Anybody who has read my earlier recent blogs will know this week has been a foodie stayvacation revisiting some foodie favourites and finding some new ones.
Yesterday the actual ‘birthday’ – the reason for the stayvacation needed a proper Sunday Lunch. Unfortunately I left it too late to book my original choice. The Mews. But I wasn`t too bothered as I had been contemplating somewhere new to us Bourgee, and while reviews were mixed for the restaurant as a whole, the Sunday Lunch had some glorious reviews.
My partner thought we were still going with The Mews and got confused as we carried on walking down the High Street. Tomassi? Nice place but not special enough for the Foodie Finale. Pipe of Port – nope we don`t go there anymore since they stopped serving real ale. Park Inn – very expensive bar. I joked it might be Feels Good Pasta and Pizza – my partner had taken his girls one day not realising the waiters and waitresses sing and dance – never again.
And so our walk along the front continued until we arrived at Bourgee. The surprise had already fallen flat when my partner commented that the only place he could not think of was the place for ‘beautiful people’. And then as we arrived, one of the ‘beautiful people’ was ‘explaining to her son the error of his ways’ and sharing it with most of Southend :-(. Oh dear.
Still we had booked so……
To be honest the atmosphere was very similar to any carvery I`ve ever been to and had the same high pitch noise. But we were shown to a table that was in a quieter part of the restaurant.
As we were looking at the menus (after having politely declined the olives, bread etc. that we were encouraged to order whilst looking at the menu) I explained (after being asked did we want sparkling or still mineral water, no option given of tap water) as I was saying, I explained that one of the reasons for coming to Bourgee was that so far in our Foodie week we hadn`t had lobster and birthday boy loves lobster. Bourgee promotes itself under the steak and lobster banner so I was hoping for good if not great things. Birthday boy could have a lobster for main course or lobster (lollipops) were a starter. He had set his mind on ‘meat’ for a main course so lobster lollipops it was. After all lobster was part of the restaurant`s trademark so even as a starter it had to be good.
So then we waited and waited. We people watched and decided we could not work out the target audience given the range of people there. And we waited. I worked out that the tables were not to be encouraged in restaurants, they had great big bases so you could not put your feet straight on the ground – not great if you have ‘joint issues’. And still we waited. Yes it was busy but not that busy. And it is a fairly basic menu for Sunday Lunch. Eventually our order was taken, we held our ground and didn`t order extra vegetables. The main course comes with parsnips, carrots and cabbage but it was strongly suggested cauliflower cheese would be good. Nope, 3 vegetables is fine, thank you.
So let`s get this bit over quickly because the rest of the meal was really quite good. Lobster lollipops suck! And that is truly no compliment. Mashed potatoes with the smallest amount of lobster was the verdict. Right, enough verbal ‘bashing’ well until the end.
The house wine – Merlot – was very, very acceptable. I may have been tempted to a more expensive wine if our experience had started off better, but to be honest I don`t think it would have been £10 better. My starter was superb. I`ve just been back onto the website to get the description correct and they`ve changed it since yesterday
The our main course arrived. Josper grilled ribbed steak. My partner admitted later he had been expecting a thin steak with little flavour. Wrong. It was delicious, well cooked (medium rare as requested) and plenty of it. Plenty of crispy garlic roast potatoes. Good vegetables. Perhaps one of best Yorkshire puds I`ve had and a good amount of gravy. Interestingly they ask if you want salt and pepper. It didn`t need it at all and I do hope the people on the table next to us didn`t spoil their meal too much with the ample covering of salt they gave it. The horseradish sauce was brilliant, so much so that we commented on it at the end of the meal. Unfortunately it`s not made in their kitchen, it`s a well known brand. Oh well at least it ‘hit the spot’.
We both cleared our plates and all of it was really, really good. Aha now on a roll. Another bottle of wine had already accompanied the main course and the restaurant was going up substantially in our estimation.
Now I don`t do desserts normally. There are some exceptions and most things with lemon will tempt me big time. Lemon meringue Ice Cream. Mmmm. Tart. Zesty. That`s what I was looking forward to. Ironically they tried to take our dessert order almost as soon as we had finished our main course. We requested a break and more time. A whole 5 minutes maximum was given!
Presentation was very clever. 3 small portions of ice cream – a cone and flake as ‘garnish’ for each one. Words to use to describe the lemon meringue ice cream? Tart? No! Zesty? No! creamy, sweet and nice if you have sweet tooth. The one scoop I had of chocolate ice cream was sublime and I could have easily quoted from a well known film in terms of really, really enjoying the pleasure.
Coffee wasn`t in our plans and to be honest it wasn`t even offered. And I hate it when a good meal is spoilt by bad coffee and some of the disappointments of Bourgee suggested the coffee may not have ‘pleased’. But long walk back ahead, so visit to the loo required. Eventually by squinting in the poor light I worked out the ladies and luckily I`m fine with snakes but I do not expect that to be greeting me in the ladies loo. of course it wasn`t real but …. Loos clean but NO LOO PAPER. Come on, how often are the loos checked, especially on a Sunday.
So yes we had a great time because we were determined to. There is a shortage of places for a decent Sunday Lunch that we can walk to but if I went again I would only have the main course which is EXCELLENT, and I would make sure I had spare loo roll in my pocket.