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Gourmet on the Go!

Gourmet on the Go!
When not slaving away with only Twitter and mad dog for company, I occasionally have a 'life.' This usually entails cooking for friends, trying far too many wines, and the occasional entire day out. I will post my ramblings, recipes and recommendations here on the 'Gourmet on the Go' blog. Hope you find something of interest!


February 5, 2013

Valentine’s Day – 5 Top Essex Restaurants with Rooms

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 3:47 pm

You may poo-hoo Valentines Day as a commercially led day of forced romanticism… Well let’s face it, Mothers day, Fathers day, your Birthday, Christmas Day, they’re all commercial, yet a time for celebration, and why not? If you want to make your loved one feel special, to set aside a night of dining and, well, romanticism, here are some suggestions for local restaurants with rooms, after all, if you’re going to do something, you may as well do it well…

The Bell Inn – Horndon on the Hill

The Bell Inn - Horndon on the HillThe first benchmark ‘gastro pub’ in Essex, The Bell has character, history, and it’s a classic. Based in the small Essex village of Horndon, The Bell is a get away from it all destination, it’s like going back in time, a big sigh of stress release. Think open fires, original well worn timber structures, warmth and hospitality, in keeping with its 18th century history.

The dishes here are comforting, yet refined; they sit pretty on the plate. The menu is classically inspired and draws influence from French, and Italian cuisines, with just a hint of Japanese and Indian, as well as, and not least, the best of British. Changes are made to the menu daily, although you can of course see today’s menu (pdf) on their website.

The rooms have individual character, all comfortable and colourful, with some well thought out surprises – whatever you fancy – from 2 floors where you can lounge, before climbing the spiral staircase to sprawl; a room with a pretty four-poster bed and an amazing view of the distant fields; a crackling open fire, or a free-standing roll top bath, just waiting to be filled.

Le Bouchon – Heybridge,Maldon

Le Bouchon – Heybridge,MaldonA grade II listed building, recently modernised and refurbished into a ‘boutique’ hotel and brasserie. The executive head chef, Jonathan Brown, has won many local accolades, including ‘Essex Chef of the Year’ in his former residence as chef/patron of the Ducane Arms in Great Braxted. This is a place to relax and unwind, eat well and chat intimately in the spacious restaurant area without fear of being overheard.

As you would expect from a brasserie, the menu draws upon classic French dishes, adding just a few modern twists of flavour and technique, whilst respecting what is good. Jonathan is an ingredients man, so you can expect full flavoured cuts of local meat, game and poultry, and beautifully fresh fish and seafood. Check out their menu here.

The rooms are modern, comfortable, and femininely attractive, with hints of French regency in the furniture. Flock wallpaper, rustic open timber, rich coloured cushions and satin throws, and even showers big enough for two…

1935 Rooftop Restaurant & Bar & Holiday Inn(!) – Southend Airport

1935 Rooftop Restaurant & Bar & Holiday Inn – Southend AirportThis completely sound proofed hotel and rooftop restaurant opened in October 2012, following a £10 million build. With views over the surrounding airport, you can watch the planes land and depart into the night sky. Still a reasonably quiet airport, the panoramic views at night are quite beautiful. It’s just a quick stroll from the railway station too, so one for the non-drivers, or those that like a champagne breakfast.

The head chef, Kieron Moore was classically trained under Marco Pierre White, and brings with him a wealth of experience. The simple seasonal menu features a number of traditional Brit dishes – taken up a notch, well aged steaks, and some wonderful slow cooked and braised warmers. Fish and seafood lovers may be a little disappointed in the choice available, which is a shame, as there is so much local seafood available in the area. You can check out their menu on this page (pdf).

For a Holiday Inn, the rooms shift away from the typical hamster cage feel, and offer warmth and modern comfort. Of course, they are designed for work, rest and play, although if you want a little more luxury, upgrade to a ‘king superior’ room and leave the work behind. This Holiday Inn is also dog friendly, if you want to treat your pooch to a night away from it all… This excites me; it shouldn’t, though it does!

The Mistley Thorn – Mistley, near Manningtree

The Mistley Thorn – Mistley, near ManningtreeThe coastal village of Mistley is charming, peaceful and very pretty. Perched on the River Stour Estuary, the architecture is rich in Georgian and Victorian style. It’s the kind of place that you would want to stay overnight and book the next day off to walk around the quay, surrounding woodlands, independent cafes and shops, and of course, the swan fountain, which happens to be just opposite the warm and inviting Mistley Thorn.

The Thorn was the first Essex restaurant to receive the bib gourmand Michelin accolade for good cuisine at a reasonable price. As a coastal restaurant, the menu specialises in fantastic local fresh fish, simple dishes with an emphasis on flavour. If you want to get your teeth into something meatier, the steaks are from Red Poll beef – nice. Online sample menu is here (pdf).

The rooms offer classic comfort and scenic views. Large baths and power showers, king size and super king beds; the Thorn provides understated luxury in a beautiful setting. They take breakfast seriously too, which is always a welcome bonus.

The Bull & Willow Room – Great Totham

The Bull & Willow Room – Great TothamThis restored 16th century Inn, surrounded by rural views, offers both relaxed informal dining in the pub area, and finer dining in the restaurant area, where you can don your glad rags and bathe under the soft light of the candelabras. Dean Ager will be making an appearance on Valentine’s evening with his crooning Rat Pack show.

The menu celebrates the best cuts of meat, prime seafood and interesting twists on flavour. The ingredients are sourced from some of the best local farms and suppliers. You can view their valentines menu here (pdf).

The rooms are housed in a renovated cottage on the grounds. They are comfortable, individually styled, finished with simple and contemporary furnishings, and offer great views over the surrounding countryside. A decent breakfast is served in the ‘gastro’ bar, come the morning, I wonder how much you have to tip to get room service?

September 13, 2010

Fresh One TV Productions are looking for local restaurants in the Essex area

Filed under: Celebrations & Events — Tags: , , , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 7:39 pm

Fresh One ProductionsA unique opportunity to transform your restaurant into the success
that you have always dreamt it could be…

Fresh One Productions, owned by Jamie Oliver, are offering you an amazing opportunity to have one of the nation’s top restaurant consultants work with you to offer help, advice and guidance, to be filmed for a television series for Five.

This brand new television series is about helping independent restaurateurs to survive in these tough economic times and to capitalise on their strengths; giving you all the necessary help to turn around your fortunes.

With his extensive top London restaurant experience and his customer service know-how, their expert will be on hand to give advice on how to make your business work to its full potential to give you the edge over your competitors.

They are writing to restaurants up and down the country looking for candidates for the series and are really keen to feature a wide range of establishments and cuisines.

If you are passionate about your restaurant but could use some expert help to make your dream survive, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Email with details of your business, or call 020 3375 5163 for more information. Do contact as soon as you can as they are casting immediately.

June 25, 2010

Where’s Best to Eat Alfresco in Essex?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — gourmet-on-the-go @ 4:44 pm

alfresco-dining-in-essexAh, at last, the skies have cleared, the sun is shining and torsos are on display wherever you may roam.  Yes!  Summer is here at last!

Think long languorous afternoons spent in a beautiful pub garden with the family, or romantic evenings watching the sun set whilst a gentle breeze skims your body.  Right off this Mills & Boon track and onto the reason for my ramblings; I want alfresco good food and great wine in a beaut setting – Now!!  If you do too, here are some fabulous pubs and restaurants to visit in Essex, where good food, pleasant service and picturesque surroundings are assured.


The Fishmarket
A secluded Mediterranean style terrace at the side of The Fishmarket is really a lovely setting to enjoy their delicious food – you will feel a world away, and want to return again and again.


The Magic Mushroom
The small terrace at the back of the Magic Mushroom is pleasant and serene.  If you are looking for a sophisticated setting and food to match, The Magic Mushroom will not disappoint.


The County Hotel
A small terrace at the back of the County Hotel provides a chic and informal place to wine and dine the day or night away.  Whether you just want a small snack, afternoon tea, or a substantial seasonal offering, the County provides a serene haven from the bustling Town.


The Dedham Boathouse
You will be hard pressed to beat the magnificent views from the terrace at The Dedham Boathouse, this is Constable Country at its finest.  As fabulous during the day as it is spectacular at night, with great food to boot.


The Azuma
The Azuma has a small terrace to the side which provides a cool setting to enjoy their Thai and Indian cuisine.  A great place to eat well and unwind.  The adjacent children’s grassed play area makes it ideal for family lunches.

Horndon on the hill

The Bell
The small terrace at the back of the Bell is a great place to while away the hours whilst you enjoy some the fabulous food, wine and beer they have on offer.  Quaint, pretty, tranquil and pleasant.


The Plough & Sail
A proper country pub within a pretty setting, the large well tended garden will take you away from it all.  There is a play area for children and a good menu of traditional pub favourites and specials to be enjoyed.


The Fishermans Wharf
Just up high enough to enjoy views of the Estuary, The Fishermans Wharf has a small number of alfresco tables.  During hot days, they open up the front to provide a fresh informal setting.  Great fish and chips and more adventurous seafood dishes are available.  A favourite for families.


The Bear
A pleasant garden awaits at The Bear in the beautiful village of Stock.  Away from the sometimes busy main road, you can sit back, relax and enjoy excellent food and drink, whilst gazing on the pretty duck pond.  Family friendly.

Thorpe Bay

The Roslin Beach
The large terrace at the front of The Roslin Beach is a beautiful sun trap with fabulous views over the estuary.  You can enjoy a light salad, snack or full blown dinner, although get there earlier as it can get very busy.  Families welcomed and children’s menu available.


The Crowded House
There is a small alfresco area at the front of the Crowded House, the view is not up to much, although the buzzing atmosphere and superb simple food more than make up for that.

Enjoy!   From Essex Gourmet – your tried and trusted guide to the very best of local food and drink.

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