I know, I should be getting a discount at this rate! But, it’s a local place to eat with plenty of parking and has always been so enjoyable I can’t help but keep coming back. Each visit has warranted it’s own blog but I do apologise if you are getting bored of hearing about it, I promise to broaden my horizons for the next eat outs.
So this time it was for breakfast, I arrived at 10am on a Sunday and had expected to see a huge queue and for it to be extremely busy but was pleasantly surprised to see that was not the case. I had already decided I would be going for the dairy free poached eggs on toast having already viewed the online menu, I was also very tempted with the dairy free chocolate brownie which I spotted on my way to the table….
Ordering was simple and quick and with many seats available I chose to sit in the conservatory which is a nice spot to look out through the windows whilst enjoying breakfast. It didn’t take long for the food to arrive at my table, the eggs were cooked perfectly and I was provided with dairy free spread. As you can see from the picture I was eager to tuck in but did at the last minute remember to take a quick snap.
The menu was great, eggs cooked exactly how I like them and dairy free spread was provided – I am not sure what else could have been done to make this any better for blunch – especially with a lovely peruse round the shop to finish. It’s going to have to be a 10/10 and a break from visiting this place from me, not only is it putting pressure on my bank balance but I think I need to try out some new places!!
A decision to make, where to go for lunch… Those that know me have grown to love (tolerate) the need for me to look online and choose what I am going to eat before turning up anywhere to eat. This has only got worse since becoming dairy free, in fact I would argue its more of a necessity so that I know there is something I like available for me.
So, I was looking at local websites and it here it was – Perrywoods with not only a vegan menu but a dairy free menu including dairy and gluten free options, this is great progress for those of us with dietary requirements and I would recommend taking a look at their website. Decision made, this is where I would be going for lunch and I actually arrived with a couple of ideas in mind. The queue was huge, yes it was half term but thankfully not too many children about and in fairness it was just after midday so a very popular time to be having lunch. The system was organised, after queuing up to order food a table was found by one of the waitresses to enable us to get seated which I think is a great way of working a queue although inevitable there were still customers who felt the need to find a seat before ordering.
It is worth pointing out that on top of the great menus which can be found on the website, there are also specials which I believe change daily and can be found on the boards when you go into the restaurant. I had chosen and although there was a few dishes which were tempting me to change my mind I stuck to my guns and had the sweet potato falafel salad with a sweet chilli drizzle.
Despite being extremely busy in there, with all the staff working their socks off it wasn’t a long wait for the food to arrive – and it looked delicious. Lovely selection of salad and a generous portion of potato falafel rosti’s, as you can see from the pic it was more than sufficient for lunch (even for me). Part of me was considering ordering a dairy free scone, even if it was to take home for later purely because I have not found anywhere else in the area to provide this – but I was good and thought I would hold off for another visit. Yep, I would definitely be returning. This deserves a high mark of 9.5/10, great selection for those with dietary requirements with the ability to see what is available online and the efficiency of the staff at such a busy time was out of this world. I am looking forward to returning very soon to try out more on the menu, that scone is still calling me that’s for sure!
On a side note, for anyone who loves Christmas (eugh the C word) the decorations are out and its well worth a visit here to take a look around – you will do well to leave without buying something so do be warned!
We decided to try out Sophie’s Kitchen next, although I hadn’t been in here before I have always peered in on my way past and it looked nice and I thought it would be a good spot for some people watching. I couldn’t find a menu online which I always find frustrating especially when I like to know if places can cater for dairy free luckily, I got a picture of the menu sent through to me which at least gave me a chance to see what was available. I spotted the “play it safe” baked beans on toast as a soon as I viewed the menu although it wasn’t long before the Breakfast Bowl jumped out at me. Greek yoghurt served with mixed berries, granola and honey – right up my street. I knew it was unlikely that they would have a dairy free yoghurt but I wanted this breakfast so much I brought my own and hid it in my handbag.
We arrived around 9:30 / 10ish and the place was empty, there is plenty of seating and I have often seen it full at lunch times so I was surprised that there was no one else in there. The bonus of this was that we could choose any seat we want which meant we were positioned against the window with the view of the High Street to people watch the morning away. It also meant I didn’t feel so silly for asking them to use my own yoghurt. I also had a pot of fruit tea which is a great option to have with breakfast and not always available so I was pleased with this. I really enjoyed the breakfast, I thought the menu was great as there was lots to choose from and the breakfast bowl is something that is not usually available.
I couldn’t help but look at the cakes available behind the counter, there were so many to choose from all looking delicious but I do find it disappointing that there wasn’t any dairy free or vegan options. This is something that a lot tearooms lack in and I’d like to see this improve which I am sure it will over time, just like the gluten free availabilities. I would like to come back here again, perhaps for lunch or another breakfast although I am not sure what options would be open to me so would need to consider this further.
Because the menu was so good and the layout and set up of the tables was nice I would like to give this an 8/10, however due to the lack of options for dairy free / vegan customers I am going to put this down at a 7.5/10.
The next breaky stop was at The Lock Tearoom in Heybridge Basin, having been there numerous times before I knew the parking is easy, the location and tearoom is lovely so it’s always a nice place to go. I hadn’t had breakfast here since becoming dairy free and my normal choice would either have been the full fry up (with adjustments as it’s made fresh to order swaps can be made) or scrambled egg on toast. On this occasion I decided to play it safe with beans on toast without the butter and explained I was dairy free. The waiter was very helpful and said they do have dairy free spread which is what I opted for and always makes the classic meal of beans on toast that bit tastier, I also had the choice of either white or granary bread. I appreciate this isn’t the most difficult of breakfasts to cater for but it was very nice, the menu is good and they accommodate my dairy free requirements well. I am not sure if there are any cake or sweet options available in a dairy free range but it is something I would hope to check out in the future.
I would recommend coming here for breakfast, it’s a lovely setting to have something to eat, parking is free with plenty of spaces available and you could follow up with a walk along the seawall. I can’t say it blew me away which to be honest could be down to the fact I had standard beans on toast, but it is a solid 7.5/10.
Breakfasts = the new afternoon tea? 🤔 Well, perhaps not but at the moment it’s the best I can do. So, we often like to catch up over breakfast on a Sunday morning, it’s a great time of day to get out and enjoy one of the best meals of the day. Who doesn’t like a nice late morning breaky to set you up for the day ahead?
We began the tour de breaky in Continental Coffee with a nice early start of 9:30am which meant we got a table without any issues. We even got a favourite seat by the window which allows for people watching on the High Street. The coffee shop itself is quite small which does mean there is limited seating although I think it is possible to book we didn’t on this occasion and it did fill up quickly. In the summer months there is the bonus of outside seating which I think would be lovely and had we been in a hotter month with some sunshine I imagine we would have enjoyed sitting in the courtyard. It has a good atmosphere and some very tasty looking cakes by the till which would be tempting if I could enjoy one.
The breakfast menu is varied and caters for lots of different tastes, whether it be a small plate of jam on toast or a larger cooked breakfast – the choice is there. Being dairy free I find this all a bit awkward but the easiest thing for me to go for is beans on toast without the butter, nice and easy plus very enjoyable. My friends opted for a breakfast bap which I must say looked great and some bacon with eggs on toast – again a great option to go for and we were all happy. Obviously, the usual tea and coffee or juices were available but I stuck with my water whilst the big kids with me enjoyed a rather nice milkshake, there were so many flavours available I was quite jealous. We all came away happy and comfortably full, nice menu and a lovely little tea room at a reasonable price. I think it is worth visiting here if you like a lighter breakfast for a catch up with friends and would mark this at a solid 8/10.
The next big one for us was at the Savoy, another bday gift for us from our Mum for our birthday. So since I now have knowledge of my intolerances I informed The Savoy of this in advance and they were happy to pass my details on to the chef and were able to accommodate me. I was really excited to see what they were going to do for me.
On arrival we were asked to leave our coats in the cloakroom (I know, posh right?!), we popped to the ladies and at 1 o’clock we were seen to our table. The room was set out lovely, a piano in the middle and the tables spread out in a spacious manor around the large room. We could talk openly without any concerns for others being able to hear our conversation (always good when having a long overdue catch up with your sister). We were given a tea menu with plenty of choices available, however playing it safe we both went for the peppermint leaf tea which came out quickly and was poured for us by the waitress.
It took a little longer for our food to come out due to them having to cook my dairy free scones from fresh and when the food was brought out to us the waitress explained what was in each of our sandwiches. I had turkey, a roasted vegetable in a coronation sauce, red pepper with hummus (my favourite), cucumber and tomato. I had two dairy free scones one was fruit and the other plain and I was also provided with some coconut cream – omg this was delicious! My sister had ham, smoked salmon with a lemon dressing, coronation chicken, egg mayonnaise and cucumber with cream cheese. She also had a fruit and a plain scone along wih some clotted cream, lemon curd and we had some strawberry jam to share.
When it come to the cakes I was really intrigued as to what I would be served up with. I was a bit concerned when a couple of them had chocolate on them but I was actually really quite full so went for the sponge with raspberry and blueberries with coconut cream on top. This was very tasty and the best cake I have since being aware of my intolerances. I decided to stay safe and not have the chocolate looking ones although in fairness I was too full anyway. My sister got to choose from a variey of cakes and she went for the Battenberg cake, a profiterole type cake and a mandarin biscuit based cake. Apparently the battenberg cake was spot on, however the others were a little bit too rich for her which is just down to personal preference. She also had a taste of one of my chocolate looking cakes which turns out may not have been chocolate but could well have been an alternative – who knows.
We felt the atmosphere here was lovely, we didn’t feel out of place in anyway, the piano playing really set the scene and the waitresses, waiters and chef all did amazing jobs at making us feel welcome. I think this one really raises the bar to a 10 or of 10, it’s going to be a tough one to beat!
For my Nan’s Christmas treat, we have taken her on a couple of afternoon tea’s throughout the year – her first was at Braxted Bakery which you can read about here and this weekend we took her to Bluebell Tearooms in Danbury. My sister and I have been here before which I wrote about earlier in the year and marked at an 8/10 – I have re-read this review to bring back fresh memories of the day.
Unfortunately this time I was unable to have the afternoon tea due to my intolerances 🙄 so I came along and had something off the main menu. I played it safe with a jacket potato and beans with a side salad (no dressing), although there were other options available on the menu – sandwiches, quiche, soup etc. none would be suitable for me. I did spot a sign offering gluten free options so if this is something you require it is worth a visit. My jacket spud was a great size and I enjoyed it, however I do have to say the afternoon tea looked delicious and it wasn’t easy watching my sister and Nan munch their way through it 🤤. They were given the option to choose 3 fillings for their sarnies which I think is a great idea to be sure you are given something that you enjoy, I don’t recall having this option previously so I see this as an improvement. A fruit scone was on the next tier, one each and no option of having this heated although that didn’t seem like a problem for either my Nan or Sister who managed to get this down them in record time. I guess they had concerns over my jealous stares and felt they had to get it in them before I tried grabbing it from their hands 😑. Now the cakes, my god the cakes – they looked unbelievably tasty and the improvement on last time was not only that the macaroon was chocolate but also there was a cake each!! Of my 3 favourite types of cake, chocolate brownie, lemon slice and a Victoria sponge. This afternoon tea looked amazing, I am not sure if this is down to the fact I couldn’t eat it and I always want what I can’t have but it looked better and smelt nicer than any afternoon tea I can remember 😂. After discussing this with my sister we have agreed the improvements made from our previous visit deserve a half a point increase to an 8.5/10. My Nan particularly enjoyed the ambiance of this tearoom and loved the way the table was decorated.