Warning: blogging about Café Marmalade so soon after visiting will put me at great risk of sounding like a smitten teenager throughout this post. But here goes.
I stumbled across Marmalade on Instagram and Pinterest and experienced full on love at first site. From its quirky blue corner destination to the dreamy displays of cakes, fresh bread sandwiches and quiches, and low-hanging pendant lights, Marmalade simply looks the dream. Ever since, I have been dying to get down there and check it out.
Living around the Preston Park area means that Marmalade is quite far for us, as it’s situated along Eastern Road in Kemptown, past the hospital and closer to the Marina end. Having underestimated its location slightly, we decided to walk down today – needless to say, we definitely deserved lunch when we got there!
We turned up to find the place absolutely bustling, but managed to get a seat at the white wooden bar in the window to peruse the menu. The menu provides breakfast and lunch options that you won’t find on the counter, and we took it in turns to explore the counter and ponder further options. On one side you have a display of fresh sandwiches and sausage rolls with cakes running along the top, and the middle counter is laden with the most delicious looking homemade dishes such as various quiches, lasagne and tartlets. Past this, there also seemed to be a salad counter with potatoes, but I wasn’t able to take photos up close of the latter two areas as the place gets very busy, very fast!
Brandon went for one of the sausage rolls and a chocolate ice cream milkshake (😍), and I chose a cheese and bacon sourdough toastie from the counter with the intention of waiting to have coffee with some cake after. Whilst waiting for the milkshake, we got chatting with the lovely owner of Marmalade a little about running the place and living in this lovely village-like neighbourhood.
The sausage roll arrived promptly, dressed with a side of peppery leaves, and we waited a while for the toastie until I needed to ask where it had gotten to – totally do not mind this, I work in hospitality and lets face it, it happens. The owner apologised profusely and told me she would get another one straight under the toaster, assuring us that after our lunch we would both receive coffee and cake for free! Not only did she apologise to us, but the guy who had served Brandon also came over to do the same, and we were blown away with how genuine everyone was!
Lunch was great and immediately gave the impression of quality ingredients. Soft and chewy brown sourdough bread, not the tough stuff you come to know from other “fresh” cafés, filled with good quality streaky bacon and a nice tangy mature cheddar, dressed with a good amount of leafy salad. I always like little touches like this, it’s simple, looks good and just creates the impression that they care about what they’re serving.
The chocolate milkshake, by the way, was bloody divine! Only criticism being that you can’t make it last long enough!
The owner came back to us about the cake which was a relief as I didn’t want to have to go up to the counter and ask for free cake! I had my card ready to offer to buy my coffee but she absolutely insisted it was on her, and we ordered a slice of lemon cake, a slice of Bakewell tart and a flat white.
Bakewell tart is one of my favourite things ever, and this was probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Drizzled with icing and almonds, and absolutely packed with jam with some blackberries spilling out! I didn’t try the lemon cake but I’m assured it was delicious and moist, decked with a good layer of frosting and topped with little berries.
You can see from the photo below how creamy and inviting the flat white looks, and it really was such a pleasant accompaniment to the Bakewell, so I’m glad to be able to check good coffee off of the list too! ✅
For me? Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes! I’m completely in love with everything about this place, from the interior and just the way the food is displayed, to the food, the coffee and the lovely, smiley team! Customer service is such a boost for me, especially as so many places in Brighton seem to rely on their good reputation alone, and it felt like the team members at Marmalade were really going above and beyond here. We would never have expected to receive anything for free for such a small mistake regarding the toastie, but it just goes to show how much the owner and her team care about the impression they make on their customers, and it is a really valuable asset to have!
The whole time we were here the door was constantly filling up with people looking to get a table or spot in the window, and you can tell it’s like this all weekend. Marmalade has this great, friendly community vibe going on, and they do their absolute best to acknowledge and accommodate everyone – again, just the constant acknowledgement of people walking in the door is a very powerful touch that many larger organisations could do with taking note of.
I feel this is the start of a very intense love affair with Café Marmalade.
You can check out Café Marmalade on Facebook or search their place tag on Instagram for more dreamy photos!
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