Tuesday, July 25 2017

Published on May 11 2017. Living
Eat, drink and be merry
Nathalie and James get ready for dinner in the Standard

Eat, drink and be merry

With the East Street outpost of Rye Museum open for business, the summer season has officially started. Rye News took the time to interview a visiting couple, Nathalie Grey and James Farrell, who spent a week in Rye savouring its delights.

Here are Nathalie’s recommendations on things to do and places to visit:

Knoops owner, Jens, stands in front of the chocolate menu

Knoops: As Londoners, we’re used to a new coffee shop popping up every day, competing with thousands of others, to see who can serve the perfectly brewed cup in the most original or inventive way, so finding a shop in Rye serving several varieties of hot chocolate, was a very welcome surprise. Knoops’ simplicity and lack of frills is an indication of the quality of their product: there’s no overcompensation here. Your hot chocolate options are presented on modest pieces of paper pinned to clipboards, offering a selection that starts from 28% cocoa, all the way to 100% for those who like it bitter. Knoops’ owner and namesake is extremely passionate about the hot chocolate he serves and is contentedly patient with his customers while they peruse the percentages of cocoa on offer. Listening to him speak so enthusiastically about his craft was one of the reasons we went to Knoops twice in one day and returned there for one last taste before we got on our train back to London. We’d recommend the 34% and the 39%.

The dunes at Camber were as beautiful as the sands

Walk to Camber: Part of the appeal of an escape from our daily lives in the capital was to spend some time in nature, taking in the fresh air and taking long, relaxing walks without having to dodge grumpy commuters or selfie-loving tourists. The hour walk to Camber was a lovely way to take in some natural beauty and walk off the calories gained from one too many hot chocolates at Knoops – we would also recommend cycling as the path is practically empty (on a weekday at least). We spotted some sheep along the way but have heard you can also spot seals if you’re lucky! Arriving at Camber Sands Beach was the icing on the cake – this beautifully golden beach spans nearly five miles, with the dunes being just as beautiful as the sea itself. We would recommend taking something to eat or drink in the evenings – there aren’t many places to stop for a drink, but the good news is, there is a bus that takes you all the way back to Rye if you’re too tired to walk it.

The Standard Inn: There’s nothing better than ending the day with a few drinks by an open fire, so we made sure we visited the Standard Inn several times during our stay. The staff here are lovely and welcoming and the bar has a great selection of beers and ales to keep you coming back for another round. One of our favourite things about the Standard was the way you can feel at home; we sat in there for hours, adding logs to the fire and chatting with the locals. We also made a point of dining there on our last night having seen the food on offer which, unsurprisingly, did not disappoint. The Standard would definitely be our first stop when we return to Rye.

Cream tea at The George – scrumptious!

The George in Rye: The George is the centrepiece of Rye and offers something a little bit special for those wishing to sample the best of what Rye has to offer. With several open fires, different dining areas and rooms to stay in, it would be understandable if some guests chose to spend entire days in there! We popped in a few times to escape the rain, but also to enjoy a spot of afternoon tea, which we had planned to do before arriving in Rye. Seated in a cosy area by a large fire, we enjoyed watching people pass along High Street while we sipped Darjeeling tea and sampled finger sandwiches, cakes and of course, scones with cream and jam. A quintessentially English afternoon well spent.

Ashbee & Co: We spotted this gorgeous home interiors store the day we arrived in Rye and couldn’t wait to go in to see if there were any bits we could buy to jazz up our flat. Every day of our six-day stay, we would peer in the windows, willing the door of the shop to open, so we were extremely pleased to finally get inside on our last morning in Rye. Ashbee & Co is full of on-trend Instagram-worthy pieces that would complement any home – from candles to cushions and everything in between. In addition to this, the store is beautifully presented and irresistible – perfect for just window shopping. We will be keeping up-to-date with their pieces by following them on Instagram and their website for sure.

The Thai House: The Thai House was recommended to us by the lovely owner of Knoops and we could not recommend it highly enough. The atmosphere is peaceful and inviting, the service is extremely friendly and the food is the best Thai food we have tasted outside of Thailand. We have never tasted so many complementary aromatic flavours packed into a single dish so it was very hard to have to accept the fact that we couldn’t finish it all! We had the Thai Ggeen curry and the Penang curry and both agreed that we would easily go on a day trip to Rye just to sample these flavours again. Compliments to the chef were in order so it was lovely to be able to thank him personally at the end of our meal.

Breakfast at the Apothecary definitely did not disappoint

The Apothecary: Finally, we would recommend The Apothecary for its delicious coffee, freshly baked pastries and value for money. Being just a stone’s throw away from where we were staying, we had breakfast here on our first morning and were charmed by the unique interior of the place – decked out with potion bottles and other wacky paraphernalia, our eyes were constantly scanning the room with interest. Breakfast was delicious too. We had the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and the poached eggs and bacon – both of which were served on deliciously thick slices of toast. We would also recommend their fresh pain-au-chocolat which we enjoyed warm along with a cup of coffee most mornings back in the comfort of the house.

Overall, we found Rye to be a charming, welcoming and, most importantly, relaxing place to spend a week away from the hustle and bustle of city life. We will definitely be returning for another visit during which we’d hope to go on a walk to Winchelsea and also climb to the top of St Mary’s to take in the panoramic view.

Photos: Nathalie Grey

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