Restaurant review: Irmas, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

Irmas is an easy going, happy-go-lucky, welcome-to-all type place. Where you can breeze in, have a good, hearty Italian inspired meal, a catch-up with friends and/or family, then off you go again.Irmas in Leigh-on-Sea

There’s no waiting around ages for your food, no pretension, no drama.

It was a Tuesday night when we went and the place was very busy with all sorts of people – there was a lively family birthday party, a few intimate couples plus groups of friends sharing a bottle or three of Prosecco.

The venue is modern and open-plan, and the decor is shiny and clean cut. Simplistic table settings with wooden chairs and mini black tiling surround. The staff are young, bubbly and helpful. It gives off a welcoming cheap and cheerful vibe. The food’s not particularly cheap, but the place is certainly very cheerful.

First up my wife Katy went for the fonduta, warm goat’s cheese with honey and freshly baked bread. It was sweet little treat, which eight-month pregnant Katy (it’s our first!) dispatched with ease, of course checking before hand that the cheese was pasterised so’s not to offend baby.

I opted for dolcelatte, and along came a big chunk of Gorgonzola cheese with caperberries and again some nice freshly baked bread. The zingy berries offset the silky smooth cheese, in what I have to say was a little overwhelming starter, but you shouldn’t really grumble about a hefty portion, should you?

For mains there is so many pizzas to choose from, so many in fact that I couldn’t decide and opted for pasta. I went for Vesuvio as it had a few interesting ingredients, none more so than the Vodka. The penne dish came in a light, creamy sauce with tomato, cream, parmesan and a goodly amount of red chopped chillis.

Katy went pasta too. A more conventional Sugo, spaghetti with tomato, basil garlic and parmesan. The dishes were ample and the pasta came up a little softer than I like. The sauce on mine was an adventerous blend, and rather explosive too. The splashes of vodka dulled the might of the copious amounts of chilli. It was a decent choice.

To finish up we shared that old Italian favourite, panna cotta. This was a show stopper. Expertly sweet, it proved to be an exceptional finale to an otherwise rather run-of-the-mill meal. Katy and I were in and out in virtually an hour which suited us for a week night. So, if it’s a down-to-earth, lively, no fuss night out you’re after or a chatty light lunch then, rest assured, you can’t go far wrong at Irmas.

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