I grew up in a house where Angel Delight was the acme of everyday luxury, so it’s a constant pleasure to find such a cornucopia of reasonably priced dishes created by the current high level of professional expertise, home-grown talent and sheer passion.

Lacking the expertise of the editor for the last three issues, I’m just going to present a personal pick of venues in St Leonards chosen purely on the basis that when I mention them people say: “So, where’s that then?”

Yellow Van Girls
Girls Gone Greek have been enthusiastically welcomed back for their second season to their summer home in the car park opposite Greeba Court (or you may know St. Leonards Church just behind the prom). Queues form quickly outside their fabulous yellow van from which they serve Greek delicacies cooked on site and from locally sourced ingredients.

Sea Kale opposite the Co-op in London Road is often missed due to its unprepossessing exterior, but inside you’ll find the most discreetly friendly team and a constantly changing menu of dishes. The combinations of ingredients and tastes are always unusual and the plating up is exquisite, not forgetting their ever-evolving range of delicious relishes. This is high end artistic food at street prices. (Reviewed here)

Vegan crepe
PICTURE: Ed Powell

News from The Edge
On the far edge of the Marina, where Burton’s Way meets the promenade is the well-loved Mexican style cafe: The Edge.

It isn’t just Venus who travels in a shell; here summer berries arrive folded into a crimped buckwheat crepe, one of Edge’s new range of vegan crepes, both savory or sweet. It’s also a perfect desert (for non-vegans) to follow on their new burrito, filled with chicken cooked in white wine and sweet red peppers, garlic and herbs, served with avocado and salsa, a small side salad and sour cream. Alongside great coffee and a truly adult all-day menu you can indulge your inner child with a knickerbocker glory or banana split while looking at the sea. (Full review here)

Crudo Con Figiloini

There’s nothing crude about Cafe 33
At the bottom of Norman Road, opposite SHOP, is the tiny new Cafe 33. With really good wines and a great way with a gin and tonic, it’s a good alternative to the pubs if you want a quieter get-together. Locals rave about the mussels in chilli tomato sauce, but the prosciutto crudo con fagiolini, pictured here, is also beautiful. Prices start at around £4.50 for two substantial fishcakes on a bed of salad – a satisfying and delicious lunch – and their cod fillet wrapped in proscutio with selected veg on a bed of spinach is for the really ravenous. This is another place to keep an eye on if you’re a gastronome as the menu changes frequently. Everything is cooked fresh so this is a place for relaxed eating and the service is warm and welcoming. 

Italian coffee beans at Amore Italiano

Finding Italy by the sea
The restaurant at Amore Italiano, a hop and skip east of the Arts Forum on Marina, is closed pending the arrival from Italy of a new chef. Meanwhile, its delicatessen/off licence still sells authentic ingredients for an easy supper: pasta as big as egg cups; fresh basil pesto and tomato sauces; marinated chicken for cooking; ice-cream; sausages from Tuscany; wines and liqueurs. They have limoncello and the more unusual hazelnut Frangelico  and Vin Santo for a classic biscuit-dipping dessert.

Finally, the newest: a few doors north of where Kings Road joins London Road, Gavin has opened Five Aces, on the lines of a traditional Italian cafe. With 10 years barista experience behind him, it’s all about the coffee.

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