Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Moving on out....


Recommended Posts

I'm finally taking the plunge to move out of London and have decided on N. Essex of all places (actually very picturesque and a short commute to the City).

However, none of the guides I have seen show much in Essex at all other than the odd pub.

Anybody got any recommendations esepcially round Chelmsford/Colchester?

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

North Essex is much under-rated, some lovely villages and decent pubs, a world away from the Thames estuary. But it is a bit of a gastronomic desert, lots of stuff that's OK but nothing special. On that front the Dickens Brasserie in Wethersfield, near Braintree, tends to be better than most. Mabey's Brasserie just over the border in Sudbury also used to be good but not sure what it is like now he has moved his main operation to Aldburgh.

Edited by britcook (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try the White Hart at Nayland which is owned by Roux and staffed from the Waterside

The White Hart Inn High Street Nayland CO6 4JF Great Britain Tel: +44 (0) 1206 263382

Also two pubs in Stoke by Nayland The Angel and The Crown? I cant remember exactly.

Farmhouse Feast restaurant, The Street, Roxwell, Chelmsford, Essex. Tel: 01245

248583 used to be great for having what was essentially home cooking in a very small restaurant but havent been for a while.

The White Hart at Great Yeldham Lovely old building great gardens and good food not overly fancy. 01787 237250 CO94HJ

The George Cavendish (just in Suffolk) 01787 280248 CO10 8BA Gastro pub but good.

The Company Shed, West Mersey for oysters etc.

Just a few sugestions to keep you going.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the suggestions...I'll let you know once I'm up there.

In the meantime, a plug for the Compasses in Pattiswick between Braintree and Coggeshall which seemed to be an enjoyable country gastropub with good wine list but it has closed for a major refurbishment due for opening in September.

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

Try this place in Chelmsford - its really rather good - don't be put off by the setting (not especially interesting looking hotel) - the guy can really cook!

www.countyhotel-essex.co.uk

PS I'm the restaurant reviewer for an Essex Magazine - here's what I had to say about The County a few months ago:

THE RESTAURANT AT THE COUNTY

CLASSIC BRITISH FOOD IN A MODERN STYLE

“If this restaurant was in London, Gary Rhodes would have a run for his money”

Something a little further afield from our usual stomping ground this month – a trip out to Chelmsford for a visit to “The Restaurant at the County”. I’ll cut to the chase – this is a really fine restaurant. If you lively locally, then lucky you! If you don’t - look it up on the map (there are directions at the website) and head out here as soon as you can.

‘The County’ is in fact part of a privately-owned hotel of the same name. The restaurant accurately describes its menu as ‘classic British food in a modern style’. Dishes change with the seasons, so in winter months you might be lucky enough to find ‘a salad of English Cox’s apple, with celeriac, walnuts and Montgomery cheddar’ (£4.95), or ‘Battered Lowestoft Cod with mushy peas and hand-cut chips’ (£10.75). We gave both of these a try. A perfect winter salad, clearly prepared to order - crisp seasonal apples, crunchy shredded celeriac in a light mayonnaise, and a wonderfully mature cheddar (all the cheeses are British and supplied by Neals Yard Dairy in Covent Garden). A thick chunk of cod was encased in perfect batter, balanced precariously on a lattice of thick, chunky homemade chips. Delicious. ‘Potato and nettle soup’ (£4.75) was uncomplicated and all the better for it. ‘Traditional Irish Stew with Spring Greens’ (£11.25) had a school-dinnerish look – but then its supposed to look like that – and the meltingly tender shoulder of lamb was cooked on the bone as it should be.

Head chef, Clive Gathercole goes to great lengths to source the best available from local producers and the enthusiastic manager Frank Green (bringing with him serious experience of working at Michelin restaurants in Scotland) makes sure all the staff taste everything on the menu so everyone understands what’s going on. You can sense a team effort here.

We were already completely bowled over….but desserts really were the icing on the cake. ‘Bakewell tart with English Custard’ (£5.75) was the real thing. And the homemade ice-creams were simply superb – we chose spiced plum, clove and coffee bean from a list of more than a dozen choices.

The winelist is a paragon of brevity and desirability, with plenty of interesting choices available by the glass and the quality of the food at THE COUNTY means it pays dividends to match your wines to your menu selection.

If this restaurant was in London, Gary Rhodes would have a run for his money. Get there before it’s discovered by the restaurant guides and it becomes impossible to get a table.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try the White Hart at Nayland which is owned by Roux and staffed from the Waterside

The White Hart Inn High Street Nayland CO6 4JF Great Britain Tel: +44 (0) 1206 263382

Also two pubs in Stoke by Nayland The Angel and The Crown? I cant remember exactly.

The White Hart at Great Yeldham Lovely old building great gardens and good food not overly fancy.  01787 237250 CO94HJ

The George Cavendish (just in Suffolk) 01787 280248  CO10 8BA Gastro pub but good.

My better half's mother lives Suffolk so we tend to venture out quite a lot when we are down there. East Anglia seems to be getting better and better each year for food aitha wealth of places worth trying in Suffolk and Norfolk. I am afraid Essex is slightly lagging behind, but it's not too far to carry on up the A12 to Suffolk. As Jeremy writes, the White Hart in Nayland is fantatsic and quite ludicrously good value for money for the quality of cooking by Carl Shillingford. A great favourite of ours. I gave serious thought about moving to Nayland because of this place when I still worked in London, and when we were considering moving out. Have a look here.

The food at the Angel in nearby Stoke-by-Nayland used to be very good but was just average when we stayed and dined there during the August bank holiday last year. In fact we spent more time at the Crown which was very popular indeed.

Also in the vicinity are Le Talbooth and the slightly cheaper Milsoms, which are owned by the same family. Can't vouch for the food here, but they have been on our to do list for some time.

A short drive further up the A12 will take you to another great favourite of ours - The Crown and Castle in Orford, which I have posted about many times before. fabulous food in lovely surroundings in a perfect little village by the sea. The bar area has been recently refurbished and they now do a rather natty line of sherries; which compliment the the Brindisa nibbles they now serve.

As luck would have it we are off to Suffolk tomorrow, so it looks like a meal out is in order. :smile:

If you need anymore and are looking to go slightly further from Colchester- just shout.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Thanks for all the suggestions.

After much house-moving pain finally ended up in the pretty village of Coggeshall and although this is a different gastronomic experience from London, there are still delights to be had. The Marks Hall farmer's market once a month usually throws up some delights, like locally made ice-cream from Hadley's farm in Earls Colne and it is so nice to go to your local farm for the Christmas turkey (free range bronze) and New Year goose. Then there is the Food Company in Marks Tey which is a sort of gastronomic supermarket albeit pricey and of course the oysters from Mersea Island and even local wines to boot.

I can thoroughly recommend the White Hart - although not perfect, this is a great country restaurant/inn with superb friendly service and quite reasonable prices. The manager treated us to extra desserts (desserts are the highpoint).

Also good is the Star at Dedham (very pretty village) but I can't recommend my local Baumann's Brasserie in Coggeshall (apparently where Peter Langan started out) - the food is overdone and unbalanced, however my wife enjoyed her christmas meal out at the White Hart in the village. The Compasses at Pattiswick has been reopened and is very nicely done out - the food seems generally good.

Off to Suffolk for my holidays this year so any more recs in the Orford/Aldeburgh/Walberswick/Saxmundham area?

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To clear up one mystery: the decline in standards at the Angel, Stoke-by-Nayland is due to the chef moving on. He now runs The Ship at Levington (just outside Ipswich) and v.good it is too (if difficult to get a table – no reservations – at peak times). Also in Ipswich Trongs does much better than average Chinese (with some v.interesting dishes among the usual suspects), hence the difficulty reserving a table.

Also in Dedham, The Sun Inn had great reviews in the nationals but more mixed feedback from the locals (this could be a good or bad thing…).

Also in my well-reviewed-but-not-yet-tried category is the Bell Hotel at Saxmundham.

Within the areas you’re looking in Suffolk, The Crown at Snape is worth a stop (about two minutes up the road from the Maltings) and The King’s Head at Southwold (on the river, rather than in town) does good fish and chips and good beer (provided you don’t have to go into the ghastly family annex type thing they use for summer overspill). You can also buy the catch fresh from the fishing huts as you walk to the pub.

On the subject of fish and chips – and fish generally – the Pier at Harwich (part of the same Milsoms group as the Dedham outlets) is also worth a trip.

Finally, if you’re travelling in season, the best asparagus I’ve ever had is from a farm on the Aldeburgh road, on the left hand side (going towards Aldeurgh) about a mile past the turn off to Snape.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also in Dedham, The Sun Inn had great reviews in the nationals but more mixed feedback from the locals (this could be a good or bad thing…).

I visited the Sun Inn on a holiday in the area earlier last year and would recommend it. We went first on the Saturday afternoon with friends from the US who were duly knocked-out by the beautiful building in an attractive village with a view of an unusual church tower. Unlike many 'gastropubs' the staff were more than happy for us to hog a big wooden table and just drink at lunchtime and were under no pressure to order food. The range and quality of real ales was good.

We enjoyed the experience (and were tempted by the menu so much) that we walked over there the next day for a late Sunday lunch with extended family. Again, staff were helpful and welcoming and accommodated the needs of a picky small child with no problems. Good modern british food, bright flavours and fresh ingredients.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also in Dedham, The Sun Inn had great reviews in the nationals but more mixed feedback from the locals (this could be a good or bad thing…).

Sorry...I meant the Sun not the Star. The food was good without being up there with the best gastropubs. The wine list was very good - I had an Isole e Olena Chianti Classico for about £20 which given the retail price of about £13 is not bad at all!

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

New review for all you Essex boys!

West Mersea is well known for the Company Shed - the no license, bring your own bread and butter seafood shack. I'm still to try it, but instead draw your attention to a nearby contender which has the advantage of a short but decent wine list plus all the accoutrements of a normal restaurant including reservations: The West Mersea Oyster Company on the Coast Road (no number that I could see but you should be able to find it quite easily nestled among the boatyards)

Management Summary: Best Fish and Chips I have ever had. Not that I am a particular expert but these were leagues ahead of anything I have had. The batter was made using the local West Mersea ale and was more in the tempura style - very light and crisp and the Cod was as fresh as you like with some definable flavour. Nice chunky chips.

Also available are oysters by the half dozen of various sizes - impeccably fresh and sweet. And a creamy clam chowder and various seafood platters and lobster and chips - no desserts other than local goats milk ice cream. Ambience is rustic unspoilt seaside shack and service is friendly. Take away oysters etc also possible.

Next week I'll report back on the Mistley Thorn (Essex's only Bib Gourmand)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if anyone is reading this thread or if there are any Egulleteers in Essex at all...but for the record, here are some views on the Mistley Thorn. Please tell me I'm not alone out here....

Mistley is a small village beyond Manningtree in one of those back of beyond parts of Essex which have a slightly weird feel to them. Even weirder that the only restaurant with a Bib Gourmand in Essex should be here.

Mistley Thorn is a recently converted pub/restaurant/hotel close to the Stour river estuary - nicely done out with muted tones. There is an associated cookery school next door run by the Canadian owner Sherri who also runs the restaurant.

First impressions of the menu were that it's not going to set the world alight, but the prices were gentle - around £10 for mains. The wine list looked a little expensive. We started with a Tokay Pinot Gris from the Turckheim co-op which was £20 and followed with an Au Bon Climat Pinot for £37.50.

I had smoked sprats with horseradish sauce followed by crabcakes. Other starters included mussels cooked with wine,coriander and lemon and a Cashel Blue souffle. Other mains were Duck Confit and Venison with root vegetables. My sprats were whole, so there was a bit of filletting to be done but the flavour was good and the crabcakes were delicious although small and there were only two of them. Nice salad accompaniments tasted as though they were fresh from the garden. The Duck was very tasty but the Venison was pronounced a little tough.

I then shared a plate of cheese with my friend - this was excellent - the cheeses nicely matured served with a variety of crackers and slices of apple.

Desserts were OK - we split a whisky semifreddo and Sherri's Mum's cheesecake (of the baked variety).

With all the trimmings etc the total bill was £130 for 4 adults and 2 children (there was a children's menu but don't remember the details).

You are unlikely to be going through Mistley on the way to anywhere (perhaps to Harwich for the ferry) but if you wanted a stop off on the way to Suffolk it is probably about 10 minutes from the A12 and not a bad option.

Next week a report on the Devere Arms in Earls Colne (2 AA rosettes but does that mean much??)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As promised I went to the Devere Arms in Earls Colne - another attractive North Essex village a few miles north of Coggeshall. As mentioned this has two rosettes in the AA guide for what it's worth - I would say it is worth it or probably more.

This is both a restaurant and a hotel done out in a sort of "Country Modern" style. I was a little bemused by the whole "sit down in the lounge while you peruse the menu and nibble on canapes" type thing which I hadn't experienced for a while but a relaxing start to the meal. At least it was until I saw the wine prices - these are London markups e.g. Dr. Loosen basic riesling (£5.99 in sainsburys) for £18.95 and some very expensive basic Burgundys at the £50 mark. Finally found a Castello Volpaia Chianti Classico for £28 - which reminded me of my lunch there last summer.

Perusal over, we moved to the restaurant proper which is painted a rather strong red colour but generally had a nice feel to it. Starters duly arrived - Salmon and Squid ballotine with citrus dressing and Red Mullet with Tomato concasse-thing and green beans. Presentation was impressive and the taste also impressed - although the tomato stuff was maybe too strong and too much with the mullet, all elements had a delicious flavour. The ballotine was a little cool but again tasty.

Main courses were Gressingham Duck with rosti and vegetable accompaniments - I had the venison. Both were again beautifully presented and the quality of the meat excellent - flavours strong and clear. My wife pronounced her duck as the best she had had in a long time.

On to desserts with which we ordered a glass of Willi Opitz beerenauslese. I had Assiette of pineapple with Cardamom pannacotta. This comprised pineapple sorbet, spiced pineapple puree and the pannacotta surrounded by pineapple dice - pannacotta was of the right degree of wobbliness. Other half had Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice-cream - unusual in that it consisted of a whole apple sitting in a pastry 'cup' - tasted delicious.

Wine geek note - wine was served in Schott Zwiesel glasses which is better than the usual rubbish though obviously not as good as Riedel.

All in all an excellent meal which could not be faulted at the level it was aimed at; although not michelin-star-bothering, this was beautifully presented tasty food. At the current 'bargain' price of £25 for 3 courses instead of £35 this is a good bet if you're in the area monday to thursday

http://www.deverearms.com

Edited by Gavin Convery (log)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As promised I went to the Devere Arms in Earls Colne - another attractive North Essex village a few miles north of Coggeshall. As mentioned this has two rosettes in the AA guide for what it's worth - I would say it is worth it or probably more.

This is both a restaurant and a hotel done out in a sort of "Country Modern" style. I was a little bemused by the whole "sit down in the lounge while you peruse the menu and nibble on canapes" type thing which I hadn't experienced for a while but a relaxing start to the meal. At least it was until I saw the wine prices - these are London markups e.g. Dr. Loosen basic riesling (£5.99 in sainsburys) for £18.95 and some very expensive basic Burgundys at the £50 mark. Finally found a Castello Volpaia Chianti Classico for £28 - which reminded me of my lunch there last summer.

Perusal over, we moved to the restaurant proper which is painted a rather strong red colour but generally had a nice feel to it. Starters duly arrived - Salmon and Squid ballotine with citrus dressing and Red Mullet with Tomato concasse-thing and green beans. Presentation was impressive and the taste also impressed - although the tomato stuff was maybe too strong and too much with the mullet, all elements had a delicious flavour. The ballotine was a little cool but again tasty.

Main courses were Gressingham Duck with rosti and vegetable accompaniments - I had the venison. Both were again beautifully presented and the quality of the meat excellent - flavours strong and clear. My wife pronounced her duck as the best she had had in a long time.

On to desserts with which we ordered a glass of Willi Opitz beerenauslese. I had Assiette of pineapple with Cardamom pannacotta. This comprised pineapple sorbet, spiced pineapple puree and the pannacotta surrounded by pineapple dice - pannacotta was of the right degree of wobbliness. Other half had Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice-cream - unusual in that it consisted of a whole apple sitting in a pastry 'cup' - tasted delicious.

Wine geek note - wine was served in Schott Zwiesel glasses which is better than the usual rubbish though obviously not as good as Riedel.

All in all an excellent meal which could not be faulted at the level it was aimed at; although not michelin-star-bothering, this was beautifully presented tasty food. At the current 'bargain' price of £25 for 3 courses instead of £35 this is a good bet if you're in the area monday to thursday

http://www.deverearms.com

i'm new to this so excuse me if is is illegible. i've been to mistley thorne a number of times and have yet to be impressed - seriously overcooked tuna, bottled teryaki sauce, burnt chips, raw lamb burger, five different components on a dish of well made venison stew, slow service, £20 cash profit on the au bon climat pinot?!$!? i remember reading sprats and horseradish in the anchor and hope threads.

On your review of the devere arms, £35 per head seems a lot for this neck of the woods. :hmmm:

try the beehive at horringer, the ship at levington, crown and castle at orford, mogul curry house at manningtree can be great but can be indifferent, new to colchester is east meets west which has thai cooks cooking very fresh clean food or alternatively try sun inn at dedham. i am slightly biased in that i'm the owner but i am now cooking full time after too much inconsistency with previous head chefs which probably explains why locals give mixed reports - hopefully not anymore!

bakersestates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As promised I went to the Devere Arms in Earls Colne - another attractive North Essex village a few miles north of Coggeshall. As mentioned this has two rosettes in the AA guide for what it's worth - I would say it is worth it or probably more.

This is both a restaurant and a hotel done out in a sort of "Country Modern" style. I was a little bemused by the whole "sit down in the lounge while you peruse the menu and nibble on canapes" type thing which I hadn't experienced for a while but a relaxing start to the meal. At least it was until I saw the wine prices - these are London markups e.g. Dr. Loosen basic riesling (£5.99 in sainsburys) for £18.95 and some very expensive basic Burgundys at the £50 mark. Finally found a Castello Volpaia Chianti Classico for £28 - which reminded me of my lunch there last summer.

Perusal over, we moved to the restaurant proper which is painted a rather strong red colour but generally had a nice feel to it. Starters duly arrived - Salmon and Squid ballotine with citrus dressing and Red Mullet with Tomato concasse-thing and green beans. Presentation was impressive and the taste also impressed - although the tomato stuff was maybe too strong and too much with the mullet, all elements had a delicious flavour. The ballotine was a little cool but again tasty.

Main courses were Gressingham Duck with rosti and vegetable accompaniments - I had the venison. Both were again beautifully presented and the quality of the meat excellent - flavours strong and clear. My wife pronounced her duck as the best she had had in a long time.

On to desserts with which we ordered a glass of Willi Opitz beerenauslese. I had Assiette of pineapple with Cardamom pannacotta. This comprised pineapple sorbet, spiced pineapple puree and the pannacotta surrounded by pineapple dice - pannacotta was of the right degree of wobbliness. Other half had Tarte Tatin with vanilla ice-cream - unusual in that it consisted of a whole apple sitting in a pastry 'cup' - tasted delicious.

Wine geek note - wine was served in Schott Zwiesel glasses which is better than the usual rubbish though obviously not as good as Riedel.

All in all an excellent meal which could not be faulted at the level it was aimed at; although not michelin-star-bothering, this was beautifully presented tasty food. At the current 'bargain' price of £25 for 3 courses instead of £35 this is a good bet if you're in the area monday to thursday

http://www.deverearms.com

i'm new to this so excuse me if is is illegible. i've been to mistley thorne a number of times and have yet to be impressed - seriously overcooked tuna, bottled teryaki sauce, burnt chips, raw lamb burger, five different components on a dish of well made venison stew, slow service, £20 cash profit on the au bon climat pinot?!$!? i remember reading sprats and horseradish in the anchor and hope threads.

On your review of the devere arms, £35 per head seems a lot for this neck of the woods. :hmmm:

try the beehive at horringer, the ship at levington, crown and castle at orford, mogul curry house at manningtree can be great but can be indifferent, new to colchester is east meets west which has thai cooks cooking very fresh clean food or alternatively try sun inn at dedham. i am slightly biased in that i'm the owner but i am now cooking full time after too much inconsistency with previous head chefs which probably explains why locals give mixed reports - hopefully not anymore!

bakersestates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

bakerstates- welcome.

We often venture down to Suffolk as the Mother in Law :wacko: lives in a village just outside Stowmarket. I have read good things about The Beehive too and we are regular visitors to the Crown and Castle :smile: Back down to Sufflok in late February, so we may well try to pop to Dedham.

Cheers

Bapi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm new to this so excuse me if is is illegible. i've been to mistley thorne a number of times and have yet to be impressed - seriously overcooked tuna, bottled teryaki sauce, burnt chips, raw lamb burger, five different components on a dish of well made venison stew, slow service, £20 cash profit on the au bon climat pinot?!$!? i remember reading sprats and horseradish in the anchor and hope threads.

On your review of the devere arms, £35 per head seems a lot for this neck of the woods. :hmmm:

try the beehive at horringer, the ship at levington, crown and castle at orford, mogul curry house at manningtree can be great but can be indifferent, new to colchester is east meets west which has thai cooks cooking very fresh clean food or alternatively try sun inn at dedham. i am slightly biased in that i'm the owner but i am now cooking full time after too much inconsistency with previous head chefs which probably explains why locals give mixed reports - hopefully not anymore!

bakersestates

Welcome on board bakersestates...I would agree that the Mistley Thorne wasn't as good as I hoped. At £15 retail the markup on the Au Bon Climat PN is 2.5...well it's less than London which is what I'm used to.

Re the Devere Arms: Maybe £35 is quite a lot but as I only paid £25, for the quality of the cooking I thought it good value. Again the winelist was expensive.

I've been to your restaurant and enjoyed it - your winelist is exceptionally generous and an interesting selection - you obviously like wine - Liberty Wine has a good list ;-). As I mentioned somewhere above I had the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico. I would have some small criticisms of the cooking - a one of focus more than anything compared to other gastropubs I've been to (mostly in London - I'm a newbie to the area).

Thanks for the recommendations and a link to your website here :biggrin:

http://www.thesuninndedham.com/

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm new to this so excuse me if is is illegible. i've been to mistley thorne a number of times and have yet to be impressed - seriously overcooked tuna, bottled teryaki sauce, burnt chips, raw lamb burger, five different components on a dish of well made venison stew, slow service, £20 cash profit on the au bon climat pinot?!$!? i remember reading sprats and horseradish in the anchor and hope threads.

On your review of the devere arms, £35 per head seems a lot for this neck of the woods. :hmmm:

try the beehive at horringer, the ship at levington, crown and castle at orford, mogul curry house at manningtree can be great but can be indifferent, new to colchester is east meets west which has thai cooks cooking very fresh clean food or alternatively try sun inn at dedham. i am slightly biased in that i'm the owner but i am now cooking full time after too much inconsistency with previous head chefs which probably explains why locals give mixed reports - hopefully not anymore!

bakersestates

Welcome on board bakersestates...I would agree that the Mistley Thorne wasn't as good as I hoped. At £15 retail the markup on the Au Bon Climat PN is 2.5...well it's less than London which is what I'm used to.

Re the Devere Arms: Maybe £35 is quite a lot but as I only paid £25, for the quality of the cooking I thought it good value. Again the winelist was expensive.

I've been to your restaurant and enjoyed it - your winelist is exceptionally generous and an interesting selection - you obviously like wine - Liberty Wine has a good list ;-). As I mentioned somewhere above I had the Isole e Olena Chianti Classico. I would have some small criticisms of the cooking - a one of focus more than anything compared to other gastropubs I've been to (mostly in London - I'm a newbie to the area).

Thanks for the recommendations and a link to your website here :biggrin:

http://www.thesuninndedham.com/

i look at cash margin once wines are over £16 because i feel it represents better value for the general punter and gets those who do know their wine trading up because its a bargin. what do you mean - by I would have some small criticisms of the cooking - a one of focus more than anything compared to other gastropubs I've been to (mostly in London - I'm a newbie to the area).

bakerestates

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Time to bring this back to the top...;-)

I went to Le Talbooth for Sunday lunch last weekend. Le Talbooth is part of the Milsom groups of restaurants which includes Milsoms (no!) and the Pier at Harwich.

Le Talbooth is in an attractive medieval style building by the banks of a river (not sure which one) not far from the pretty Suffolk village of Dedham. The car park is full of the toys of the nouveau riche (red Rolls-Royce!) and a good proportion of the diners probably come into that category. As I belong to the class of vieux pauvre I am entitled to mock.

Friendly Maitre d' greets us at the door and fusses over my two girls (les filles!!) - then we are treated to the old sitting in the lounge while you wait for your drinks and menus and while we prepare the table routine. OK we were a little bit late, but after an hour of waiting we are starting to get twitchy (especially with a 3 year old in tow) - fortunately we despatched les filles outside for a look at the ducks while we waited.

Eventually we get to our table, and as I'm bored with all this writing, I'm moving into bullet point mode:

- waiting staff are mostly polish and a little amateurish

- the bread man missed me out and rushed off before I could remonstrate

- excellent winelist furnished by Lay and Wheeler (top essex wine merchant)

- Bottle of Vergelegen Vergelegen ordered - not as good as I hoped. I would have preferred some of the excellent Rhones on the list but it was my friend's birthday and his choice.

- Starter of duck and foie gras (fresh) salad was good.

- Main course of duck (again!) with beetroot 'confit' and jasmine jus was ok, not very exciting.

- Dessert of Vanilla cheesecake (poor and solid) and rhubarb sorbet (excellent)

- Bottle of Klein Constantia Vin de Constance was excellent and unusual.

- All the SA wines are imported by the restaurant.

Overall this was an average experience not particularly cheap £28.50 - other than the winelist there was a lack of interest all round. The loudmouth geezer in the red Rolls-Royce loved it though...

Just a quick note on my favourite Fish restaurant - the West Mersea Oyster Cafe. Friends down from London who eat at Ollies and the Sea Cow in SE London agreed that this was much better - "I can't see that you could get better Fish and Chips than this" Fabulous.

I've found out where the Company Shed is now (just down the road from the above) so I'll hopefully report back soon on that.

Edited by Gavin Convery (log)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another place for you to try is China Chef on Crouch Street in Colchester. My wife ate there recently with some friends and she was really impressed. Standard chineses menu but cooked very well, clean, fresh etc. Service excellent and lovely atmosphere also.

One of my waitresses and manageresses has also recently tried The Silk Road on queen street in Colchester - Thai. Again, really well cooked fresh food. Both these people have spend a good bit of time in Thailand and said it was the real deal.

As for me, I still in the kitchen so don't get to eat out much (The Eagle, Farringdon Road, London, for skate, roast potatoes and anchionade in January) but did have a great burger at a roadside trailer in my local hardware store run by a West Indian chap - really hot deep chilli sauce and lots of crunchy slices of vegetables.

bakerestes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

There seems to be a mini-gastro haven developing just over the border in Suffolk. In Nayland there is the Roux owned White Hart - exceptional service, food good but a little old-fashioned, the Anchor in a lovely position by the river (it has its own smokehouse, haven't been there yet) then just up the hill in Stoke-by-Nayland is the Angel and the Crown.

I went to the Crown on Saturday for lunch. This is nicely done out self-styled gastropub in a beautiful location overlooking the Suffolk countryside. The interior is spacious and is trendy country casual. I'll talk about the food first before I get to the interesting thing about this place.

Food is good using lots of local ingredients although my starter of smoked eel with beetroot, horseradish, leaves and egg was more an assemblage of ingredients slightly underseasoned. Main course of rib-eye steak brought a delicious piece of steak which almost reminded me of the Steak I had in Tuscany last year, accompaniments were nice salad and excellent chunky chips. Dessert was an average English Vanilla cream - a pannacotta by any other name.

Now to the wine. First thing to note is that this pub is part-owned by one of the directors of Lay and Wheeler and most of the winelist focuses on those wines you could get from their excellent shop in Colchester. On the food menu is a recommendation for each course of what might go with what and with 28 wines by the glass it is easy to match most of these course by course. I went off piste to have a Macon from top producer Verget while my other half had the recommended La Strada NZ chardonnay - both excellent. Main course we went with the menu and had the delicious bordeaux-alike Vasse Felix Cab/Merlot. Unfortunately they had run out of Coteaux du Layon for dessert.

But that is not the best of it - in the corner is a mini-Lay and Wheelers enclosed by glass walls. You go in the shop and maybe get a couple of bottles to take home or maybe you fancy one of the bottles with your lunch. At the higher levels there are NO MARKUPS at all! How about Chateau Canon 99 at £30 or Cote Rotie from Rostaing at £32 - same price whether you drink in our out. Or for dessert what about this - Chateau D'Yquem 95 1/2 bottle at £75 - 95 was an excellent year for Yquem. Last time I drank Yquem (at Le Gavroche) I paid £75 a glass (it was a special occasion!). Suffice to say I was wetting myself but unfortunately couldn't justify buying a bottle between the 2 of us especially as I was driving. I shall have to return with some wine-loving friends......soon.

For those of you en route to the Suffolk coast (Bapi?) this is a 15 minute detour off the A12 at Colchester....but it could be worth making a whole weekend of it and get to know the Essex/Suffolk borders - heaven on earth IMHO.

Edited by Gavin Convery (log)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Gavin.

We, er, may have had a little trip to Orford on the Suffolk coast a couple of weeks back. :smile:

I think I said above that we really loved the Crown, much more so than the Angel where we were staying. The atmosphere and feel of the place was fabulous and the staff cheery and gracious on our visit. I noticed the glass encased winestore and liked it as a feature, but fear we didn't manage to give the wine list a decent outing on that occasion. Shame on me. But thanks for the heads up for future visits. If the Crown could incoroprate rooms as well, it would certainly give the nearby Angel and the White Hart a run for their money.

Edited by Bapi (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Well Essex keeps turning up these surprising places. Tried The Barn Brasserie at Great Tey (a few minutes off the A12 near Colchester). Great building, huge barn conversion, grade II listed and lots of people. It is what it says, a brasserie, so it's mostly grills, my first impression was of an upmarket Berni (for those who remember!), but that doesn't do it justice. My starter of teriyaki seared tuna loin was just perfect with that little spritz of ginger on the edge, crispy noodles were a bit pointless though. The smoked duck and venison terrine looked excellent, well defined pieces of meat, apparently tasted pretty good as did the smoked salmon and prawn roulades (all around a fiver). Not complex or cutting edge but decent food done well. Mains were a chateaubriand with bearnaise and fondant potatoes, perfectly executed and the night's special, venison with a chocolate based sauce was just what was expected. The assorted dessert plate was a little disappointing, although the individual desserts were surprising good. Decent wine list (Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blance at £35 although we had the rather fine 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Dillons Vineyard at less than £20. We tried the recommended red of the night, 2001 Rioja Crianza, Marques De La Concordia at £19 which was a fit and suitable accompaniment for the chateaubriand.

Service was impeccable, worked on the team basis, and only at the end (a half bottle of Essenzia seemed to have difficulty finding our table, although assorted other Muscats did not) did it fall apart a little.

Other than on Saturday night they have 3 course specials for £9.99, which given the overall quality seems like a bit of a bargain.

The Barn Brasserie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Britcook - it's just round the corner from me. I'd heard a few mixed reports about it but I may give it a go now. The Rioja sounds a bit expensive as I think it's a fiver in the shops but the Cloudy Bay SB is not too bad a price.

Wow! just looked at their winelist and they have Petrus,Margaux and Latour among others - an ambitious Brasserie winelist - must be all those minted East End gangsters who have moved out here

Edited by Gavin Convery (log)

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...