Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Lets find a Cafe (or tearoom)

Locations of reviewed cafes

For more information on the Cafes I have visited and the latest cafe cycle news go to http://www.cake-crusader.co.uk/

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Tuesday 27 October 2015

Flapjack, cake or not cake? (Funky Mackerel Cafe, Sheringham)

Funky Mackerel Cafe,
Opening times Mon-Sun 10:00-17:00,
Last week I had arranged to go on a ride with Andrew (who is notoriously hard to please) from his house in Alysham so we could head up to the North Norfolk coastal area. Unfortunately, just as I was about to set off, I received a text informing me that he had fallen over the day before and was now too stiff to ride (bless). We therefore had to rearrange until today while he loosened up. I had assumed he must have fallen off his bike and had been impressed but it transpired that, due to reasons he was unprepared to share, he had actually tripped over and fallen into a nettle patch getting stung from head to toe, less impressive. The pain, itching and numbness lasted for several days so today would be his first ride he had been on for a couple of weeks.

I had requested we head for Sheringham where I currently had 3 different cafe recommendations from blog readers. However as Andrew was leading the way it came as no surprise that we found ourselves in Holt, again, which you may remember is Andrews destination of choice whenever we ride from his house. He was keen to cafe here but I insisted we continue North to the seaside.
Holt high street which is clearly not the Sheringham destination I had requested
Although Norfolk is famous for being flat it does have a feature called the Cromer ridge which is a steep ridge that runs parallel to the coast. You have to go over this to reach Sheringham. Heading North the climb is long and gentle before a steep decent towards the sea. On leaving Holt we climbed up to the top and then sped down the other side. Andrew was clearly still upset that we had not stopped in Holt so to my surprise, at the next junction, instead of heading along the flat coast road to Sheringham we turned the other way to climb back up another steep section of the ridge. Apparently this was his way of punishing me for insisting we went to the planned destination. At the summit we rode along the top and then back down the hill to Sheringham. As Andrew had been off the bike for a couple of weeks he was knackered so decided I had been 'punished' enough for not stopping at his beloved Holt and was now happy to proceed to our cafe stop.
One of the roads up Cromer ridge, with Andrew in the distance.
We headed straight to the Beach where I had been recommended to try the Funky Mackerel Beach cafe. I was a bit nervous as to date I have never found a good beach caff. I suspect this is because they have a captive audience of holiday makers so your beach caff doesn't have to try very hard and they all seem to have a quantity versus quality approach to catering. However it had been recommended to me by an actual journalist, Kate, who writes about cycling so I had high hopes.
Outside the Funky Mackerel Cafe on the prom at Sheringham
One thing all beach caffs have in common are fantastic seaside views and the Funky Mackerel was no exception. The view from the small outdoor seating breakfast bar area was tremendous even if I couldn't persuade Andrew to sit outside today.
View of sea from outdoor breakfast bar area
Inside was a little strange as it was full of 70 retro clothes and toys. Andrew very much liked the decor and was keen to award a high atmosphere and ambiance score. I wasn't quite as keen but it made a change from plastic tables and cheap beach goods plus with the great view I had to admit it had a good feel.
Inside has a 70's retro feel
As always I went to check out the cake selection which was different from most I have come across. There was: a cookie, which is a biscuit so doesn't count, Eccles cake, which although it has the word cake in it is actually a raisin pie so doesn't count either, carrot cake, which is cake and 5 different types of flapjack, which is barely cake. Fortunately I'm a big fan of flapjack so always count it as part of a cake selection but despite this I couldn't really give a high effective cake selection (ECS) rating.
Cake selection featuring 5 types of flapjack
There were also a number of hot chocolates available on the hot chocolate menu board but in these circumstances I always go for standard hot chocolate to maintain cross cafe hot chocolate reviewing consistency. Andrew ordered a cappuccino and we then selected banana and date flap jack, respectively, from the multitude of flap jack options.
Selection of hot choclates available
We chose a seat that took in the view and tried our food and drink.
Sea view from indoor seating area
The hot chocolate was quite good and if my body wasn't such a temple I would have liked to try a specialist hot chocolate but it is so I didn't. I made a note to have one on a future visit when I'm off cake crusader reviewing duties. Still on the drinks front Andrew also thought his cappuccino performed well. 
Drinks and flapjacks
The flapjacks were excellent and I was especially impressed by the consistency as often a flapjack can be either a tooth breaker or crumbles in your hand before it reaches your mouth but these were spot on. We debated if there needed to be a cake taste quality (CTQ) score ceiling (in the same way there is for a guest hot drink cup of tea) as flapjack isn't really cake. We eventually decided there should be so awarded theses the maximum available flapjack score which we set at 8. I have update cycle cafe reviewing rules accordingly with the new flapjack ruling (see there must be rules).

We found it very relaxing as we sat admiring the view whilst enjoying our drinks and flapjacks and could have stayed there all day but blogs don't write themselves so we eventually had to leave.

I thought the Funky Mackerel cafe was a very good stop, especially if you like flapjack, and was the best example of a beach caff I have encountered to date. I will definitely be coming back again.

The return ride meant climbing the Cromer ridge for the 3rd time but as this was clearly wearing out Andrew more than me it forced him to take us the quick way back to Alysham successfully bypassing Holt for once.

Ratings for Funky Mackerel Cafe
Hot Choc Quality
Guest Hot Drink Quality
Effective Cake Selection
Cake Quality
Ambiance and Atmosphere
Café Rating

Click here to download 36 mile Alysham to Sheringham loop Gpx file for your GPS

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