Emsworth, popular with sailors, artists, naturalists and walkers, boasts two tidal millponds as well as being on the sea.
The town has a long connection with oyster fishing and boat building, the latter continuing to this day.
Visitors naturally migrate to the attractive harbour with its walks, as well as for its fine, individual food shops and non-branded stores.
Tucked around the corner from the harbour and just off one of the town’s main streets is Flintstones, the only café near the water.
A tiny two-tiered place within a stone and beamed building, its inside whitewashed walls give the illusion of Greece but there the scant similarity ends, thanks to a large Union Jack hanging from the ceiling above a tiny kitchen.
A sign reads: ‘We don’t do fast food but we serve good food as fast as we can’.
The territory is a natural home to the Keep Calm and Eat Cake brigade, a large choice of slices, cupcakes, tortes and brownies on the counter and in the chill cabinet dividing kitchen and eating area.
Green wooden chairs, pine tables and a few Paris café scenes are the sum of its parts, ordering at the tiny counter the name of the game once armed with your table number.
Once seated, look up. You are not alone. Odd life-size cardboard figures perch on rafters, a macabre guardian angel feel to them.
The menu is a familiar one: jackets filled with cheese and beans; tuna mayo; ham; prawn mayo and chilli con carne. There are ploughman’s, salads at £7.25, baguettes, bacon and brie or brie and cranberry with a fresh Flintstones salad from £4.50. They do a fine line in toasted bagels, a smoked salmon and cream cheese amongst them. Things on toast – beans, spaghetti, cheese – finish the printed list, other specials pinned up go down the nothing-to-frighten-the-horses lines, one of them that bagel with a glass of wine, good value at £9.25.
There’s a breakfast menu too, served until 11.45am, a full-English at £5.75. Breakfast bagels are priced at £4.25.
The seasonally opening café also offers afternoon teas, cream ones with scones, toasted teacakes, crumpets plus extras. New Forest sundaes and soft vanilla ice cream sundaes are further summer treats.
The chef and young family member serve with charm, chatty friendliness and swiftness. A warm, toasty bagel came on an oval platter with cream cheese, smoked salmon, cucumber, coleslaw, grated carrot and a green salad, an assembly job in the making. All ingredients were fine and dandy, the salad the only tired mound but, despite this, the dish was comforting and moreish, the wine a decent, pleasant glassful.
A chocolate slice finished off a pleasant visit.
Get there early at lunchtimes on sunny days if seeking to sit outside on one of the few tables and chairs lining the building, or pick up some food and drink to take onto the harbour walkway if seating is taken.
Flintstones adds to the timeless qualities of Emsworth. My bill came to just over £12.
Flintstones, The Flint Barn, South Street, Emsworth PO10 7EQ
Open: 9am – 5pm every day. Check for winter openings
Food: Three (out of five)
How to get there: Take the A27 to Emsworth. At the main town roundabout with the anchor, take the town centre signs and turn right down South Street. Park in the car park on the right and walk down to the harbour, Flinstones is on the right past 36 On The Quay restaurant.