Fun for all the family!
Brighton Food Reviewer, Lyndsey Stoner, July 2016
The Bucket & Spade Café is set just below King’s Street, nestled into the Victorian arches just a stones throw from the Beach and the new British Airways i360. As child friendly locations go you would be hard pressed to find one better than this. My eagle eyed children clocked the huge playground and paddling pool, conveniently located right next to the Café’s ample outdoor seating area. The promise of playing there later in return for good behaviour over lunch was made…
Family friendly vibe
The family friendly vibe continued inside; Owned by a Mother and Son team you can tell that a lot of thought has been put into making families feel at home here. The look on our little girls faces when they were handed a bucket of colourful chalks and invited to draw over the table was priceless. Lila, our 2 year old set to work from her high chair whilst Darcie, age 5, was shown to where the collection of children’s books were, again a lovely touch. No need to bring that extra bag of ‘table entertainment’ with you here.
Local artists exhibit their work around the café, making it impossible to forget you are sat just a few hundred metres from the infamous Brighton beach. The rustic seaside charm gives the cosy eating area a relaxed feel, music plays, the staff are all smiling: there is something in the air here.
Plenty of room for a buggy
There was plenty of room for our buggy next to the table. There are a couple of steps down to the café, but I didn’t have a problem with my Stroller and I clocked a double buggy next to us which hadn’t had any problems with access either. You will find the closest baby change facility just opposite the café’s entrance, next to the park.
Lisle, the owner, who had previously worked as a chef, explained the emphasis Bucket & Spade put on serving quality produce from carefully chosen suppliers. Moak is the exceptional Italian coffee served here, as someone who is a self-confessed coffee addict I wasn’t disappointed. There is even the possibility of enjoying a glass of wine while you watch your slightly older children play outside in the park on those long summer afternoons as the café holds an alcohol licence.
Keeping the kids occupied
The girls were so engrossed in their graffiti that Dan and I actually got to have a look at the menu before the waitress came to take our order: possibly a first. A classic selection of beachside fodder is on offer here, the all-day breakfast was particularly temping but neither of us could resist the recommendation from Lisle to try the burgers.
Dan had the Bucket & Spade cheese burger and I had ‘The Tocino’, a chicken burger with bacon and melted cheese. Served in brioche buns, fries and a salad. I must point out that I’m not talking your typical ‘garnish gesture’ here. Oh no, this was a proper salad, which did help eliminate some of the deliciously cheesy burger guilt! The portions were generous, beautifully served and tasted delicious.
Classic kids favourites
Our girls were thrilled to have their favourites on the menu: There is little need to over complicate a weekend lunch; the offer of fish fingers / sausage / scampi or burger with chips OR a selection of paninis and sandwiches was just what you would expect from a child friendly beach side café. Our youngest chose Scampi (in no way did I influence that choice in the hopes Lila might need help finishing it!) and Darcie chose the Ham & Cheese Panini with chips… and more cheese.
Child friendly cutlery
Plastic cutlery appeared, a rare phenomenon in restaurants and yet such a simple detail. If you have ever watched a 2 year old try and grapple with ‘big cutlery’ you will understand my surprise and relief at the sight of the bright plastic! I must mention how impressive the speed of the service was, there were plenty of staff which makes a huge difference. Our girls didn’t get a chance to be mischievous bored.
Their clean plates were conclusive: a big thumbs up. The scampi was light and fresh, the Panini was spot on. I had to try for research purposes…
Award winning ice cream
We couldn’t leave without trying the award winning ice cream; My favourite was the famous Raspberry sorbet, which had collected 3 gold stars: it was a happy mouth moment. Our girls were treated to a Strawberry and Banana smoothie lolly, this time I didn’t get a look in before they had inhaled the lot.
This is a family run business, which has managed to find a perfect balance between serving great honest food and making families feel very welcome. The location just reinforces the child-centric vibe, with the park and paddling pool on the doorstep it would be easy to make a day of it here with Bucket & Spade on hand to serve you up delicious food and drinks throughout.
Bucket & Spade is firmly on my child-friendly radar, we are already looking forward to going back during the long summer holidays.