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.
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.
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.