Can a café have a sense of humour? If so, Aardvark Tea Room and Gallery in St Leonards-on-Sea, on England’s south coast, is the place, says bestselling author and blogger Maggie Alderson.

Described by its pinny-sporting proprietors Lesley Greening Lassoff and Pea Crabtree as the ‘home of wonky chic’, diners are attracted inside The Aardvark Tea Room and Gallery by stunning window displays, which have featured a knitted tea tray – including a plate of perfectly-formed woollen biscuits – and the Seven Deadly Sins rendered in babygros, by artist Kate Talbot. Exhibits on sale inside include gift boxes made from vintage LP covers and a dirty stopout toothbrush that doubles as a bangle.

After moving down from London, Lesley and Pea – both from mixed artistic backgrounds which have included teaching art and being a blacksmith – opened the seafront tea room because they wanted somewhere ‘bright and funky’ they could go.

The result is the latest addition to the town, adjoining the better-known Hastings, which has been recently described in the UK press as ‘Shoreditch-on-Sea’, for its burgeoning artistic population, vintage shops, galleries and cafes.

The combination of fresh wholesome food, home-made cakes, and witty and original one-off items, which they describe as ‘sustainable souvenirs’, with Lesley and Pea’s warm humour have won it an instant cult following.

Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 5.30 pm at 40a Marina, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.