Monday, 31 August 2009

My Kitchen - Leigh-on-Sea.

As the crow flies, the closest restaurant to where I live is 'My Kitchen' a vegetarian restaurant on the Leigh Road, a mere 5 minute amble away. But, being a rampant carnivore, I've dismissed it out of hand. Don't get me wrong, I've admired the look of the place while tramping past on some errand or other, but Vegetarian to me says bearded, threadbare jumper wearing, lentil munching devotees to the mung bean.
Keep your Nut Cutlets, I'm sure your Tofu burger is very tasty indeed....Not for me thank you.

How wrong could I be?

Lately reports have been filtering back to me that the food in 'My Kitchen' is excellent, snippets of Halloumi this and Pan fried potato this have caught my interest. Enough is enough, I just had to try this for myself. And, I'm happy to report - I was very wrong. In fact, My Kitchen is the best local restaurant I've eaten in by a long chalk. Inventive and impressively cooked food in a relaxed almost Parisian Bistro like environment - and incredibly good value for money. Hallelujah - I'm a convert!!!

So now, your no doubt wondering what did I eat to bring about this Road to Damascus style conversion to the ways of the non-meat eater...

To start, Sauteed Potatoes, and Kale with a Poached Duck Egg. A simple dish, but extremely tasty and well cooked. I Can't fault this, beautifully cooked potatoes with lightly cooked crisp Kale and a rich creamy yolked duck egg. Lovely stuff.

Onto the Mains, Porcini and Cup Mushroom Risotto with roast Garlic and Parmesan. Another cracking dish, very rich and a huge portion to boot - perhaps a bit too much cooking liqueur, my preference for risottos normally being slightly thicker and stickier but as it was so tasty I can't complain too much. I cleared the plate.

The Girlfriend, who had started eating her starter of Almond Pesto, Mozzarella, Olive and Rocket Salad before I could get a decent photo (When will she learn eh?) was extremely happy, and was almost delirious when the dish above arrived as her main course.

Beer Battered Halloumi with Chunky Chips, Mushy Peas and Lemon Mayo. She'd definitely picked a winner here, the chunky chips were incredible, quite possibly the best I've sampled anywhere. Perfectly light and crisp on the outside, floury and fluffy on the inside. (I complimented the Chef on these later in the evening, and asked what his secret was, his cooking method was fairly standard, but attributed the chip success to incredible local potatoes supplied by a friend, being perfectly in season - declaring something like "In a few more weeks, they won't taste as good as this.")

I decided to share a dessert with the GF, opting for Strawberry Cheesecake. Once again, a huge portion so easily enough to share. Wow, I've eaten a lot of cheesecakes over the years and this was a really good example, rich, full of flavour and creamy.

So, two courses each, a dessert to share, a glass of wine, two beers.....£40!! That's right, you heard correctly, I'll say it again - £40! Incredible value, and extremely good food. If this rampant carnivore can come away impressed, believe me - they're doing something very right. Highly recommended.

My Kitchen

80 Leigh Road

Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.


Telephone: 01702 719222


The Ample Cook said...

Great review Dan. I'm really glad you've put a post up of this restaurant. My sister is a veggie and had eaten here when it was Cafe Pulse and really enjoyed it. We didn't know it had changed hands. From your review I would be happy to try it. Well done and thanks!

ps.Just have to make that Mike doesn't smuggle a pork chop in with him!

Anonymous said...

So good to hear about somewhere completely new, have so many veggie friends who I eat out with but we've been to most veg places in London. Must check this out. I like the look of those chips a LOT! Another lovely review, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Nice review Dan, I read the title and was hoping to see around Your Kitchen at home. Ah well, that duck egg starter looked huge!

Dan said...

Jan Thanks- yeah I remember Cafe Pulse, never went in there though. 'My Kitchen' very nice indeed, was a hell of a lot of stuff I could have happily eaten off the menu, and so cheap as well. All mains and starters were set prices.

Rejina, Leigh-on-Sea is worth a visit in its own right for a wander down the old town. Very pretty and the closest beach to London. (40 mins by train from Fenchurch St.
You have the cockle sheds and seafood, the seafront etc. 'The Broadway' High Street above the Old Town is also worth a visit, lots of small independent interesting shops.
If your pals happen to be veggies as well, then I guess 'My Kitchen' would be the place to visit for lunch or Dinner.

Eatnorthcentralsouth - hahaha shown around my kitchen at home, that would be a good idea for a post, but perhaps a bit too pretentious with "Here's where the magic happens" type comments.

Food Urchin said...

I don't know Dan, what with the beard, you could easily pass off for one of those lentil munching types! Great review, like yourself, I don't get over enamored about vegetarian food but when it's done well, then you can keep your carnivorous side at bay (for the night at least). Intrigued by the battered halloumi!

Helen @ World Foodie Guide said...

Before I reached your description, I knew those were excellent chips. I was expecting a review of your kitchen though!

Dan said...

FoodUrchin, yeah I could - was tempted to wear my hole ridden baggy jumper, drag along a guitar and get everyone singing and clapping to 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme'.

But pleased to say it was v.nice, and also pleased to note it's only five minutes down the road!

Helen - Chips, well spotted. Yeah they look great don't they? I've eaten so many rubbish limp and greasy examples of 'fat chips' but these were almost a work of art.

Hahahah That's the second comment expecting a review of my actual kitchen. Starting to think perhaps It would make a good post?

Louise said...

Thanks for this review, we went today and it was just lovely. Nice owners (they even let our dog come in and sit under our table), friendly welcome and fantastic fresh delicious food.
The chips were still excellent and I had the halloumi and peas and my Mr had the mushroom/garlic risotto. It wasn't til I read this again that I realised we had the same dishes. We couldn't have managed a desert though. How did you do that?
Highly recommended and very reasonable. I'm going back soon.

Dan said...

LouLou - so glad you found my review useful and enjoyed your meal. And you ended up eating the same dishes as well - spooky.

How I managed a dessert? - well my secret is being a complete glutton. The GF didn't want dessert, but when it arrived she shared mine, thankfully as the portion was huge.

Thanks again for the feedback, much appreciated.

Mem said...

Followed a link to this review from Facebook.

The Beard and I ate at My Kitchen a few weeks back and were every bit as blown away as you. Just wanted to pop my head in here and say that if you go back again (and it sounds like you just might) then I highly recommend the falafel starter. I've eaten a lot of falafel in a lot of places (some of them even had a vaguely Middle Eastern theme about them, by jingo!) and not one has even thought about the merest hint of coming close.

Anonymous said...

Not spotted this place despite being a frequent visitor to the Broadway. It's going on the list! Have you tried Stop The World? What an incredible cafe! Amazing baguettes and jaw-dropping cakes.

Dan said...

Hi RoastPotato, great to hear from another fellow Essex Food Blogger.

Stop the world, I've been in there a few times for coffee and have sampled a few of the cakes (which are lovely) haven't really eaten in there, but it's such a nice independent cafe - I'm pleased it appears to be doing well.

Anonymous said...

Love the blog Dan - am always keen to hear about another Essex blogger, particularly in our little corner.

mosescult59 said...

i agree with u on this one , one of the best restaurants in the southend area ,,,i have recommended it to many a person who all turn there noses up because its vegetarian...there loss!

LissyLou said...

We are regulars at this place. I love it!!

Anonymous said...

I celebrated my birthday here, loved the place, staff and the food was top notch. Big applause for My Kitchen - Leigh On Sea.

Anonymous said...

p.s. Millys Deli Cafe along Leigh Road. Lunch is amazing. Very good indead. Very informal and you feel right 'at home' :-D

Dan said...

Mosescult59, Lissylou, Annonymous - Great to hear, 'My Kitchen' deserves the praise, great little restaurant.

Annonymous, couldn't agree more about Millys Deli - I've posted about it before. Cracking lunch, great atmosphere, extremely friendly owners and a lovely little deli selling excellent produce to boot, it deserves recognition.

Anonymous said...

My Kitchen is my favourite place to eat the food is fabulous and it's lovely to have such choice. As a veggie I usually only get the choice of one or two dishes. I've taken several carnivore friends along and they have all loved it there.

Wednesday and Thursday they do a tapas evening when you get given a number of dishes and again they are all fantastic. My mouth is watering just remembering them.

I would recommend booking, especially at the weekend, as they often get full.