SEAHAM never fails to satisy on a sun-drenched Sunday afternoon.
Unlike Sunderland, this coastal neighbour offers a great range of daytime coffee shops and cafes in which you can while away the hours.
Each time I visit the town, a new eatery seems to have sprung up on its pretty front street overlooking the sea.
With the best vantage point for admiring Seaham’s much-celebrated Tommy statue, it was The Lamp Room which won our patronage this week.
We chose to sit outside on one of four al fresco tables to people-watch the throng of the crowds who were admiring Tommy, but Lamp Room’s interiors are not to be sniffed at.
Sage hues, exposed brickwork, rustic woodwork and leather chairs you can sink into help to create an inviting atmosphere at the venue which opened last summer. While the decor may be de rigueur, the name harks back to Seaham’s mining history and is inspired by the lamp room where miners would visit to collect their lamps prior to going down the shaft. This homage to heritage is echoed in the menus which are decorated in mining images of yesteryear.
Inside the menu, there’s a range of breakfasts (served until 11.30am), sandwiches, paninis and salads. For those after something more hearty, there’s a main section of classics such as Whitby scampi (£6.95) and lasagne for £5.95.
Prices are pretty purse-pleasing: you can pick up an eggs Benedict for breakfast for as little as £3.95 with paninis priced from £4.95.
I also spotted an afternoon tea offer, which is £16.95 to share or £8.95 on your own – one of the cheapest I’ve seen.
Kid diners can also eat cheaply with a range of little bites, such as half portions of pastas, priced £2.95 and £3.95.
Service was slow and I had polished off my delicious smoothie before our mains arrived but, in the venue’s defence, this was a Sunday and there wasn’t a spare table to be seen. There is also a warning to expect a wait during busier periods as food is prepared to order – proof of which was in the pudding.
Sandwiches are usually a basic dish - not much to write about, you would have thought. But this one was a cracker. The bread was fresh as can be, doughy and packed with flavour – the kind that would have been delicious on its own with a scraping of butter.
It was filled with plenty of halloumi, which was just the right side of chewy, and complemented by a minted mayonnaise marinade, salad and a splodge of coleslaw with a satisfying crunch.
I was so pleased with my lunch, I’m intrigued to check out the cafe’s new Friday evening menu where you can pick up five tapas for £20. This Lamp Room addition had my eyes lighting up.