’t know why English hoteliers don’t let you check-in until 3.30 – particularly as they always kick you out well before lunchtime on the following day. A drink at The Marine took us beyond 3.30. Situated just east of the town centre, The Marine feels like a locals’ pub. There’s a good atmosphere in the evenings, and the food appears popular. It’s a bit gloomy in the daytime though, especially when you know it’s raining outside.

I intended to drink all day, but I now wanted to sleep. We checked into the Ebor Lodge. I ate a biscuit from the coffee tray and went to sleep. I woke up nearly three hours later not knowing where I was and wondering where the cat was. Once I remembered I was on Eastbourne on holiday, we both prepared to go out to dinner. I was pleased to see the weather had improved. It was a nice evening for a stroll into the town centre.

Big-Fat-Greek-Platter
Big-Fat-Greek-Platter

We’d been to Gr-eat once before. It’s a top-class, family-run, Greek restaurant. We had an enjoyable lunch there two years ago and were keen to experience it in the evening. I suggested the Olympus Grill Platter for £40, even though I still felt bloated by beer. The Greek wine got me back into the spirit of things. We managed to get through this huge platter of lamb chops, chicken souvlaki, Greek sausage, beef patties, and delicious bread. Even the Greek salad looked good; and those who know me know I’m a salad-dodger. Once again, the staff were efficient and welcoming. I was at last in holiday mode, and emboldened by alcohol I ordered a large Greek Coffee. This is the stuff found in Greece and Turkey drunk by blokes with moustaches. It’s not to my taste, but I try it every couple of years to see if my tastes have changed. I left the sludge in the bottom of my coffee cup – please, tell me you’re not meant to drink that bit? – and we made for the guest house.

The seafront is lined with hotels; mostly large, impersonal-looking ones, catering for coach parties. Walking east you’ll find smaller hotels and guest houses. We discovered The Ebor Lodge a few years ago. £78 bought us a small, but bright and pleasant room on the first floor; with a decent view. The Ebor is welcoming, bright, tastefully decorated; and we know they serve a cracking breakfast. Which indeed it was. Fried bread on your breakfast plate: it makes you proud to be British.

Before we made for home we had lunch at The Qualisea. I’ve yet to find an exciting fish & chip restaurant in Eastbourne, but this one is perfectly adequate for our purposes. I chose it over the more well-known Harry Ramsden’s because they serve skate. The meals were excellent.

Well that was my Eastbourne visit for this year. Next year I’ll try and make two or three nights of it, and visit Beachy Head, and the bigger city of Brighton. Maybe even get over to France, if they’ll let us in bearing in mind the twin issues of Covid and Brexit.

 

3 Responses

  1. As an Eastbourne resident, I heartily recommend the meals in the Marine. It’s not so dark in the evenings. The Belgian Cafe is ok, Gr-eat much better. Fish and chips – try Odyssey just down the road from the seafront. Forget Harry Ramsdens. Only wear shorts in Eastbourne when you can see Beachy Head.

    1. Sound advice, Harry. As for the shorts: the weather had been good up until that point. When I left home in Bedfordshire I was fully expecting a seaside scorcher. A lesson learned.

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