Seaham’s cafe culture renaissance shows no signs of slowing down with dozens of independent businesses opening their doors in the town in recent years.
There’s much to attract people from around the region to this coastal spot. As well as North Terrace being chock-a-block with good quality independents, the Marina too has been transformed by new businesses. Once a vital cog in the wheels of the town’s industry, the North Dock lay disused for years before becoming a sparkling new complex for water sports, cafes, a heritage centre and shops.
On a sunny day, it’s got to be one of the finest spots along this stretch of coastline to grab a cuppa and offers much more variety than its bigger neighbour Sunderland up the road. Unlike Wearside, there’s also plenty of free parking to help boost footfall for the traders.
The latest new business to flock here is Flamingo bar and cafe. It’s a little more tucked away than the other businesses, in a small unit next to East Coast Fitness, but they’ve managed to utilise the space to great effect.
A trailing floral canopy makes for a pretty-as-a-picture feature over the 18 covers inside, with more seating outside which offers uninterrupted views over the beach. A basket of blankets is a nice touch for those who haven’t layered up enough for the East Durham climate, and furry diners are given the VIP treatment with their own dog houses underneath the benches and free water and treats.
Back inside, the decor echoes the name with splashes of pink on the cushions and an inviting counter which was festooned with Easter paraphernalia on our visit. The menu’s on brand too, offering pretty health foods, smoothies, protein shakes, veggie/vegan options and clean, raw cakes, making it a good spot for some guilt-free snacks.
It offers one of the most imaginative coffee lists around with options including everything from bee pollen coffee and almond coffees to a signature flamingo latte (made with pink beet powder to give it a pink hue) and a golden latte, made with a blend of turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper with a combination of almond and coconut milk. I went with the bullet proof coffee (£3.20), a really comforting drink, which gave my Good Friday a real kick start.
Despite being a smallish cafe, which is open daily from 9am to 4pm and late on Thursdays, there’s a kaleidoscope of dishes available on the menu with impressive-looking brunch bowls made with a rainbow of ingredients, salads, light bites, open sandwiches and hot potatoes.
I chose the avocado open sandwich with feta, fresh chillies and lime on sourdough (£5.50) and paid the extra £2 for two poached eggs on top.
It’s a popular dish these days, but this one was done just right with more than enough perfectly-ripe avocado, whose creaminess was lifted with the kick of the chilli and zing of the lime. Eating in the pink has never tasted so indulgent.