Jet Black Jewel Café Bar

Whitby in the winter. Cold, windy and bright brisk walk along the beach from Sandsend (have you seen the house prices in Sandsend!!!…Ed) to Whitby, about 45 minutes. Getting the tide right is pretty important, though you can opt for walking up on the road if desperate. Swimming not recommended.

The amusements and other such tat are all closed, leaving only a single [edible] rock kiosk and the multitude of fish’n’chip shops. Don’t they eat anything else? We’ve tried the Magpie twice recently and, despite the regular glowing recommendations from, frankly, lazy journalists we have no intention of returning until they learn how to fry fish properly (really). Note to chef: it shouldn’t be dry inside, surrounded by burnt batter. IMHO. And we’ve been going for, well, over 70 years so we should know. So there.

We’ve thought Whitby would be a nice place to live but, every time we visit, realise we couldn’t stand the crowds. And we don’t just mean the tattoo brigade. A town with so, so much to offer and generally a lot of atmosphere, that at the same time can seem so squalid. 

We also give up on The Star in the Harbour. The food is fine and Andrew Pern deserves all the support he can get after the disastrous fire at the original Star at Harome, but it’s not really suited to a light lunch. We would have gone to Mademoiselles but Covid or some such has forced an emergency and permanent close down; the window piled high with all the fixtures and fittings for sale. Very sad.

We head further up Skinner Street to take in the window at ‘Ditto’, a restaurant we knew nothing about but which has been there for years. We’ll have to try and find a way of visiting, even though its opening hours are very restricted – to say the least. 

We opt for the Jet Black Jewel café bar. We live dangerously these days. Great soup (spiced sweet potato), cheesy rarebit, and two glasses of (very nice and peppery) warm Malbec. Simply excellent coffee. 25 quid. Overnight next time and ‘Ditto’.

Café bar Jet Black Jewel

…and another thing. Incidentally we parked at Sandsend [as usual] and glanced at Estbek House. We’ve stayed and it was good, but the presentation leaves a lot to be desired. Menus with mains at up to nearly £50 deserve a better front than this!

…and we know Sandsend floods when the weather is bad, but artificial grass? Really?

Estbek House menu…

…deserves more than this!

Thatch still present and correct in Sandsend

Nice houses in Whitby. Very cheap

Ditto – on the list

Artificial grass?

The fish cottage – yeh, on the list

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