East Beach Café

Sea Road Littlehampton West Sussex BN17 5NZ

Created by an outstandingly talented British architect, designer and sculptor who has recently been honoured with a one-man show at the V&A in London, this is an ace café with a nice (though pebbly) beach attached. It’s one of a series of dazzlingly original projects from Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind Manchester’s infamous B of the Bang scupture, London’s Boris Bus and the spectacular cauldron which featured in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Heatherwick has been dubbed the Da Vinci of our times since his work is both practical and aesthetically pleasing. The East Beach Café fits the bill on both counts. Functioning as a café at breakfast and teatime and as a restaurant for lunch and dinner, it’s a compact but airy space enclosed by an intriguingly organic-looking steel shell, its shape inspired by a chunk of driftwood. The emphasis is on imaginative but unpretentious dishes using fresh local ingredients, the runaway favourite being a posh version of traditional seaside fish and chips.

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