I live in Colchester and in recent years, many shops have closed down due to the recession and have been replaced with restaurants. Normally, I would find this exciting and would rush to try them, but unfortunately, most of them have become chains.
I don’t have anything major against chain restaurants, I just believe they lack charm, genuine service and authentic, well-cooked food. Colchester is a town with huge potential for outstanding restaurants, however, as there are so many cheaper options on the high street now, upmarket places have little hope of surviving and showing people what good food actually is!
One of my biggest pet hates is when people claim to be “foodies” yet they wouldn’t be able to even cook a spaghetti bolognese from scratch without using a recipe! And they have no idea which flavours complement each other and thinking outside the box. Now before I go on a rant about people’s lack of knowledge and respect for good food, I want to recommend a restaurant in the Colchester area that is reasonably priced and the food is simple, yet fantastic.
On the weekend of my birthday in August, I was treated to lunch at a local pub in Fingringhoe called The Whalebone Inn. As you can see from their website, it’s a grade two listed building and it is in a beautiful, serene part of Essex. The beer garden is perfect to sit in the sun with a refreshing Gin and Tonic – they even get bonus points for serving Fever-tree tonic (a must for a decent G&T).
We chose to eat inside as bugs annoy me when you’re trying to eat! One of the lovely things about the menu is that it’s seasonal and not printed out – they have their dishes on the board to choose from. The menu was enticing and as usual, I spent ages changing my mind and picking what I was going to have! Eventually, I decided on chicken liver parfait, followed by macaroni cheese with a lobster Thermidor style sauce. Both courses were delicious and well presented, they were also very reasonable in price with starters averaging £6 and mains £13. The only criticism would be that the service wasn’t spectacular but I imagine they were short staffed and unexpectedly busy on the bank holiday weekend. But I would thoroughly recommend it and I can’t wait to go back now it’s the autumn to see what dishes they will have on offer then!