Going down well: One of my porn star martinis
When your local bar has an extensive revamp, reopens with a new name, new look and promises “epic food, creative cocktails and great times” then it was only a matter of time before I’d be checking it out.
The Oakleigh, in London Road, Leigh-on-Sea, launched a couple of week ago and is offering a new restaurant, cocktail bar and evening bar.
It’s on the site of the former popular Bellini Bar and Brasserie, which closed a few months back – and is run by the same folk, namely the McManus Pub Company.
I’ve had a fair few girly nights at Bellini (pre-baby, its oh-so-moreish jam donut cocktail gave me possibly one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had!) so when I was invited along for dinner and drinks at the Oakleigh, there was no way I would be saying no.
The husband and I headed up there last night, after our tot was tucked up in bed and the babysitter safely installed in front of Love Island. Continue reading
Even the loos are lux: Ladies’ room selfie at Southend’s new Seven Hotel
Southend’s brand new boutique hotel opened its doors officially today, but I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch party last night.
The luxurious seafront Seven Hotel, in Clifton Terrace, offers 37 super lux bedrooms, a 70-person restaurant and a gin-centric cocktail bar, following a £4million project.
Last night I was among Seven’s first guests and enjoyed a decadent evening of sumptuous cocktails, in partnership with Tattinger Champagne and Copper Head Gin, as well as canapes from the new restaurant, Aurum.
The nibbles, prepared by head chef, Simon Webb, who has previously worked with the likes of the legendary Roux family, included monkfish cheek in black brioche buns, opulent oysters as well as carrot and orange ice cream (not a combo I’ve ever heard of before either!)
For one night, the tables in Seven’s plush restaurant were pushed aside to allow us to dance to tunes being played by DJ Shmia. Continue reading
Little lunch date: Sonny Jim at Birdwood
Heading to Leigh-on-Sea with a little one in tow? These places will make stopping for a bite to eat worth your while!
- TruLeigh Scrumptious, Broadway West. We held Sonny Jim’s post-Christening bash here. Which should give you some indication of how lovely I think it is. There is baby changing. High chairs. Friendly staff. Fizz to drink. And the tea room decor is just pretty lovely too.
- Piggy Went To Market, Elm Road, has plenty of room to get the pram in and to park it next to the table while still leaving room for others to get by. And plenty of high chairs. It has an alcohol licence too. And a stash of daily newspapers. And staff who are friendly and have no interest in rushing you out. Which is always good. Downside? No changing facilities on-site (but the community centre is just a couple of doors away…)
- Speaking of the community centre… Lorna and Lotties Cafe, on the ground floor of the centre, Elm Road. Soooo family friendly. And sooo reasonably priced. Me and Sonny Jim stop here for a hot chocolate (me) and milk (the boy) before our baby yoga class.
By the husband (Gary Pearson)
Rak Chang for our first date night since Sonny’s birth
It was Friday night ,”date night”, for my wife and I.
Our first outing since the birth of our little lad Sonny. He’s our first child and aged a tender ten-and-a-half weeks old we felt (just about) ready to venture out in the big wide world again…
So for our first apres-baby date we were thinking nothing too fancy, nothing too fussy, something we could trust and know we were going to enjoy. A safe bet.
We chose Rak Chang, on the Broadway, as we had been there a few times before and had always enjoyed a good, dependable meal with ample variety. After all, you don’t want to go too wild on your reintroduction to the real world do you!? Continue reading
Getting out and about with Sonny
Leaving the house with your new little one can be epically daunting (I’m sure it’ll wear off eventually, but still) and little things that people and places do – or don’t do – can be the difference between a great day for you and bubba and a I-want-to-cry-I’m-so-useless day (that’s for you – not the baby, they cry however great their day has been.) There should a baby friendly sticker scheme or something.
Until then though, having now had a few weeks of venturing out with Sonny in tow, here’s my – and my NCT mummy chums’ – hero places (and people) for new mums in Leigh-on-Sea (and nearby.) Continue reading
By the husband (Gary Pearson)
9 months pregnant and loving these dishes!
Subtly tucked away amid the quirky row of niche shops in Leigh is an absolutely charming little French restaurant.
La Belle Epoque is delightfully authentic and when you step inside you could be excused for thinking you had just stepped in from a bustling Parisian side street, rather than lively Leigh Road, such is the make-up of the place.
So much thought has gone into the decoration creating a lovely intimate atmosphere, perfect for a romantic evening.
And the welcome is something special too. Owner Benoit has bags of charisma and is so friendly, informative without being at all irritating. He knows when to have a chat and when to leave you alone to enjoy your food.
Benoit, who hails from Marseille, proudly tells us how he does his fair share of cooking, while running the place with his cousin and employs two top quality chefs and often is front of house too.
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.
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. Continue reading