I should have written this post a year ago, when we first went to The Front Room in Seaford having been tipped off by a friend. That day last January, we were BLOWN away on the beach, and then BLOWN away by the café’s mega croque monsieur, the like of which I’ve never eaten before or since, not even in France.
So when I took my sons to Seaford this past weekend and we were again almost blown off the beach, it was with slight déjà vu that we retreated to The Front Room for a hot chocolate and a biscuit.
My family and I love Seaford beach. It’s setting (as in, the buildings lining it) is definitely not the most interesting or eye-catching, but the beach is long, deep, clean (compared to the turd fest at Tide Mills) and book-ended by white cliffs. We always park by the beach huts at the far end, have a scoot and play among the pebbles and then treat ourselves to a tea and a lolly at the little beach hut café there. There’s a playground further down, which we’ve only been to a couple of times as I kind of like the boys to make their own sport on the shingle.
But not this day. Definitely too windy (and on the way I listened to the news, which reported that two people had been swept into the sea in Rottingdean on Friday – and that their bodies had been found – so I was a bit freaked).
The Front Room is a cosy but serene little place nestled in Seaford’s Old Town that, since our first visit, has deservedly won Sussex Café of the Year and opened another branch in the Seaford Library. You can take the train here easily from Lewes, but if you’re driving, there’s a public parking lot just nearby along Saxon Lane (free on Sundays, yay!). If you want a (less windy) post prandial leg stretch afterwards, there’s a ‘peace garden’ at the end of the street that we discovered last year (post will follow), which is attached to The Crouch – a park on a site that dates back to 1712. There’s a brand new playground here, and plenty of grass for a run about.
The menu is on the short side, which is good, and it’s part café, part tapas restaurant (in the evenings), with a focus on seasonal and local produce. They sadly no longer do the croque monsieurs, but there are delicious-looking boards, toasted sandwiches, roasts on Sundays and lots of cakes.
Owner Victoria has three children, so The Front Room is well thought out for kids. There’s a little cabinet at the back with small tubs of LEGO bricks, a few books, and a wooden maze-game. There are high chairs and a dedicated change mat area in the roomy loo. My two took a tub of bricks each and got stuck in to making spaceships at our table while they waited for their ‘baby chocs’ to arrive – espresso-sized hot chocolates with tiny marshmallows on their saucers for assembling atop the froth. I had a pot of delicious Rare Tea Company green tea, which came wrapped in its own bright bobble hat.
I’d love to return in the summer as the garden looks a friendly place. My table of choice inside is always taken, but it would be the one in the window.
If there are any downsides to The Front Room it’s that you have to walk past Toy Town a few doors along to get there from the beach. Try to resist going in on the way back – it’s a good toy shop and the zen created by LEGO assembly and a moment’s peace over a cup is fast broken by negotiations over glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs. Speaking from experience.
* Small update: a week or so after writing this post and in response to a reader reporting that the café isn’t dog-friendly, The Front Room got in touch to say that dogs are welcome in the garden year-round and that it’s happy to accommodate small, well-behaved dogs indoors under tables during the winter. The café also does takeaway hot drinks, so is worth a stop it you want to warm up your walk. *
Drive: 19 minutes
Train: Twice hourly, 18 mins
Address: 42 High Street, Seaford, BN25 1PL
Tel no.: 01323 895 383
Open: Mon-Thu + Sun, 9am-5pm; Fri + Sat 9am-5pm + 7pm-late for tapas
Disclosure: No compensation, financial or otherwise, was offered or accepted for the writing of this post. I told the girls at The Front Room I was going to write a post as we were paying our bill, so our experiences were unaffected by their knowledge of the blog. We genuinely like The Front Room and will be back.
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