Baby-friendly places to eat: Leigh-on-Sea

Sonny Jim, Birdwood, Leigh-on-Sea

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.

Continue reading

Restaurant review: Rak Chang, Leigh-on-Sea

By the husband (Gary Pearson)

Rak Chang, Leigh-on-Sea, Broadway

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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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