In the lovely little village of Thorpe Le Soken I came across this nice bar and restaurant in the high street and although there were plenty of pubs to choose from this place appealed to me. After popping in for a fruit tea I’d decided to come back in here to taste the menu. Although there wasn’t anything clearly labelled as vegan on the menu, I had a word with a member of staff who spoke to the chef and let me know there were a few things they could do for me.
The options consisted of tomato and basil soup, stuffed aubergine ratatouille and a curry. I was actually really tempted with all 3 but I decided against the soup as I often have soup for my lunch during the week and I do like to have something different when I eat out. So, it was between the aubergine and the curry. I do love a curry and it was a close call but I opted for aubergine as this isn’t something I’ve had before and it’s nice to try new things.
The place itself was nice, clean and fresh as you walk in there’s a bar with a few tables for drinks and you can order food here but the restaurant is round the back with many more tables and seats. It looked as though there was also outside seating which would be nice on a summers day. It wasn’t very busy in there but it was early afternoon so not exactly rush hour, I can imagine that it could get quite busy of an evening.
It didn’t take long for my food and drink to arrive which was great and the presentation of the food was really good. The ratatouille had a strong flavour, the aubergine was cooked nicely and there was a generous side salad with dressing. I enjoyed the meal, it was tasty and I would have it again although I think I would want to try the curry if I do come back here.
There’s a question mark as to whether I would come back here in a hurry as unfortunately some others who came here with me did not enjoy their meal. Now, I know this may have been do with their meal choice but it does take a shine off of the experience. I will however only review my experience and I thought the restaurant was nice, staff friendly and willing to adapt meals for dietary requirements and my food tasted good.
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!!
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.
Oakhouse was our next stop, I’d heard the breakfasts here were good and I had wanted to get on the website to take a look at the menu before arriving but unfortunately the breakfast menu isn’t on there. I haven’t eaten in here for such a long time but I was looking forward to testing out the breakfasts. We didn’t book but when we arrived at 9:30 there was plenty of seats available so this wasn’t an issue, we got a nice spot in a booth although the seats are a little on the uncomfortable side. Two of us got the chance to order our drinks and take a look at the menu before the others arrived and as soon as I had spotted poached eggs on the menu I knew this is what I would be asking for.
It was no hassle asking for poached egg on toast without the butter which wasn’t actually on the menu but I explained I was dairy free and there were no questions asked which is always good. Once again, I just had water, however there was a peppermint tea, normal tea and a milkshake also ordered and I think everyone seemed happy with these drinks. My water however had a funny taste, it was almost like I could taste the red bull from a Jager bomb I imagine had been in there the previous evening – not great but I didn’t comment to the waitress so I guess it can’t have been that bad. The others at my table had ordered the eggs royale and eggs benedict and although the service was quite slow this is probably because everything is cooked fresh which I wouldn’t complain about. My food was nice, I love the way the poached eggs looked as they came out and it was all presented well. My only criticism would have to be down to how the egg was cooked and I know this is all down to a personal preference. I had hoped for some runny egg – there was no running yolk, now I know I am really quite picky when it comes to how my eggs are cooked as there is a fine line between getting the yolk runny and having slime on my egg. However, I would have liked to have seen some runny yolk spread across my toast, as you can imagine without butter this actually makes it quite dry. I am sorry but for me it would have to be a 6.5 / 10 due to the funny tasting water and the non-runny egg.
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.