The sky was blubbing and we were getting wetter than an oyster’s snorkel. So we tried to dive into the Fort Cafe, a mediocre looking venue over the road from the seafront with attached ice-cream parlour.

Only we had to stand at the head of a line of impatient would-be punters waiting for the rope across our path to be removed like we were trying to get into some VIP nightclub. It was Hobson’s Choice for us all; get soaked or go in here so we sodden mannequins, after getting the attention of a zombie waitress, were admitted to the chagrin of our queue-mates.

We got parked on a large solid round table and shook ourselves like wet labradors. Through the window I saw our impatient friends drift away presumably to find towels and alternative scoffage. Since there was an abundance of free tables we can only imagine the staff were oblivious or indifferent to the loss of revenue.

It was evident immediately that this was a place for VOPS (Very Old People) rather than VIPs; the majority were old biddies (do young biddies exist?) shouting at ‘Gladys’ before rising slowly before forgetting why they had moved in the first place.

We squinted at the menu which had the usual sandwiches, pastries and scones (for the tourists). As we perused, a gammer picked her nose enthusiastically with her left hand as she scraped her plate with her right. She then stood waving her arms vigorously at her friends across the cafe before becoming very tired at all the effort – Magnus Pike had to rest.

The room itself could not provide much excitement anyway. There was nowt murally bar a few grainy old photos of Sidmouth from the 1920s, probably when most of this lot were planning their 40th birthday parties.

The waitress finally arrived in the form of a massive woman resembling a small houseboat. She was polite despite having a bit of a sniffle presumably having stood in front of an open refrigerator for too long. ‘Er Indoors ordered whitebait and me a jacket potato for £7.50 after I’d verified that it was not made of gold. We acknowledged that these are not pensioner-friendly prices so this crowd were presumably the more well-healed of the town’s elders.

A zombie waiter brought us our nosh promptly but with no cutlery – a halfwit in three quarter length trousers, assuming we were going to eat our food with our hands. The food was meh but at least we weren’t getting drowned outside. A few drenched over-50s appeared through the door after queueing for ten minutes before being summarily told the kitchen was now closed. The group left shaking their heads with one mumbling that he had boxed in the army as a youth – not sure if this was an idle threat but putting some of the staff onto the canvas wouldn’t have helped wake them up.

I made for the latrines only to find the urinal was fixed so high up on the wall that unless Richard Osman regularly nips in to point Percy then it is Pointless (sorry).

So we decided to pay and leave now feeling uncomfortable sat with among these Saga Louts. A Latin stunner appeared with the bill which could have cause a few cardiac arrests for the males present if they’d survived the shock of the bill in the first place of course.

Verdict: 2.5/5

Good: Latin stunner. Possibility of seeing basketball players in the gents’ toilet.


Food meh. Overpriced. Undead waiters.