Bourgee – a welcome addition to Southend-on-Sea’s dreary restaurant scene.
I have been living in Essex for 10 years and when I heard the news that a posh restaurant will be opening close by I couldn’t believe my ears. Someone had a lot of balls.
Keen to check out Bourgee, I visited within a week or two of its launch. The interiors are upmarket, hip and trendy and it is located on Southend’s seafront.
The menu, devised by Mark Baumann, is more imaginative than the average British restaurant – dotted with lobster throughout makes it irresistible. Even the vegetarian options look good.
My Lobster Bisque (£9) was theatrically poured at the table and in the centre of the bowl rested half a lobster on a bed of julienned cucumber. The cheesy Lobster Bites (£8.50) came in a escargot plate which made for tricky eating – scraping all the cheese up. My soup came with a ladle instead of just a plain old fashioned spoon, which proved to be irritating to eat with.
A fun play is made on the British classic, fish and chips. Bourgee offers Lobster Tempura (£18) with mushy peas, something different that would make this meal unforgettable. It’s a shame they served it with straight-out-of-the-jar-chili-sauce though. My rare fillet (£28) was perfectly cooked and half a grilled lobster (£15) couldn’t be faulted.
Afterwards I realised why the Mars Bar Cheesecake (£6) seemed so familiar. A few years ago I attended a course at Baumann’s Brasserie where we made a Snickers Cheesecake and it was truly decadent. The trio of desserts – Baileys crème brûlée, gin and tonic jelly, orange vodka panna cotta – was quite reasonably priced at £6, considering it would have cost quite a bit more in a London restaurants.
All in all, the food was great and the venue swish. Ultimately, the evening was let down by the laughable service. The only professional who appeared to know what he’s doing was the maître d’. This problem can be rectified however and if you wait a little bit longer to visit Bourgee might have overcome its teething problems.
7/10: What’s not to love about a surf ‘n turf menu?
7/10: Bourgee is probably one of the most expensive restaurants in Southend at the moment but in London you’ll pay even more for the same quality and quantity.
3/10: The good-natured but clueless staff need intensive training.
8/10: Very buzzy and lively on a Saturday evening.
7/10: If Bourgee can improve its level of service, it would be one of the best restaurants in Southend.
1 Eastern Esplanade
P.S. I was a guest of Bourgee.