When it was still cold enough to wear my winter coat (I know we all whinge but really, British summer isn't as bad as we make it out to be) I visited my very good friend Jess in Deal - a town I know well. Some of you may know that, despite having lived in Wales for the past 11 years (minus three years at university in Cheltenham), I was actually born in Dover, Kent, and spent the first 12 years of my life there. That's how I know Jess, and that's how I know Deal. But revisiting - for the first time in eight years - it was nothing like I remembered. The quiet town I had previously written off as boring now appealed to me as a place to discover all these amazing cafes, bars and coffee shops. I was in my absolute element.
Saturday morning I spent lazing in bed watching Friends while Jess went on a driving lesson. Attic rooms are the best for this, and I soaked up every minute of the rain tapping on the skylight window. But soon it was time to get up and brave the wind (Deal is a seaside town!) and head out for some food.
Jess insisted we go to Popup Cafe, a place that had initially opened as just that, a pop up. But it was so popular that it carried on - and I'm so glad. It wasn't too busy when we arrived at about 1 o'clock. We sat upstairs - a light and airy space that reminded me of an art room at school, with recipe books on the windowsill and tables and chairs dotted sporadically across the room. The decor was right up my street - stripped back but with dashes of colour and unique lampshades and a big mirror with writing on it on one of the walls.
A lot of cafes claim to make everything homemade these days, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're any good. However, trust me when I say Popup Cafe is genuinely good, homemade, quality food and drink. First there was the sausage roll and salad both Jess and I ordered...
The pastry encasing the sausage had the added treat of caramelised onions - clearly the way all sausage rolls should be done. It was served warm with a really tasty beetroot and fennel salad with red cabbage slaw - the flavour combination was spot on and servings were generous.
Of course I had room for more, so I ordered one of the doughnuts for which Popup Cafe is renowned. The choice was either jam or coconut and, as much as I love jam doughnuts, I wanted to try something new. I paired my coconut doughnut with a flat white - steamed to silky perfection, and polished it all off, no problem. When I think of homemade doughnuts I think of stiff, chewy spheres of dough, but these were puffed up and airy - like the best doughnut in the world, but better. The coconut cream was light and not too sweet, and I could probably have eaten five more.
I wanted to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner here, but we had a few more cafes to go to during my short visit. The staff here were great, though, and I'll definitely enjoy a warm welcome back when I'm next visiting.