MASTERCARD TO PROVIDE FREE FOOD FOR DINERS!

Thank you to Talker Tailor for the following content.

Mastercard teams up with OpenTable to pick up the bill for diners giving them Priceless Surprises throughout September as part of Dine Local restaurant month

Throughout September OpenTable and Mastercard will be celebrating Dine Local, a month-long homage to dining out, with more than 200 restaurants offering special offers, set menus and added value offerings to diners across the UK and Ireland.

As part of this, Mastercard and OpenTable have also teamed up to surprise and delight lucky diners at 30 restaurants in 30 days across the UK and Ireland with the chance to eat and drink for free* in one of the participating Dine Local restaurants. Every evening during September, Mastercard will treat diners, who are in the right place at the right time, with a Priceless Surprise by paying their bill including food and soft drinks at one of the restaurants taking part in the wider Dine Local campaign.

The UK’s dining industry has experienced a hard few months and whilst diners are showing confidence in eating out again, the Dine Local campaign has been initiated to encourage people to continue to dine out and support their local restaurants and community going forward.

Additionally, as part of the campaign restaurants across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin will offer limited-time, great-value specials to showcase their menus and attract diners. Restaurants get the chance to reconnect with their loyal clientele while attracting new diners to take part in an uplifting local initiative, and diners have a unique opportunity to try out neighbourhood gems while supporting local restaurants. Visit www.opentable.co.uk/restaurantweek to discover the Dine Local restaurants taking part and the special menus available.

The first Priceless Surprise will take place in Hertfordshire on 1st September, before moving to London then across the country to bring truly Priceless moments to diners. OpenTable asks diners to book and support the Dine Local restaurants during the month of September to enjoy great special offers and menus, and be in with a chance to have their bill picked up by MasterCard and OpenTable. 

Angela Altvater, Marketing Director, OpenTable EMEA commented “We are pleased to see that the restaurant sector in the UK is slowly recovering. It is clear that many people really missed the experience of dining out at a restaurant over the past few months. As a partner to the industry, it is particularly important for us to help the restaurant community get back on their feet and to get diners excited about dining out again and rediscover old and new favourites in their local area.”

Janne Karppinen, Head of Retail at Mastercard commented on the campaign.“It is great to see people back in restaurants and eating out safely with friends and families. 2020 has been a hard year so we’re pleased to work with OpenTable to bring moments of joy and excitement to customers. We have extended the offer not only to Mastercard customers, but to everyone who is in the restaurant at the right place on the right night – a truly Priceless Surprise.”

All the signs show that people in the UK are eager to get out to dine again. In a recent survey1 conducted by OpenTable, 65% of Brits answered that the thing they were most excited about restaurants reopening was eating delicious food. 94% of those surveyed stated that the support of local restaurants is important to them and 62% said they planned to eat out more or at least as often as before the lockdown.

*Alcoholic drinks are not included 

1Source: OpenTable Survey on Dining out after lockdown. 32,000 people in the United Kingdom of different age, sex and geographical origin in the UK participated in the survey. The survey was sent out through the OpenTable email newsletter. Data collection took place between June 24th and July 2nd 2020 through an e-survey on Survey Monkey.

About Mastercard:
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry.  We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories.  Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.  Follow us on Twitter @MastercardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

About OpenTable:
OpenTable, part of Booking Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), powers reservations for the hospitality industry. OpenTable’s software seats more than 1 billion people per year and helps more than 60,000 restaurants, bars, wineries and other venues attract guests, manage capacity, improve operations and maximize revenue.

THE CRICKETERS (WESTCLIFF) // RESTAURANT REVIEW

Our favourite day of the week at EF is definitely Sunday, as it is the day of good food & indulgence, so when The Cricketers invited us down to try their 3 course Sunday lunch, we were more than happy to oblige.

Now their Sunday lunch menu offers 3 courses at a shockingly low price of just £9.25 per person – seems too good to be true, doesn’t it? And at first, we did sort of wonder just what would be on offer, so naturally we had a peek of the menu to see what we would be getting ourselves in for, and we were pleased to see that there were things we were both happy with.

So, on a bit of a soggy Sunday afternoon we visited the pub – very easy to find, took only around 30/40 minutes from Chelmsford & was hard to miss upon arriving into Westcliff. There was residential parking close by too, so this really is ideal if you’d like to do a Sunday lunch on a budget.

When we entered the pub itself, it was very Covid-friendly – sanitiser readily available & tables really well spaced-out. The first thing we noticed too once we were sat was the fabulous gin menu. The menu was very handy & told you which gins paired with which tonics – perfect! We quickly got our drinks orders in, & both opted for a gin (would’ve been rude not to!) We were served by Giovanna, the bar manager who was ever so friendly & attentive.

Whilst waiting for our drinks, we had a quick glance of the menu. We had already decided what we would go for thanks to our prior nose, however the menu in the pub itself was slightly different & actually offered a couple more things, so there were some slight changes in our decisions.

Our drinks arrived, & Giovanna also explained to us what was in our drinks (dehydrated fruit) & the purpose behind it – definitely a nice little touch getting to understand just why these bits of fruit make it to your drink! At this point, we also placed our food orders, so for starters we went for the pub classic – prawn cocktail, & the lamb & halloumi skewer, & for mains we opted for the roast beef, & the steak & ale pie.

Our food arrived very quickly, I would say we waited no longer than ten minutes for our starters, which was fantastic, there’s nothing worse than being hungry & having to wait ages for your food. The portions were practical – they were small but the mains certainly made up for this. The prawn cocktail was nice & light. A substantial amount of prawns were served on a bed of salad along with four quarters of a slice of wholemeal bread. The prawn cocktail was thoroughly enjoyed & was really tasty. The lamb & halloumi skewer was enjoyable – personally I am not a huge lamb fan, as I find it is very hit & miss but I thought I would give it a go anyway. The lamb was nice, but I did find it a little fatty, however the halloumi definitely made up for this – the halloumi was perfectly cooked & had the right amount of ‘squidge’ to it – I would’ve been happy with just a skewer of halloumi, it was that good! The skewer was also served with a small salad that was coated in tzatziki – this was lovely & fresh, & worked really well with the meat & the cheese. What I also really liked about this being on the menu, was that it was something different from your typical pub food. We were both really pleased with what we received, & were really looking forward to what would come next.

Just like our starters, our mains arrived efficiently – this time, pretty much as soon as our plates had been cleared, the second lot of dishes made their appearance. Both main courses were served as ‘roasts’ so both had all the trimmings of veg including peas carrots & cauliflower cheese, roast & new potatoes, yorkshire pudding, plus gravy & dishes of mustard & horseradish. Our choices were the roast beef & the steak & ale pie. The pair of us were both really looking forward to seeing what the beef would be like – I’ve said before, beef can always go one of two ways, it will either be spot on or it can be really fatty/chewy. We were so pleased to try it & to discover that it was beautifully done! The beef was lovely & had a perfect pink centre. It was really well presented too on the plate & was very generous in sizing. Now, the half of the party that enjoyed the beef roast isn’t a fan of vegetables, but has now been converted due to the cauliflower cheese that was dished up with the roast, so something was done very right here (thank you Cricketers!) Absolutely nothing on this plate was left behind, which says it all really. And at £9.25 – we would’ve happily paid this just for this plate itself, never mind the starter & dessert! We would definitely recommend visiting based on this dish alone.
The second main was the steak & ale pie roast which was huge! The pie was filled with so much meat, & was served with all of the trimmings exactly the same as the roast beef. Unfortunately this time round, the plate wasn’t cleared, only because I was way too full! All of what was eaten was so enjoyable – in particular, the roast potatoes & the cauliflower cheese. The steak was also really good quality, it was lovely & tender.

Next up were our desserts. So there are only 3 things to choose from, so you are quite limited, however at such a low price, you can’t really complain. We shared both of our desserts, as we both wanted to try a bit of each, so our choices here were the cheese board (which has a £1.50 supplement) & the baked jam roll. Again, at such a low price, we didn’t expect a lot, however the jam roll changed everything. What a dessert! Served with cream, this piping hot dessert really blew us over – we were stunned at just how tasty it was! The cheese board didn’t really hold much hope once we’d tried the jam roll, but we still devoured it nonetheless! We enjoyed both desserts, but if we were to tell you to pick 1… it would always be the jam roll!



Thank you so much to The Cricketers for inviting us down – we were totally surprised with just how good the food was, & thank you to Giovanna for such fab hospitality. The pub also offers some themed nights (steak, Italian) which we would definitely consider to try also. We think this place is a gem & look forward to visiting again!

https://www.thecricketersbarandfood.co.uk/

[GIFTED]

JACK LINKS BEEF BAR // NEW PRODUCT

We were recently lucky enough to get our hands on the fantastic protein filled, Jack Link’s Beef Bars. We only tried the Original flavour, but there is also in fact a Sweet & Hot flavour to choose from too.These little bars are ideal if you’re a bit of a snacker or a grazer, as they come in at only 65kcals per bar, with less than 6% sugar, & will keep you filled throughout the afternoon. The bars are also gluten free & are made from 100% beef. You can pick these up at your local Asda, (we found them very easily, at one of the ends of a refrigerated aisle!)

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GERMAN DONER KEBAB ‘THE BOSS BOX’ // PRODUCT REVIEW

We recently teamed up with the guys at Deliveroo to get our hands on the new Boss Box from German Doner Kebab. GDK is somewhere we have visited before & really enjoyed, so when we received the invite to take part in this new project, we knew we would be in for a treat. We were gifted with a voucher each to be used via Deliveroo to purchase The Boss Box from GDK – very straightforward! We used the Lakeside branch of GDK as we were visiting anyway, & we opted for collection rather than delivery.


We each enjoyed a meal of The Boss Box, which contains the following
– a kebab of your choice (we both went for the Doner Durum Wrap, mixed meats)
– a side of either Chilli Cheese Bites or Doner Spring Rolls (we had one of each)
– Fries
– 3 of GDKs signature sauces
– a ‘slim’ drink of your choice
(we also added on a few extra bits with the remainder of the vouchers)


The box that the meal itself is presented in is sleek. The box is glossy & black, & certainly gives any other takeaway packaging a run for its money. The box itself to the inside is also presented very neatly – sections are divided so your meal is perfectly spaced, plus there are handy little holders for the sauces too which makes a huge difference & saves the faffing of having to pick up the pots to dip your fries in.


Now onto the food, GDK never disappoints, portion sizes here are extremely generous, & you can add extra salad at no extra cost (which we both did), although saying this, it probably isn’t necessary to do so. The kebabs are fully loaded with meat (you can choose between beef or chicken, or both) & are beyond filling – neither of us finished our kebabs! We did however finish all of our sides. The chilli cheese bites are absolutely delicious (we even ordered extra of these bad boys!), & again, the Doner Spring Rolls are exceptionally generous when it comes to their sizing. Everything at GDK is always bursting with taste & flavour, the only thing that sort of lets the meal down is the fries – the fries are more ‘chips’ as they are slightly chunkier, & to be honest, you could probably do without these anyway as the kebab is just so filling!

The Boss Box will set you back £12.99 but we would say that it is total value for money – you get a lot of food there.

Thank you very much to both Deliveroo & German Doner Kebab.

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BRICK LANE BAGEL CO. // RESTAURANT REVIEW

So here it is… our first ‘lockdown’ outing post! The team at Brick Lane Bagel Co. got in contact with us during lockdown to invite us down to their Theydon Bois branch, which remained opened during lockdown as part of essential services. We were offered a lunch for two, which we thoroughly enjoyed! Our lunches of choice were…
– salt beef bagel with mustard & gherkins
– chicken escalope bagel with melted cheese, lettuce & mayo
plus a couple of drinks (coke & a latte), followed by a delicious, fresh jam doughnut (which we shared between the pair of us as we were full from the bagels!)

The bagels were hearty & delicious! The bread itself was so fresh & so soft, it really contributed to the yumminess of the bagels. The salt beef was ever so tender & truly did melt in the mouth, plus the sheer amount of it was very generous too. The salt beef bagel was absolutely brimming with flavour, thanks to the mustard & gherkins complimenting the beautiful salt beef. The chicken escalope bagel was sensational! A nice big chunk of chicken, served with lashings of lettuce & mayo, plus an oozing cheese centre – it was incredible. Almost like the taste of a chicken burger but much, much better. We opted to have our bagels halved so that between the pair of us, we could each try both different filling, and despite both flavours being exceptional, we agreed that the chicken escalope was our favourite of the two, moreso because it isn’t something either of us would normally go for, but were recommended to try. Following on from our delicious bagels, the pair of us shared a yummy jam doughnut, which just like the bagels, tasted ever so fresh. What also impressed us with the doughnut was the size – forget the typical supermarket sized doughnuts you’d find in a bag, this was double, & of course way better!

What we also picked up on during our time at Brick Lane Bagel Co. was just how busy it was, the business proves to be doing exceptionally well & is clearly a roaring success. During our visit there were always customers present, filling all of the outside seating, despite the lockdown circumstances – this was fantastic to see!

We would also like to point out that this was the friendliest service we have experienced so far – prior to our visit, during & after. Everyone involved could not do enough for us from the staff in the shop itself, to the marketing behind their Instagram page. This is definitely what fantastic customer service is, and it honestly does make all the difference.

Thank you very much to Brick Lane Bagel Co. for inviting us down, we look forward to visiting again.

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ESSEX CONFECTIONARY // SWEET DELIVERY SERVICE

If you have a sweet tooth, then this is the home delivery for you! A little while back I was very kindly delivered a selection of goodies from the team at Essex Confectionary. I have to say, delivery was extremely quick & I did not expect the sweets to arrive as fast as they did (no complaints here!)
I was given a pick n mix pouch which was absolutely stuffed with colourful sweets. There were a variety of jellies, both new & old school as well as a classic Refresher in there too. These pouches start at £5 for 500g, which to be quite honest, is really reasonably priced in comparison to what you’d pay in a shop or at a market. I was also given a Malteser box which was packed with, you guessed it, Malteser treats! These are charged at £7, making them ideal for a present. I would say that all of the goodies from Essex Confectionary are ideal for a loved one as a surprise, a birthday gift or even just a treat for yourself. They even offer Big Night In bundles which are perfect for movie nights (a great idea if you’ve got kids to entertain, & certainly a lot cheaper than a cinema trip!)

All sorts of treats are available, whether you are a jelly fan or more of a chocolate fan. I loved everything that I received, & I would certainly make an order for myself.

Thank you to Essex Confectionary!

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COMPETITION TIME!

COMPETITION TIME! Fancy getting your hands on a box of @power.of.peanuts peanut bars? Keep reading..

I have teamed up with the guys at @power.of.peanuts to offer one lucky winner & a friend to get their hands on a case of POP’s delicious fibres bars packed with protein. To enter, simply like the Instagram post, follow both @power.of.peanuts & @essexfoodies on Instagram, tag your bestie & in 3 words sum up your friendship! 
*Please note that you will need to enter this competition via Instagram. Any entries made outside will not be counted.

Closing date for competition is Friday 31st July 2020 with winner announced on Monday 3rd August 2020. UK only. Good luck!

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BAILEYS RASPBERRY RIPPLE COOLER // COCKTAIL RECIPE

Thank you to Taste PR for the following content.

Created by drinks columnist Abbie Moulton, the Baileys Rapsberry Ripple Cooler is an indulgent and treat-worthy cocktail that’s perfectly light and scrumptious for a summer afternoon. This cocktail hits the trend of being perfect for al fresco evenings with its grown-up fruity flavours. It’s the perfect adult treat for picnics and small garden get-togethers! 

Ingredients
[0.9 units per serve – recipe serves 2]
100ml Baileys Original Irish Cream [1.8 units]
80ml coconut milk 
1 x 500ml tub vanilla ice cream 
1 x small bottle raspberry puree, or a tin of raspberries in syrup
Handful of fresh raspberries
Serve in a stemless wine glass / water tumbler

Method
– Blend 100ml Baileys Original Irish Cream with 80ml coconut milk and a handful of ice. You should get a light, foamy mixture
– Add 1 generous spoonful of raspberry puree to the bottom of each glass
– Top with two or three scoops of ice cream
– Drizzle another generous helping of raspberry syrup
– Pour over the Baileys Original Irish Cream & coconut milk mix, so it comes to just below the top of the ice cream 
– Drizzle over the raspberry syrup 
– Top with fresh raspberries and enjoy!

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MISS TEASMITH – PRODUCT REVIEW

So recently here at Essex Foodies I have had the absolute pleasure of sampling a selection of fine loose leaf teas courtesy of Miss Teasmith. I received samples of 5 different flavours/styles of teas, all very different from one another. The different teas were made up of – 

Ceylon Chai – comprising of Sri Lankan black tea & the spices of this tropical island.

Dark Romance – comprising of Sri Lankan black tea, cocoa shells & nibs, liquorice & mint, described as ‘pudding in a tea cup!’

Rooibos & Passion – comprising of rooibos, passionfruit, rose petals & rhubarb pieces (no caffeine).

Empa-Tea – a ginger & lemongrass herbal infusion.

Earl on the Moor – an orange black tea blend, made with blood orange & lavender.

Each of the teas were exceptionally different from one another, as to be expected, and each offered their very own take on a cup of tea. To start with, the Ceylon Chai was very bold, & very strong. Personally, I love a strong cup of tea (only a splash of milk, no sugar for me), so this is certainly something I would go for every day, alongside Earl on the Moor. EOTM has been my favourite out of the teas as it offers a slight twist on a classic, yet remains mellow & smooth. As I say, I would happily drink these every day! Next up we have got Empa-Tea. I found this tea a little too strong for my liking, I’m not a huge fan of really creative teas so I found this a little bit too overpowering for myself, not because the tea itself was too strong, but more because I find ginger can sometimes be a bit too much, however I would recommend this if you like your teas slightly more different tasting & you like a stronger, more different flavoured bold tea (think along the lines of peppermint for example). Onto Dark Romance, this was the tea I was most excited to try as it offers a completely different take on a cup of tea, described by Miss Teasmith herself as ‘pudding in a teacup’ – essentially dessert with less calories, perfect! I really liked the idea of this tea being dessert like, & it really did get me wondering just what it would taste like, so when the time came, I was not disappointed! The tea is lovely & strong yet sweet & dessert like – something very unusual but a welcomed twist. Lastly we have Rooibos & Passion, another tea I was very much looking forward to trying. I love all things passionfruit, so this was one I was certainly intrigued by. The tea itself was almost peachy, very smooth & full of fruity character. Almost tasting just like summer (think of those iced teas you would purchase in a supermarket on holiday!) It’s a strange way to describe a drink but I would say it was very feminine – perfect for a girls afternoon for example, so forget cocktails, & pour yourself a tea, hot or perhaps wait for it to cool, serve chilled & over lots of ice on a lovely sunny day. 

Thank you so much to Miss Teasmith for getting these lovely teas over to Essex Foodies, with lockdown still ongoing my plan is to enjoy them with friends, as restrictions ease, with some lovely socially-distanced afternoon teas. To get your hands on these goodies, simply visit www.missteasmith.com & sign up for 20% off of your first order, as well as free delivery over orders of £25.

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TURTLE BAY // NEW MENU

Thank you to Cab PR for the following content

Turtle Bay launches a new menu with more options than ever before, including Caribbean brunch for the very first time!

Curry Aubergine, Mr Fabulous’ Jamaican Patties, Five Alarm Chicken Curry – just some of the mouth-watering dishes you can get your hands on – and sink your teeth into – on the brand new menu at Turtle Bay.

For the first time ever, diners can start the day at Turtle Bay with a scintillating selection of breakfast items packed full of Caribbean flavours, such as Curry Goat Hash and Blackwell Breakfast – porridge served with a shot of Blackwell Rum. Other brunch offerings include dishes like curried chickpeas, jerk sausage and sweet plantain for both adults and ‘Little Turtles’ to enjoy.

Some of Turtle Bay’s specialities and iconic dishes will remain (so fans don’t need to panic) but in addition the new menu features a variety of reimagined dishes, and fresh new and exciting delights to try. There will be a selection of sharing platters and classic Caribbean curries to choose from. Inspired by street vendors from across the islands, cutters are Caribbean-style tapas dishes – perfect as a starter, for sharing or as a side. Not forgetting the fiery jerk flavours and scrumptious soul food that Turtle Bay is renowned for.  

There are even more veggie and vegan options than ever before too, as the new menu features a mouth-watering selection of dishes including Chilli Smashed Avocado Salad, Jerk Tofu a Vital Vegan Platter and more. 

Even the puddings on the new menu pack a punch. From the Chilli Chocolate Brownie to the Caribbean Mess, Banana Toffee Cheesecake, Fiery Root Ginger Kickin Ice Cream and more, these sweet treats are not to be missed, especially when you can sample two for £9, three for £13.50 or four for just £17 – get your spoons at the ready and prepare to tuck in!

Turtle Bay’s new lunch meal deal is available Monday to Friday between 12pm and 3pm, where diners can choose any burger or roti, plus one side and homemade soft drink for £10. Set menus will also be on offer all day Sunday to Thursday, with options to feast on two courses for £12 or go the whole hog and devour three courses for £15. 

Turtle Bay is all about slowing down, hanging out and feeling good, and this is exactly what its new menu will deliver. With the ultimate food freedom, customers can ‘lime’ away the hours in the restaurant, from 10am until late into the evening.

Go to www.turtlebay.co.uk to see the new menu and set your taste-buds on fire. 

COPENHAGEN // ESSEX FOODIES ABROAD

Back in August I visited the very beautiful (& expensive) city of Copenhagen. The city offered plenty of sights & some beautiful food. Below are the various dishes enjoyed throughout the trip!

The trip of course started with the classic airport Wetherspoons breakfast. Here we have eggs royale & American breakfast. (Wetherspoons – Windmill, Stansted Airport).

Lunch at Sole D’Italia, Copenhagen – spaghetti carbonara & spaghetti bolognese. Such a photogenic lunch!

Margarita pizza from Gorms Pizza @ Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen. One of the nicest plain pizzas I’ve ever had albeit expensive for what it was coming in at around £16! I highly recommend checking Gorms out.

A delicious Danish pastry from our hotel, Osterport. All of the food served for breakfast here was fantastic, a great variety & just very tasty! My favourite was definitely the fresh pastries – warm & delicious! We stayed on a B&B basis, & I would suggest doing this if you ever think about staying in Copenhagen as going out can be quite pricey. The hotel which we stayed at charged around £10 per person per day for breakfast which I thought was very reasonable, when realistically if you popped out for a coffee & pastry, you’d be looking spending around 6 quid or so anyway.

Next up we have dinner here in Malmo, Sweden. Malmo is only a short train journey from Copenhagen so we spent an afternoon here, & we had dinner in a lovely Indian restaurant called Green Chili. The food here was perfect, & was similar in price to Copenhagen.

And last but not least, lunch at Kayak Bar, Copenhagen. We stopped off here a couple of times as it is such a cool place! Again, it’s a little bit on the pricier side but that is to be expected with cities. The food here was very simple, the menu was limited but it was very nice! This is definitely somewhere nice to sit of an evening & enjoy some light food & powerful cocktails!

LINDA MCCARTNEYS // PRODUCT REVIEW

Following one of our recent posts on National Hotdog Day, we were very kindly gifted with some vouchers to use towards Linda McCartney’s vegetarian range. As someone that eats meat daily, I was a little sceptical of what the products would be like but I’m quite open minded & willing to try out new foods, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. I did a little research to try & find the cheapest place to get my hands on the products, as the vouchers offered £2 off per product, & ideally I didn’t want to have to add any money on. Upon investigation, I found that Tesco were actually stocking the range with prices starting from £2 – spot on! So I got myself down to Tesco & stocked up on a variety including the following;
– vegetarian red pepper & chorizo sausages
– vegetarian red onion & rosemary sausages
– vegetarian mozzarella 1/4lb burgers
– vegetarian pulled pork 1/4lb burgers
I’m yet to try each product, I’ve only got round to trying the red pepper & chorizo sausages as of yet & I have to say, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised. The sausages are packed full of flavour & (sounds quite strange) have a nice texture to them – meat sausages can sometimes be a bit gritty, these are not at all, I can see why people go for them! I’m excited to try the rest of the products out, I won’t be going veggie any time soon but I could certainly incorporate veggie substitutes into my diet!

Thank you to Taste PR for gifting us with the vouchers.

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THE OJOS FOODS // PRESS RELEASE

Thank you to The Ojos Foods for providing us with the following content

THE OJOS FOODS LTD, LUTON

The Ojos Foods – Gold Fork Award Winner

The Ojos Foods already winner of 3* Stars, has won The Golden Fork Award and been nominated for the Supreme Champion Trophy with their premium Cured Beef “El Abuelo Maragato Halal”. These achievements put The Ojos Foods and El Abuelo Maragato amongst the elite. Only 20 products were selected for the The Golden Fork Awards including well known high street names and El Abuelo was the only Spanish Product.

The Ojos Foods were nominated again in the prestigious GREAT TASTE AWARDS 2019. These awards, held in London since 1994, are considered the “Oscars” of food. This year, 12,772 products have competed from more than one hundred countries. This year, four of The Ojos Foods Spanish products have been recognized:

The unique cured beef, El abuelo Margato Halal, is the only Spanish product to be awarded the prestigious 3 stars and Golden Fork Award 2019. Using the best “know how” and made only with natural ingredients the cured beef delivers a GASTRONONICAL MASTERPIECE, described by the experts as “Tender, sweet, velvety… simply phenomenal”.

The Ojos Foods starred winners are:

El Buey – 2* – Described as “The flavour is delicate, clean and very appealing, the fat offers sweetness and interest, adding depth. A delightful product made with care and attention to detail, the judges found it hard to fault this product”

Omeya Halal Beef Salami – 1* – Described as “Rich dark colour and good distribution of fat. The texture is moist and meaty and there is good mouth feel – not greasy. There is a perfect balance of seasoning and sweetness and a pleasing warmth of pepper at the end”.

Chorizo de Geras -1* – Described as “A fine looking Chorizo, beautifully prepared and presented. The fat content is good, the paprika heat well judged and the gentle smoke adds further pleasure. The fat release brings a succulence to the mouth. The finish is balanced and long.

Almost 13,000 products entered the Great Taste Awards, with the judges selecting only 20 to make it to Golden Fork Award Final. “When a company is considered a “multi-Great taste winner” it means that the black and gold star label adds much more value to your product in terms of credibility, when we talk about product quality. This opens doors to new buyers and translates into sales” explains Encina Barragan, The Ojos Foods Business Owner.

BELLA CAFE & LOUNGE // BRUNCH REVIEW

Last weekend we visited the lovely Bella Cafe & Lounge (formerly known as Bella Gelato) in Rayleigh. The restaurant is conveniently located just off of the high street, with parking very close by.

At first glance we could see that the cafe/restaurant was exceptionally busy, which indicated something was definitely right here! We arrived & were very quickly shown to our table.

We soon placed our orders, & our breakfasts of choice were the Lebanese breakfast & the traditional breakfast, & our drinks of choice were the chocolate milkshake & coco loco smoothie. Our drinks naturally were first to arrive & they looked amazing! The chocolate milkshake was thick & delicious (& polished off in minutes) whilst the smoothie was exotic & bursting with sweet flavour. Both drinks were very generous on size, & the glass that the smoothie was presented in was in the shape of a pineapple – a really cool touch. Our breakfasts arrived fairly quickly as well considering how busy the restaurant was which was great & definitely shows that the team here work fantastically together & under pressure, so hats off to each & every member of the team! Both breakfasts were huge & looked beautiful on their plates. The Lebanese breakfast was delicious – somewhat similar to a traditional breakfast but with a few pleasant twists, including spicy sausages, poached eggs sprinkled with a little spice, flatbread & outstanding grilled peppers & halloumi. Everything about this dish was incredible! The halloumi especially was cooked perfectly – I would go as far to say that this was probably the best halloumi I have ever had. I would hands down take this breakfast over a traditional fry up any day of the week! The other breakfast was a traditional breakfast, & was unquestionably delicious! Again, everything was cooked perfectly, especially the wonderfully photogenic & instagrammable poached eggs & I’m told the sausages were something else! We followed our breakfasts with a couple of coffees & a brunch ‘dessert’. Our coffees of choice were cappuccino & latte, & our desserts of choice was the strawberry pancakes. After such a filling breakfast, we opted to share a dessert as we knew we wouldn’t be able to get through one each – we definitely made the right choice in doing so because the pancakes were again very, very filling. Both coffees were lovely & smooth, & worked perfectly with the pancakes. The pancakes were outstanding – drizzled with white chocolate & served with fresh cut strawberries, everything about these pancakes was perfect. Absolutely faultless.

I would most definitely return to Bella, the service we received was fantastic, & the food was incredible – not only to eat but also get photos of, as it was so well presented! I’m certainly going to be visiting again, I’m intrigued as to see what the rest of the menu offers throughout the day. Thank you so much to the team here for inviting, warmly welcoming us, & looking after us!

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KULA CAFE // BRUNCH REVIEW

A couple of weeks back we were lucky enough to be treated to a lovely brunch at Kula Cafe – a cute little cafe located right in the heart of London’s bustling shopping district, Bond Street. The cafe itself is situated on James Street, along with many other cafes, bars & restaurants, the perfect spot if you’re looking for lunch whilst shopping.

We were given menus on arrival, & as the day was beautiful we decided to take a seat outside. Seats outside are quite limited, so you’ve got to be ready to pounce as soon as one becomes free. At first, the cafe didn’t appear to be too busy (I think we’d probably missed the breakfast-time rush) but soon began to fill up both outdoors and in – although we were advised that the cafe does get so much busier – I can only imagine how hectic this must be!

Shortly after arriving we placed our order – and on our menus were;
Drinks
– salted caramel & toffee frappe
– Hollywood diet juice
Brunch
– egg florentine halloumi
– halloumi omelette
(we love halloumi here at Essex Foodies!)

Both drinks were delicious! The frappe was creamy & sweet, whilst the juice was fruity & refreshing. Both drinks were of a medium size which was perfect, too much frappe can be too sickly & too much fruit juice can be acidic, but the sizes here were fine & lasted us throughout our visit.

Both of our brunches were also delicious, we were blown away by the sizes of the portions & their generosity on ‘extras’ on the plate. The omelette was served with with a salad garnish as well as a slice of toast, definitely more than enough to set you up for a day of shopping! The omelette itself was completely full to the brim with cheese (no complaints here whatsoever!), & layered with perfectly cooked halloumi – my friend enjoyed this dish & she completely rated it. I went for the eggs florentine halloumi, which was a dish made up of poached eggs, hash brown, Hollandaise sauce, avocado, sauteed mushrooms, halloumi & salad all served on a bed of toast. I was honestly not expecting the dish to be as huge as it was, but I soon managed to work my way through it! Everything about the food was perfect, it looked lovely, was full of flavour & was very filling & kept us going throughout the day without the need to snack on anything – ideal if you are up in London for the day really. I would also say that this give you great value for money, some places would charge extra for the sides of toast & salad but Kula include these, certainly worth noting.

Once we’d finished our ‘mains’ if you like, we were then surprised with a massive Eton Mess waffle! This dessert was humungous but again, we soon found our way through this between the pair of us – my advice here would be that if you do visit, be aware that these desserts are really, really big & would easily be enough for 2 people.
The waffle itself was fluffy & fresh, & all the toppings were again fresh & worked beautifully alongside the waffle. The waffle was stacked with whipped cream, ice cream, meringue & fruits including strawberries, raspberries & blueberries as well as a fruity sauce. It was nice to have refreshing toppings to it rather than it be overloaded with rich chocolate for example (especially with the weather).

The pair of us were astounded by the quality of the food at Kula, everything that we had was superb. Not only was the food very photogenic, but it was tasty – there are no other words for it in all honesty! We would most definitely visit here again, & would recommend trying out Kula if you are ever close by!

A massive thank you to all at Kula for welcoming & looking after us!

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THE HALL (LAKESIDE) // LAUNCH

Intu Lakeside have recently undergone a bit of a renovation & are bringing lots more than just shopping to the centre, including this fantastic new food hall. We were lucky enough to be invited down to the launch day & be among the first to try it out.

The event was invite only, & on arrival our names were ticked off on the guestlist before being shown inside. We were then given a voucher (to the value of £10) which could be spent in any of the 6 eateries in The Hall, & presented with a much appreciated glass of fizz.

The 6 street food inspired eateries at The Hall include:
– Baoziinn Chinese
– Fanny’s Kebabs
– Burger & Beyond
– Fundi Pizza
– Mother Clucker
– Curry On Naan Stop

My friend whom I visited with chose to eat from Curry On Naan Stop, & I opted for Mother Clucker.

Each of our meals were great – there was a bit of a wait for both however this was to be expected with the venue being new, & how busy it was, however staff did everything they could to cater for all & made sure everything was perfect. I even managed to blag some extra chicken in my burger for waiting, & my friend managed to get her hands on some free fries – win win all round! We will be back for sure to try out the other stalls!

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SACLA // PRODUCT REVIEW

At Essex Foodies we have recently been lucky enough to be gifted with a small selection of rich & tantalizing Italian ingredients from the team at Sacla – a massive thank you to Sacla for getting these out to us!

In our package we received the following;
– ‘Nduja pesto
– Red pepper pesto
– Truffle pesto
– Tomato & olive intenso pasta sauce

We are of course looking forward to trying each ingredient out & sharing our creations with you. Keep a look out to see what we will be pairing each ingredient up with.

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BALTI NIGHT // TAKEAWAY REVIEW

Last weekend, this award-winning takeaway based in Braintree very kindly provided a meal for myself & a couple of friends. My friends are already huge fans of this Indian takeaway, & are very friendly with & know the staff there, so after mentioning Essex Foodies to them, Balti Night very generously invited Essex Foodies to try it for themselves. As my friends already eat here regularly, this review will be based on just what I ate & experienced.

So first off, we ordered our food in the shop itself, so we got to see firsthand just how busy it was. The shop was packed with queue just starting to form outside of the door, & continued to stay busy whilst we were there. The phones were also relentless, with each line answered the entire time we were in the shop. I would say that we were in the shop itself at around 7.45pm, so I would imagine that it only got busier as the evening went on. I think the demand here speaks volumes & shows exactly why this takeaway has picked up as many awards as it has, which leads me on to mention just how many awards this place has won & been nominated for – their walls are completely dominated by various certificates.

On to the food, on the menu for me there was;
Mixed starter, which consisted of hot onion bhaji, chicken seekh kebab, meat samosa & crispy king prawns
Poppadoms (goes without saying)
Chicken tikka chilli masala
Pilau rice
Saag paneer (my favourite Indian dish, something I order every time!)

So that was really my typical sort of order asides from the main – I would normally play it safe with a korma or dry chicken tikka, but seeing as this was going to be reviewed & written about, it was really best to mix it up & go for something slightly different – & I can safely say that I think I should definitely do this more often, & starters I would normally go for tandoori prawns, or a dry tikka starter but the mixed starter was recommended so this is what I went with.

The starter certainly allowed you to try what I would say are probably favourites – I enjoyed each & every one, the seekh kebab is not something I would ever think to pick, but this was a nice surprise, the meat was tender & bursting with tandoori flavour, likewise meat samosas would not be something that I would pick either but after trying them here, I think I have been converted! The hot onion bhajis were crispy & provided a nice warmth, & finally the prawns were cooked to absolute perfection, they were soft but with a nice crisp bite to them. The starter gave me an insight to what the rest of the meal was going to be like.

Main – so typically I’d normally go for a meat dish with rice & a side or two, depending who I’m with & if I’m sharing! In this case, the food was not shared, it was everyone for themselves – (not all bad, more for me, ha!)
The pilau rice was the perfect accompaniment for the chicken tikka chilli masala as it played the offset when the chilli became too much, however saying this, I would say that the chicken tikka chilli masala was in no way too hot, it could just have a little bit of a kick to it now & then – I’m normally a korma girl but this was by no-means too much for me. I would order this again for sure. Saag paneer – I’m a sucker for a saag paneer & I think I’ve completed my quest in finding the best. The dish here from Balti Night was rich & creamy, with the biggest chunks of paneer I’ve ever scooped up (my mouth is salivating thinking back on it!) With each mouthful, I wanted more.

I would doubtlessly say that Balti Night has claimed top spot for my favourite Indian takeaway, it’s a shame that they’re based in Braintree & I’m Chelmsford, or I’d be ordering lots more! These guys work tirelessly & it’s clear to see why they’ve received so many awards & why their shop is as busy as it is.

Thank you so much to the guys here for inviting me down & for allowing me to review them – I will most definitely be putting my order in when I’m next in the area & I know that my friends will sure as hell be ordering again in the very near future!

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DUSK // RESTAURANT REVIEW

Mid-July saw the opening of one of Essex’s hottest, most prestigious restaurants, which we were thrilled to be invited to. The evening promised glamour & sophistication, which it undoubtedly delivered.

Upon arrival, you get a feel for what the restaurant is going to offer – the cars parked to the front of the restaurant say it all & leave little to the imagination.

The venue itself boasts various different rooms/lounges, including a main dining area, a function room, shisha lounge & bar plus grounds overlooking the stunning Bentley Golf Club. We were lucky enough to be given a guided tour around the venue, & each & every aspect of it is simply stunning – certainly somewhere you could hold a wedding party reception, or perhaps a work-do Christmas party. Once shown around the premises, we were led to an outside decking area, overlooking Bentley Golf Club, to enjoy more drinks & delicious canapes. Each of the canapes we tried were outstanding, our favourite of the selection were the chicken tikka bites (which a few of the staff also told us were their favourites).

We were also lucky enough to be treated to a three-course meal & drinks (please be aware that the venue does not sell alcohol, however there are no objections to bringing your own). The menu was set, so the only choice to be made was chicken or beef – you had the options of butter chicken or roast beef for mains.

The menu offered a starter of prawn, green apple & lemon cappuccino, mains of either honey lemon roast beef served with baby yorks, twice fried chips & summer berry gravy or butter chicken with rice & freshly baked naan, & a trio of desserts which was made up of chocolate delice, lemongrass brulee & almond croquant & pistacho ice cream.

All aspects of the meal were incredible – the food was mouthwatering, & the presentation second to none, even down to the cutlery, everything was perfect & aesthetically pleasing. The ingredients used are certainly some of the best – the prawns were some of the best I’ve ever had – the starter consisted of just 3, however they were plump & juicy, just the right amount for a starter dish. The beef was also cooked to perfection, sometimes beef can be a tough one to crack & can often be quite chewy or laced with fat, however this was melt-in-the-mouth. My Mum went for the beef dish & she loved it. I went for the butter chicken & have to say, I think this was probably the best butter chicken I’ve ever tried. The dish itself was not the typical mild butter chicken, but had a fiery twist to it – a real winner. Desserts were also a huge success, they were not something we would typically pick off of a menu however both of our plates were cleared, so there’s not much else to say on that front. As the food was to such a high standard & ever so tasty, I would certainly return to see what the rest of the menu offers.

Thank you to Dusk for inviting us along to their launch & a huge, huge thank you to each & every member of the team who did everything they could to make the evening what it was. We loved every second of our evening & would quite firmly state that the food here is probably one of the best we have yet reviewed!

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GIGGLING SQUID // NEW MENU PREVIEW

Early last week, we were given the fabulous opportunity of previewing Giggling Squid’s new menu. This was certainly an offer that we simply couldn’t say no to. I’d always heard great things about this restaurant but just had never got round to actually visiting, so when I received an email offering us a place at the preview, there was only ever going to be one answer, and that answer was YES!

The evening was one of the more formal evening’s Essex Foodies had been to, however it was very insightful & interesting to find out more behind the restaurant & business itself, as well as future plans & developments.

The purpose of the evening was for Giggling Squid to show off their new menu & what they had been working on – & it did not disappoint. Their menu is hugely extensive & really does spoil you for choice, although we were very lucky as we got to sample pretty much all of the starters. As you will see from the below photos, there was plenty on offer.

The menu itself was extensive & left nothing to be desired – you’ve got dishes for those that prefer something slighty more plain, & you’ve certainly got dishes for those that are a little more adventurous! Giggling Squid also offer a fantastic & very fairly priced lunch menu which comes in at around a tenner (per person) for a Thai tapas lunch – perfect if you want to get to try dishes.

When it came to mains, each guest could choose a main dish plus a side – I opted for crying beef with a side of noodle & bean sprouts. I was very pleased with my choice – the food was simply fantastic! It was cooked to perfection & certainly satisfied my tastbuds. All of the other mains looked amazing too & I think I would be right in saying that there was definitely a little food envy in the air!

The food was beyond expectation – both in flavour & presentation. Not only was each dish was powerful & bursting with flavour but also looked fantastic too (personally I think noodle-y type dishes are not always photogenic & can be difficult to get decent pictures of). Because the food was so tasty, I would most definitely recommend & would 100% return.

Desserts were also exceptional – we shared a few between the table & everyone enjoyed what they tried.

There was also one other thing that really stood out on the evening which deserves a mention & that was how busy the restaurant was & stayed. We visited on a Tuesday evening & the restaurant was bustling & didn’t die down at all. Even by the time we left (around 9.30pm), the restaurant was still packed. To me, this is a huge achievement & proves that Giggling Squid isn’t lacking in demand. I feel that nowadays restaurants during the week tend to depend heavily on set menus to bring in custom – Giggling Squid is a whole different kettle of fish.

Thank you to all at Giggling Squid for inviting us along & allowing us to sample the new menu – we loved it! We will definitely be back again in the near future, make sure you check them out too!

ROYAL HOTEL // AFTERNOON TEA REVIEW

Last weekend Essex Foodies were lucky enough to be treated to an afternoon tea with fizz courtesy of The Royal Hotel in Southend. The afternoon offered everything you’d expect from an afternoon tea – delicate finger sandwiches, melt-in-the-mouth scones, deliciously rich cakes, as well as endless amounts of tea/coffee & the odd tipple.

Upon arrival, we were shown to our table overlooking a very busy Southend Seafront (thanks to the warm weather), & were served up a luscious glass of prosecco, neatly finished with a decorative raspberry. The prosecco went down a treat (as did it all!)

Next to arrive were our hot drinks – I opted for tea & Mum went for coffee. Each of us were given a large pot with our drinks of choice which were regularly topped up – service here was smooth & faultless, the girls waiting on us were so on the ball & made sure we never went without, or never left waiting.

Shortly after, the sandwich/cake stand arrived, & it looked incredible. On the menu there was;

sandwiches
– chicken mayo (my favourite by far)
– salmon & cream cheese
– egg mayo
– cucumber & cream cheese

scones
– fruit
– plain

cakes
– white chocolate tart
– strawberry bevarois
– Carribean cake

Despite there being plenty, we managed to get through everything! The sandwiches were perfect – the bread was fluffy & soft, & the sandwiches were not overloaded with filling meaning they weren’t too sickly – so top marks all round on the sandwich front! The scones again were perfect – they were still warm so you knew they had been freshly baked, & once you had sliced into them, they just crumbled – divine! The cakes were of course a hit too – they were sweet & complimented the savoury tastes very well. My favourite dessert was the white chocolate tart – it was light like a mousse but offered a depth of flavour. Again, top marks all round! Everything that was served up was eaten, so to me this speaks volumes. The Royal Hotel have certainly got the afternoon tea down to a t (pardon the pun!)

You will see from the photos below also how gorgeous everything looked – from the hotel itself, to the food. I would say that this is the perfect place for a girly treat.

A massive thank you to The Royal Hotel for having us, especially to Matt (Director) for inviting us along, & to all of the girls that looked after us on the day, everybody was so forthcoming & friendly & made it a very pleasurable experience. We can’t wait to come back!

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LIVE DOSA // ANNIVERSARY EVENT

Earlier this week, we had the absolute privilege of attending Live Dosa’s fifth year anniversary celebrations – so first off, thank you so much to Fazila & family for inviting us back to be part of the special celebrations & secondly, a massive congrats to these guys on their fifth year – they are clearly doing something very right! The restaurant was absolutely rammed, which was absolutely fabulous to see (& very well deserved).

The evening started with a prosecco reception which was definitely welcomed by all. We opted to sit outside with our drinks, as the sun was beaming! Once we had finished our drinks, we were led to our table inside where we were greeted with some delicious appetisers. It was a really nice touch that the appetisers were ready & waiting on the table – it’s definitely nice to have something to nibble on whilst waiting.

Following from appetisers were starters – & of course there were going to be dosas! If you’ve not tried a dosa, you need to! They are a large crepe stuffed with a potato masala filling, & they are amazing. Saying that, everything on offer was outstanding, I particularly love the onion bhajis here, they are perfectly crispy & full of fresh flavour, & my friend particularly enjoyed the chicken pudina – made using fresh mint from the garden.

Next up were mains – there were four different main courses on offer, so there was something for everyone! Mains were served with basmati rice & appam – the perfect sides to accompany the hot & powerful curries. Our favourite of the four mains was definitely the chicken curry (Chicken Pirattal) – it was warming with a fiery kick, but not too intense – exactly how a curry should be. The other dishes were nice but not dishes that we would choose ourselves – having said that, we did give each of them a try. On offer there was Mix Seafood Roast, Erissery & Nadan Parripu.

Once the tables had been cleared, the fun started! Desserts were served, & entertainment began. Fazila made a lovely speech, thanking everyone for their support over the years which was lovely & very touching – you can really tell how passionate the family are about cooking & their restaurant. A massive, massive congratulations to them & a happy fifth birthday to Live Dosa! Entertainment came in the shape of traditional Southern Indian dancing, firstly performed by Fazila’s daughters (this was adorable, the girls absolutely loved it, their little faces were glowing), and secondly by performer Suzanna Harrington. The dancing was energetic & got everyone in the party spirit!

As always, we had a fantastic evening at Live Dosa, & it’s so refreshing to see an independent restaurant doing so well for themselves. Thank you to Fazila for inviting us to the special celebrations, & a big thank you to all of the team for looking after us. We look forward to the next milestone celebrations!

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THE RUBY // TAKEAWAY REVIEW

On Friday evening, Essex Foodies were treated to a delicious takeaway courtesy of The Ruby, which is an Indian takeaway based in Braintree. It had already been agreed what we would be taking away & this was the signature Kati roll – Special Murghee Roll. The roll is a wrap filled with chicken tikka, onion bhaji & salad, so a couple of Indian takeaway classics in the convenience of a wrap.

My friend & I each had a roll of our own, which at first we did question whether this would be enough but as soon as we started tucking into the roll, we realised it would definitely be enough. The roll was absolutely brimming with flavourful chicken, onion bhaji & salad! The chicken itself was very tender & tasty, & the salad was fresh & crunchy, whilst the onion bhaji provided a bit of crunch – all perfectly complimenting each other.

The rolls were absolutely delicious & left nothing to be desired whatsoever! The size of a roll is definitely adequate for one person, you wouldn’t need anything else to go with it (unless you wanted to, of course). In all honesty, this wouldn’t have been something I would’ve chose personally to have as when it comes to takeaways, I’m more of a picky-eater, & would rather a bit of everything, however saying that, now that I have tried the roll, it would be something that I would have again. I think that it’s also a good value option too in that if you were ordering for one person, this would literally be all you’d need, & you’d only be paying for one dish – saving £££.

Both my friend & I really enjoyed our rolls & our hunger was definitely satisfied, so thank you to The Ruby for sharing their signature dish with us – we look forward to ordering again & sampling more of the menu (which I have included below) & can be viewed here – https://www.theruby.co/menus/.

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PETTY 4S // RESTAURANT REVIEW

A couple of weeks ago, Essex Foodies very politely received a message on Instagram inviting us to come along & visit this brand new restaurant in Canvey. With the restaurant being so new, there was very little to go by (no website, nothing on Tripadvisor), so we were pretty much going in blind, other than what we had seen on Petty 4s Instagram page (all of which looked incredible). Our visit did not disappoint, & our review will show you exactly why.

We visited Petty 4s on Friday evening, so a nice little treat at the beginning of the bank holiday weekend. Upon arrival, manager Leah showed us to our table & advised that we would not be choosing from the menu, but rather sampling a few dishes from the menu so that we could get a feel for it all.

To begin, we enjoyed some homemade sourdough bread with butter. The bread was exceptionally good, & extremely more-ish, we tried to resist asking for more as we didn’t want to get too full before we had even started but we soon gave in!

For our starter(s), we enjoyed crab ravioli followed by garlic chicken. In all honesty, I was a bit nervous with the crab as when I have tried it before, I’ve not liked it. I’ve found it to be, as silly as it sounds, too fishy. I still gave it a go, & was very pleasantly surprised! Everything at Petty 4s is made from scratch, so the pasta had been freshly made & the crab had been brought it fresh from Billingsate Market (alive!) & prepared by Chef Alfie in the kitchen. The ravioli was absolutely lovely & would definitely be something I’d order in future.

Next up was the garlic chicken. A simple dish very well presented, as you can see.

The chicken was nice, & I did enjoy it, however it wouldn’t be something I would necessarily order (just personal preference). I did really enjoy the bed of spinach & sweetcorn which it came on – an unusual combination of flavours that worked.

Next up on the menu was steak… (woohoo!) I absolutely love steak & will quite often order one if I go out for dinner, so I was very excited to try it Petty 4s-style.

The steak was cooked medium-rare & was served with fondant potatoes, caramelised onion & parsnip puree, all of which were fantastic. The steak itself was melt-in-the-mouth & left nothing to be desired. I would certainly order this for myself, & would definitely recommend it.

Following on from our steak main, we enjoyed two different desserts – lemon posset & chocolate cake.

The lemon posset was lovely, light & refreshing, almost a palette cleanser after our main meal. The portion size was just right, & I especially loved the modern/trendy bowls that the dessert was served in. If you ever happen to be in Canvey along the seafront, I would definitely recommend popping in & getting yourself this over an ice cream!

And finally.. The chocolate cake!

The chocolate cake was delightful! It was rich, sticky & the right taste to finish off our meal. I generally find chocolate cakes a bit too rich, however this was just right, thanks to its small portion size & serving of ice cream.

My Mum & I were delighted with everything that we tried, & both agree that we would definitely visit again (especially after their Sunday roast was mentioned). The service was fantastic, & the staff couldn’t do enough for us.

Thank you to all at Petty 4s, especially Leah & Alfie, for inviting us & looking after us, we had a fantastic evening, & left with very content tummies!

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JODHPUR INDIAN KITCHEN // BLOG EVENT

Last week, Essex Foodies attended their first ever blog event! So this itself was a milestone for us, to be recognised & invited along. We attended this Indian restaurant located in Basildon alongside various other bloggers, & enjoyed an array of delightful Indian dishes.

The first dishes on offer were a small tray of poppadoms per pair which were accompanied by a variety of dips, also on offer was a small dish consisting of chickpeas & lentils, however I did not try this as I’m not a fan of chickpeas.

Next up we had a variety of starters. The food was served family-style (so picky bits), & was shared between 8 people per table, meaning everyone got to sample everything. There were onion bhajis, chicken tikka (herb), as well as a couple of other bits which I didn’t catch the name of but were a chicken-styel kebab & a deep fried dish. I tried each starter & I really liked them all, in particular I liked the fish. What stood out to me the most with the starters was infact the presentation, & how beautifully bright all of the dips were. There really was something for everyone!

Next up were mains, & again these were served family-style. Honestly, I didn’t find this ideal because it was a bit of a scramble having to share the dishes out around the table, I think it would’ve made more sense to have maybe done a few more dishes but smaller portions, this would’ve meant everyone could’ve sorted their dinner sorted a bit more efficiently & also a bit less awkwardly! Nonetheless, it was still very pleasant, & I enjoyed all of the dishes I tried.

Unfortunately I didn’t catch the names of each of the curries, but they were very nice! I only braved three of them, as the dry dish we were advised was a hot one. On offer was also a potato curry dish, which I was actually really surprised at – I didn’t think I would like it, but it was really nice! I was expecting it to be very heavy, & it was the complete opposite. There was also a good selection of rices, I went for the mushroom & pilau rices to accompany my meal.

Apologies for how unphotogenic this picture is, but it’s curry, once it’s on your plate, it never looks appetising! As you can see, I also had a bit of naan bread, I wouldn’t normally go for this as I find it way too filling & it ends up ruining the meal for me as I will be too stuffed but, this particular naan was pink peppercorn! A must try!

The food at Jodhpur Indian Kitchen was all lovely, & I couldn’t say a bad word about any of it. Each dish was extremely tasty, & very filling.

One thing that we did also notice on the menu, was that the curries do actually come with sides, meaning you don’t have to buy each dish separately (unless of course you do want additional bits), which essentially is fantastic value.

Thank you to Jodhpur Indian Kitchen for hosting a wonderful evening, & for their outstanding service – each member of staff we spoke to were very passionate, which was really lovely to see, & thank you to Verri Berri for inviting us along.

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ESSEX FOODIES ABROAD // BRATISLAVA

Last month (March) I visited Bratislava, Slovakia just as a little weekend getaway. Prior to any trip I go on, I will always rummage through Tripadvisor to see what’s hot & what’s recommended. Somehow, I stumbled across a little restaurant called Jump Street. It looked amazing. The restaurant specialises in serving black bun burgers, which, much to my liking are extremely Instagrammable. Even if the reviews were bad (which they weren’t) I was still set on going purely for the pics.

The restaurant was easy to find (with the help of Google Maps), however it isn’t very noticeable – so if you do plan on ever visiting, don’t expect glistening neon lights! Moving on to the burger…

Ok, so I honestly had little hope for this burger (apologies to Jump Street), I expected it to be a gimmick with the burger presented as it were, but let me tell you, it was GLORIOUS. The meat itself was cooked medium, & was packed full of tasty burger juice, amongst onion, tomato, relish etc. I would certainly suggest checking Jump Street out if you happen to travel to Bratislava, not only because the food is incredible here, but because you you’ve got the chance to get the perfect burger-biting action shot! Their dessert – chocolate lava cake is also pretty awesome.