When we were Londoners in London we would tend to visit SC’s parents 2, or sometimes 3, times a year – dutifully at Christmas and invariably summer. Now Scarborough would not be high on my list to visit in high summer but it certainly is for thousands who jam themselves into the hotels, b&bs and caravans and then spill out onto the streets and beaches and sea but, on one occasion in 1999 on our sojourn north we decided to experience Scarborough. (Now I know the time to happily visit Scarborough is the months from September to May)
To escape the Barbie-pink bodies, their overheated children, the fume-inducing traffic and the overpowering odour of fish’n’chips, we looked to take refuge from the teeming Foreshore Road and headed in the tram upwards to St Nicholas Cliff, exiting to…Caffe Italia. This unprepossessing caffe had crammed and limited seating and had a stop-still sign ‘NO PUSH-CHAIRS INSIDE THE CAFFE’: but we did spy a genuine Italian coffee machine on the side counter AND a free table for 4.
Somehow – perhaps we looked like desperate strangers and SC was heavily pregnant – the proprietress allowed us to prop our buggy against the wall INSIDE. We all enjoyed our toasties but, surprisingly, the cappuccinos and hot chocolates were as good as or better than any London café could concoct.
TODAY…we took advantage of the continuing school hols and a beautiful spring morning, and loaded everyone into the car including our 6 year-old rescue hound of dubious parentage, Poppy. We headed for Scarborough’s North Bay and had an exhilarating – sunny but cold - walk on a deserted beach throwing stones for the inexhaustible Poppy.
Then, into the car and directly to the South Bay and our obligatory visit to Caffe Italia. The Caffe reminds me of the sitcom Cheers – a regular cast of great characters, a lot of topical and witty chat, great food and drink all held together by the lovely Jeanette.
Jeanette does not suffer unacceptable customers lightly and we feel privileged that, as outsiders, we have been accepted into this happy coterie. Jeanette’s home-made soups are superb, her filled and toasted foccaccias and ciabattas are terrific, her range of coffees (and dandelion tea) are as good as Bar Italia in Greek Street, Soho, BUT……trying to describe Jeanette’s dark, and white, hot chocolate (Ciobar) drink is nigh impossible except to say that it is undoubtedly the BEST hot chocolate in the WORLD.
Disbelieve me if you dare but the only way is to go to Caffe Italia - tell Jeanette that London Refugee recommended you.