The past nine months I competed in eight print and slide competitions and sat through numerous mind-numbingly boring presentations at Southend-on-Sea’s Photographic Society – for some reason they don’t like to call themselves a photo club. The season is closed with an annual dinner, which was held at Ora (South East Essex College’s training restaurant) last year. Having been very pleased with the latter’s food I immediately jumped on board for the annual dinner. Only this time it was at a different venue – The Chichester.
Warning: Don’t let my pretty pictures fool you. 😛
When I saw the Prawn & Smoked Salmon Cocktail I was immediately filled with regret. The portion was decent and looked much more alluring than mine.
If I knew that the mushrooms were going to be deep-fried I would have ordered the former. I blame the menu for being blatantly vague. Two mushrooms’ stalks were removed and put together which created a “cavity” in the middle, which was filled with pâté, then the whole concoction was deep-fried. A very creative dish but a complete disaster. The pâté was a questionable pink colour and I failed to identify what it was. The mushrooms were tasteless and the oil was over-powering. On the up-side, the finely chopped salad was pleasant and refreshing.
The Lamb Shank in Red Wine Sauce was the best item of the evening. Although the sauce was good, it saddened me that the chefs (or if they didn’t cook it, the caterers who supply the restaurant) didn’t braise it for just that teeny weeny bit longer to make it melt-in-the-mouth tender.
The vegetables were a let-down. I don’t know if it was because they were cooking for old people, but the vegetables were unsalted and cooked to oblivion. A big lover of broccoli I took one bite of it and left the rest on my plate due to its sogginess and mushiness. The roast potatoes were uncrunchy, oily and burned.
Tim, who sat opposite me had Roast Beef which looked okay and the Yorkshire Pudding was huge.
Yet again I was disappointed when my pudding arrived and I saw what the others had: Meringue with Vanilla Ice Cream and Cherry Jubilee.
Looking at the picture now, the sauce’s colour resembles that of Chicken Korma, or to new mothers baby poo. What could have been a pudding with flair was a complete cock-up. The sponge was gluey and squelchy, which was placed on the most tasteless cooked apples I’ve ever come across. The toffee sauce was just everywhere and wasn’t up to much either.
A few bites and I was done with my “pudding” or should I say “pooding”. Even though I’m not a fan of Profiteroles, I looked longingly at my neighbour’s.
4/10: Although some dishes looked quite appetising, ordering them shouldn’t be a hit or miss. What I was looking for was consistency and not to mention quality. Did I mention all my food was lukewarm?
4/10: I paid £20 for the meal. For the same amount of money I could have gone to Patterson’s and had a three course meal from the Lunch Menu. So based on the poor food that half didn’t get eaten, it’s bad value for money. The drinks were reasonably priced though.
6/10: I was going to give it a 9 when I remembered the strange fiasco when our main courses came. There were piping hot plates placed in front of us. The poor waitresses then had to carry the meats and sauces on platters and serve the right customers. As the girl was leaning over me and scraping sauce with a dessert spoon I was thinking, missy, you better not drizzle that gravy over my brand new top. It was stressful and it was bizarre. Did I mention the food was lukewarm?!?
8/10: Clean and functional.
7/10: We were in a big barn conversion which was very cosy. Three enormous air conditioners were overhead and kept everyone cool. Points were deducted for the choice of music which was at times played loudly. Septuagenarians don’t want to hear music by Shaggy.
3/10: NO. Avoid!
Pub grub doesn’t need to be bad; I rave about the food of The Pheasant Inn. There are two big problems. One, British residents seem to be satisfied with substandard food and if they aren’t they won’t speak up. Two, knowing this, restaurant/pub owners cut the budget of proper cook staff to people who are willing to work for £5 an hour or less. Do they know how to cook? Most of them don’t. Do they care? Nope. Does anyone care? I DO! Wouldn’t it be nice to sit down and know you are going to be served fantastic food wherever you go?
Old London Road