I stepped out of East Sussex recently and into the West for breakfast at Tom Foolery, Shoreham-by-Sea. Having heard mixed things about the overall experience from friends but seen some delightful Instagram photos, I needed to find out the truth for myself.
Set in the High Street overlooking the river Adur, Tom Foolery is an independent coffee shop offering single origin espresso from Horsham Coffee Roaster and ethically sourced drinking chocolate, as well as fresh food made to order.
We picked a busy Saturday morning to stop by, so got to witness the atmosphere in full swing with families and friends breakfasting – there was even a rather quirky wedding party who proceeded to hold up Shoreham traffic by placing a plastic zebra crossing on the road and reenacting The Beatles’ Abbey Road cover!
Tom Foolery has the classic look and feel of an independent coffee shop, with its own quirks to cement the branding. Paper swans and rainbow lights adorn the ceiling, and a community board sits on the wall bursting with local life. It may not be a conventional café for a place like Shoreham, but it definitely seems to have struck a chord with the community.
Food and drink
The food counter displays cakes and pastries, whilst you can choose from a small range of fresh sandwiches in the chiller behind or choose from the breakfast menu. I opted for a triple BLT and flat white, whilst Brandon told me he wanted “cake” so I riskily picked the lime and poppy seed cake for him with a hot chocolate.
The cake was fantastic; really moist with a sharpness coming through from the lime, but complemented by the buttercream. After frowning at my initial choice, even Brandon was won over by this slice. My BLT was an absolute dream, seriously fresh bread and bacon with the perfect amount of crisp! I didn’t want the food to end.
Drinks however, were another story. Brandon’s hot chocolate tasted terrible, the milk having been burned to create a very odd texture and sour taste. A huge shame, for we were excited to try this. My flat white was, again, too hot – which unfortunately masks any chance of tasting the wonderful notes of espresso hidden beneath and ruins the natural sweetness of milk. Side note: This, everyone, is why you should never order your coffees “extra hot”.
I think the issue here seems to be consistency, and if our milk had been steamed to a cooler temperature we would have had no problems at all. The coffee didn’t taste terrible, and I’d be willing to give it another chance as I feel that they can (and do) do better, but Brandon said he’d probably stick to a cold drink next time. Food, on the other hand, was a treat and if I was in Shoreham town centre more often, I have no doubt I would stop by here.
It’s easy to see why Tom Foolery is a third place for so many; with a thriving atmosphere and helpful team members, it makes a great place to take your family for breakfast on the weekends. Plus, the view out to the river makes quite a wonderful setting in which to relax!
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