Oliver’s On The Beach Review

December 9, 2015 by Rich - Foodie Reviewer

Oliver’s On The Beach Review

I’ve said it once and ill say it again; our seafront is in the midst of a revolution. When I reviewed Bourgee some months previous, I wrote how probably only 10 years ago, all our seafront was famous for were boy racers on a Saturday night; confession time, yes I was one of them, (well, probably more like 20 years ago, gosh I'm showing my age now). But I remember it so well, a mark 1 Ford Fiesta, it was my pride and joy. I couldn't fit anything in the boot, it was full of sub woofers, ready to ‘drop da bass’ and annoy the hell out of the local residents! I thought I was so cool, but now much older and wiser I just look back and think…Idiot!! The stereo was worth more than the car itself. But it wasn't just boy racers no no, jolly boys outings, and hoards of day trippers from London and farther a field often flock to our glorious golden mile in the summer. I'm not criticising this at all, I think it’s wonderful; our seafront is thriving, and its great for our economy too. All too often so many other seaside towns seem to struggle. What's even better is the investment that has been ploughed in. Clearly local business entrepreneurs have noticed this. The restaurant scene is a prime example; it's never looked so good. All the way from the Roslin in Thorpe Bay to Toulouse in Westcliff, and everywhere in between, us foodies have never had it so good, and mark my words, it's only getting better.

Im sure anyone who has wandered along the seafront in recent months couldn't have helped notice the new kid on the block? Oliver’s On the Beach! Once an old beach hut selling bucket and spades and other beach paraphernalia. Probably the best gourmet delight you could’ve enjoyed here would’ve been a bacon buttie, or maybe the Southend seafront staple, those horrible greasy donuts. 10 for £2? I don't think so! Deep fried in ancient rancid oil, these excuse for donuts are served to you dripping in grease and sprinkled with sugar, nice! If I'm gonna put away some seriously calorific sweet treats it ain't gonna be these, no way. Donut rant over! Thankfully this particular beach hut closed its doors, and Oliver's on the Beach was born!

I'm sure we all know Jamie Oliver's Essex connection, and his love of Southend. Well, this particular Oliver restaurant has nothing to do with Jamie himself, its his auntie and uncle who run the place, Jamie apparently did drop in a few weeks back when he was filming on the pier. It seems most of the Oliver clan have been involved in the pub or restaurant industry at one time or another, and now this place has been added to their portfolio. Located next to Westcliff casino, it's pretty difficult to miss, with its colour scheme of grey and pink and great views over the Thames Riviera; it’s a top spot.

Last Saturday Lou and I were due to meet with friends in Leigh for an afternoon Christmas drink. Well I say afternoon, it was going to be an afternoon session, no doubt extending into the evening, topped off with a kebab at 11pm; oh yes a kebab, another guilty pleasure of mine!! So, in anticipation of the afternoon’s alcohol consumption, we thought it wise to get a bit of brunch to line our stomachs. Off to Oliver’s we marched.

You can’t book a table here, so you just have to chance your arm and hope a table’s free. We arrived at 11.20, and the place was heaving, with hungry diners chomping their way through great looking breakfasts. There was no room at the inn! But not a problem, the waitress took my mobile number and promised a call when a table become vacant. Good to her word, a little over 10 minutes had passed and I got the call! The restaurant is cosy, and with its kinda beach hut theme, it fits the location perfectly. We’d just missed breakfast, so it was straight on to the main menu. The breakfasts do sound good. All the usual’s, but with a couple of quirky additions. Eggs royale sounded lovely, simply smoked salmon on a muffin with poached eggs and hollandaise. But I really wanted to try the buck’s rarebit! Welsh rarebit topped off with a poached egg, right up my alley! But alas I will have to get there a bit earlier next time.

The main menu has equally tasty sounding classics, such as ham egg and chips, homemade lasagne or beer battered cod, I would’ve been quite happy with any of those. However, the specials board was calling me! Beef casserole and dumplings, fish pie or homemade moussaka, I was tempted by them all; perfect comfort food when storm ‘Desmond’ was outside doing his thang! I was sold on the sausage and mash. But this is no ordinary sausage and mash, oh no. Two plump ‘Barling Beauties’ and whole grain mash no less. Barling Beauties are local award winning low fat sausages, and these awards are clearly well deserved, they tasted superb. Meaty and firm, wonderful with the mustardy mash, and rich onion gravy. There is no secret to perfect sausage and mash in my view, just a good sausage and creamy mash, you’re on to a winner, and that’s exactly what I was served. Lou went for their homemade Scotch egg and chips. What’s not to like about a scotch egg? Better still, when it’s homemade. A generous sized golden Scotch egg cut in to four, I managed to pinch a quarter, it was lovely and herby, with a dollop of English mustard, delicious. The chips! A massive thumb’s up here. I have said this time and time again in my reviews, why cant all restaurants cut there own chips from real potatoes? Surely it’s cheaper than buying in frozen efforts, and they taste so much better. Glad to see Oliver’s fry their own homemade hand cut chips. They were great, with a little salt, perfect. On the side was a small pot of homemade chutney. This was good, and had a real spicy kick. To drink? No booze here I’m afraid, but that’s not a bad thing. The whole purpose of this visit was to have a good feed prior to our alcohol onslaught in the afternoon, so a couple of jugs of water was just what we needed.

Well, for two hearty, comforting main courses, we paid £20. For Great quality and wonderful views, not bad value I thought? The Southend food revolution is running at full steam. Its just getting better and better; these are exciting times my foodie friends. Oliver’s just encapsulates my whole point; simple grub, top quality local ingredients, its a great addition to the ever increasing seafront dining scene. As you'd expect from a family of chefs and foodies such as the Oliver's they certainly know how to run a kitchen, and they’ve proved their point at this new seafront café.


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