Hero places (and people) for new mums

Katy Pearson and Sonny

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

Restaurant review: La Belle Epoque, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

Katy Pearson at La Belle Epoque

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.

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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. Continue reading

Restaurant review: The Peterboat, Leigh-on-Sea

The Peterboat is pretty much synonymous with Old Leigh.

The Peterboat, Leigh-on-Sea

The Peterboat

The pub, perched on the very edge of the estuary, has been there for centuries (since 1757 in fact) and on a sunny summer’s evening there are few places finer to stop for a spot of supper and a cool beverage – or two.

After months of work in the winter off-season, it now has an extended bar and dining area with more seats (handy as it gets super busy.) Thankfully, however the Peterboat lost none of its public house charm in the revamp. Nor have any of its classic dishes (yes, cockle chowder I’m looking at you) been ditched. In fact, the menu has not been amended, specials aside, for at least a year. No pointless, change-for-change’s-sake here, thank you very much.

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Restaurant review: The Regatta, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

If you are after a laidback evening and some decent food, then it’s worth giving the Regatta a whirl.

The Regatta, Leigh-on-Sea, Katy Pearson

The Regatta, Leigh-on-Sea

It’s one of the latest restaurants to open in the ever-improving Leigh Road, Leigh.

The staff are extremely friendly and informative, and the decor simple, but effective  – light pastel blues giving the  place the nautical feel it’s clearly coveting. The food choice is excellent.

It calls itself a modern British restaurant and offers many old favourites, steak and kidney pudding, for example, plus a varied, if not slightly pricey, selection of fish.

For starters, I went for the baby back pork ribs, which came up honey-glazed. They were a little too fatty for my liking, but theymade for a enjoyable start nonetheless. My wife Katy enjoyed her sample mind, and I was quite taken by the soup of the day she ordered, namely butternut squash – her favourite. Continue reading

Restaurant review: Nuvo, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

NUVO, now I’m not sure what that means, but one thing’s for sure this place is fancy, really fancy.

It’s one of a new breed of kids on the Broadway block, and it’s sure making a statement.

Nuvo Leigh-on-Sea

Nuvo

The menu has a real air of class about it, but is it any good?

First up for me was “crispy duck”. It came with watermelon salad and some spiced, honey drizzled cashew nuts.

I’ve highlighted crispy duck, because it actually wasn’t that crispy at all. However, it was a very tasty start and the sweet, fresh combination worked surprisingly well. Although I’d like the duck crispy next time please!

My wife Katy went for English scallops, priced by the way, at a princely £11.95… It came with cauliflower puree, quince jam, crispy chorizo and a helping of cherry confit. All very upmarket. Continue reading

Restaurant review: The Garden Restaurant at Orsett Hall

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

ENJOYING the beautiful late evening sun, sipping a gin and tonic seated within the vast and beautiful grounds at Orsett Hall, I found myself thinking life could be a lot worse…

The Garden Restaurant at Orsett Hall, Gary Pearson

The Garden Restaurant at Orsett Hall, Gary Pearson

Orsett Hall is a lovely place and I was more than looking forward to sampling the restaurant’s summer menu.
It wasn’t long before I realised the food was every bit as good as the view.

My wife Katy went for soup of the day for a starter, while I opted for the poached langoustines. Delicious would be an understatement.

Mine came with a gorgeous little lump of crispy pork, a chervil (French parsley) and mango mayonnaise. A truly heavenly surf ’n’ turf. Continue reading