Saturday, 26 November 2011

An Essex day out

A couple of questions. How does a foodie get to stuff their face with delicious food and not look like Billy Bunter? How does a foodie achieve this in Essex? The answer is actually quite simple, take a trip up the A12 to Constable country, walk 7 miles and check out a quaint little tea shop in the beautiful village of Dedham and then have a late lunch in a much acclaimed gastropub in the remote outpost of Mistley.

This so called "Essex" image is confined to a very small cesspit full of chavs, spivs and divs. Trust me, the county has many stunning places to visit and produced one of the country's best ever artists in John Constable. Dedham is a picture postcard of a village as you can see.

Anyway, down to the important part. The chosen pit stop was the Essex Rose Tea House It's very homely inside and so are the cakes. The offerings are traditional but if you want to really indulge, ask for the hot chocolate with cream, flakes and a couple of can can girls! You actually get served a jug which makes about three mugs and should see even the most ardent of chocoholics through to tea time!

I'd be a liar if I said I've even heard of Mistley before today. It's actually a very interesting village, full of history, architecture and swans. The chosen pub, despite strolling in at 4.30pm were happy to provide a very late lunch from their set menu, £11.95 for 2 courses which in terms of value defies belief.  The celeriac soup with truffle oil was well balanced and the perfect way to tickle the autumnal taste buds. The pan fried gurnard with new potatoes and tapenade was well cooked and despite utilising only a few ingredients was incredibly moreish. The Pork in cider and mustard sauce unfortunately didn't live up to the rest of the dishes. The sauce was too sweet which in turn infiltrated the mash. The meat was succulent though and was all washed down with some excellent Adnams Bitter. The pub is basically a hotel/restaurant and has received rave reviews from many of the country's leading food critics. As a fan of the Essex/Suffolk border area, I may make a return next year to sample the dinner menu.

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