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Drift-In Surf Cafe, East Wittering

pancakes, indulgent shakes... treat yourself at this stylish East Wittering cafe

It’s fair to say East Wittering plays second fiddle to the sandy stretches of its western neighbour but the two are very close and if you’re in search of a casual bite to eat you should check out the Drift-In surf cafe adjoining Wittering Surf Shop in the town.

East Wittering is small and fairly functional shops-wise (though some deli and butchers options looked good for picnic and barbecue supplies) so, Drift In really stood out as a bit of style on a pretty ordinary street just up from the beach.

I loved its driftwood style panelling and light Scandi colours and the upturned boat in the corner seating area.

It’s fairly small at first glance but an archway leads through to the surf clothing shop and there are more tables plus a loo at the back here and there’s also a decked area that I didn’t find out about till afterwards.

Get some surf gear and pretend you can catch a wave at Wittering Surf Shop

It has quite an extensive menu and it’s on the indulgent side. There is a range of all-day breakfasts (always tempting) including a doorstep bacon or sausage sarnie and a veggie breakfast pancake and – for those who mix sweet and savoury, US-style – banana, bacon, avocado and maple syrup on toast.

There are super salads – Moroccan chicken, Mexican bean, tuna and many more.  Wraps and sandwiches, again have a American slant as they come with crisps and coleslaw on the side. I was tempted by the chicken cesear but plumped for the Mexican bean, guacamole and lettuce (£6.50) with was very filling. If you’re a melted cheese fan you could also go for a grilled sandwich or a quesadilla.

Something of a speciality are the cafe’s pancakes which come in savoury options like cheese and ham or sauted mushrooms and sweet, from nutella and banana to ‘black cherry and artisan vanilla icecream’ . There were a couple of people in treating kids, one tucking into a nutella sauce and mini marshmallow option at another table.

I’m not a coffee drinker myself but I’m told it’s good stuff and it’s organic and fair trade, from Origin. The drinks menu is pretty extensive too however, including fruit or veggie smoothies, super juices, granola shakes (liking the sound of the peanut butter boost) and yoghurt-based or naughtier shakes like salted caramel or banoffee (I’m getting a sugar rush just thinking about it!) One clearly defeated someone as I heard the immortal line: “I told her the indulgent chocolate would be too chocolatey”.

Like my wrap, the background music was a bit on the cheesy side when I visited but I think I must have caught an off time because I read that they have their own internet radio station championing unsigned bands, which sounds a great idea.

When I visited the other week the beach conditions were like this…

A windy West Wittering

So I’m guessing at its peak the cafe could get rammed but it seems like a good place to know about for some serious comfort eating in cooler months as well.

Most lunches at Drift In are around £6.50, salads from £8.50, so it’s more up the treat end rather than everyday pit stop, though you can get soup for £4.95 or snacks like hummus with pitta and veg dips for the same price  – good for youngsters. Pancakes are from £2.95 for lemon and sugar up to £5.95 for more indulgent versions.

Looking for something more main meal? Sister restaurant Drifters is a few doors down, right by (but not overlooking) the beach, with an attractive decked area outside and with a similar contemporary style and emphasis on wood panelling. A quick glance at the menu shows it serves burgers, minute steak, chilli and the like. There’s also a kids’ menu. One for another visit…

Drift In Surf cafe and Wittering Surf Shop, 11-15 Shore Road, East Wittering, West Sussex, PO20 8DY  

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Sussex