Little Bo Café – you can find them on Facebook. Summer Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 8am-8pm.
The Beach – http://www.thebeachrestaurant.com/ Summer Opening Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-9pm.
In my last post, I said I’d be talking about cafés in Cheltenham and Cornwall. I got so over-excited writing about Cornwall there isn’t much room for Cheltenham. However, I would like to recommend Coffee & Co, a new café which you can find at 7 Montpellier Terrace, Cheltenham (on the roundabout at the top of Montpellier). They serve Union coffee, lots of teas, and had a mouth-watering array of cakes and snacks on display when I went to visit. And the baristas are THE BEST!
A mere four or five hours drive away from Cheltenham is Sennen, near Land’s End, in West Penwith, Cornwall… let’s see what they had to offer.
With tables and chairs in the open air on the seafront, and with a spectacular view looking out across the long crescent of sand that is Sennen Cove, Little Bo Café is perfectly placed to cater to tourists in the frantic summer season. For that matter, it’s probably quite charming out of season too. Sitting in the sunshine with a very good cup of coffee to hand, it’s easy to understand why this lovely café is so popular. It has a number of tables out in the sun, but can also squeeze a few tables-worth of customers inside for rainy days. The seafront view ensures that not only can you look out across the water at capsizing surfers having their first lessons, but also you can watch the flitting, swirling martins that nest in the Lifeboat Station windows nearby.
Having been to Sennen frequently during my childhood, to return is to play a subtle game of spot-the-difference, to notice the tweaks and updates this village has experienced in the regrettably longer gaps between my visits these days. Little Bo Café must be a fairly recent addition of the last couple of years and seems to have got things just right. With mismatched, floral tea pots and milk jugs, bunting, cake stands, pretty table decorations and (actually legible) chalked-up menus on blackboards, the ‘look’ is spot on for a comfortable seaside café. Moreover, the promising look – because looks can be deceiving – is borne out by the fantastic homemade cakes and the quality of the coffee. We had strong white Americanos with one huge slice of chocolate Guinness cake to share between three. The waiting-staff were welcoming, friendly, and remarkably hassle-free given the constant flow of customers. The lunch and early supper menus all looked tempting, so next time I’m back in Sennen I’ll be sure to give the food a go.
Another addition to Sennen is The Beach. And, although it is technically much more than just a café, so is Little Bo. It’s the holidays after all, so anything goes! The Beach certainly deserves a mention for serving up an utterly sensational meal. As the name suggests, the restaurant is located on the edge of the very edge of the beach itself. If possible, it has an even better view than Little Bo Café: looking out to the left, one can see along the shoreline, past the Lifeboat Station to the breakwater, and to the right, past White Sands beach and Gwynver Bay, out towards the Brisons rocks off Cape Cornwall. As the sun goes down and floods the restaurant with low, golden light, it’s really rather a pleasant place to dine! Offering drinks and pizza outside on the decking, and a full lunch and dinner menu indoors, this restaurant is a seriously impressive addition to Sennen. And though the fuller menu is only served indoors, vast picture windows and doors thrown open to the sea breeze give the feel of being outside.
Though, it has to be said, a little bit pricier than the other pubs and restaurants in this area of Cornwall, in the hands of the chefs here the sustainable, local produce makes for the perfect ‘treat dinner’. To start we had roast scallops, pork belly, shallot puree and Madeira jus which arrived laid out all fancy with plentiful dollops of the puree and sauce streaked across the plate. For the main we had Rosebud lobster (Rosebud being name of the boat that goes out to catch the lobster in the bay) which was served with a fragrant green salad, handcut chips and a pot of hollandaise sauce. Every bite was a delight. If you can afford to splash out a little, ‘The Beach’ is certainly worth the money. On asking the waitress about the length of the season, she confirmed that although they’re busy from late May through to September, the rest of the year is very quiet. On a balmy evening, with such gorgeous food on the table in front of me, it’s hard to remember that for most of the year Cornwall gets by on a shoestring economy, essentially dormant until the summer season bursts into life again. I can’t wait to see what new additions have been made to Sennen the next time I return.
Next time: back in Oxford, we take a coffee break at Bill’s.