Tuesday 24 March 2009

Breakfast on the Seafront - Sands Bistro.

On Sunday, once again, the sun was shining. What better way to get this gorgeous spring day started on the right foot than breakfast on the seafront.

A new restaurant has recently opened pretty close to Southend Pier, Sands Bistro and Bar.
I'd eaten breakfast in there before, and it was pretty good, and pretty reasonable.
Feeling particularly generous, I declared I'd treat my partner to breakfast, struck dumb and in a state of mute shock I led her downstairs to the car for the short drive down the seafront.

After grabbing a parking space more or less opposite, we grabbed a table and admired the restaurant space, very nice indeed, flooded with natural light. The dining room is a large cylindrical shape, with a curved bar and reception area on one side, and floor to ceiling windows on the other....offering a view down the beautiful Thames Estuary.....but only if your standing (or lying down!)....the windows being split in two by a crossbar that is perfectly positioned at the correct height to obscure the view of the seafront to the seated diner.

Musing of this design flaw, I studied the menu and opted for the 'Sands Classic Breakfast' which according to the menu consists of 2 bacon, 1 butchers Cumberland sausage, 1 egg (cooked to your liking), Grilled Tomatoes, Baked Beans and Mushrooms. I also ordered a coffee. My partner, being petite and a girl to boot ordered a children's breakfast. I thought it fair to warn her, to save later disappointment that it probably didn't come with a toy or colouring pencils. This comment went down as well as you'd imagine.
Our drinks arrived, and the coffee was excellent....a good sign I thought optimistically.
Our breakfasts arrived and I'll be brutally honest - it was OK....bordering on good, but not a patch on the breakfast I had for the same price at
Bills Produce Store in Brighton recently.
There appeared to be a bit of a problem with the service, I know it was Mothers Day and traditionally an extremely busy day for restaurants up and down the country...but....
The waitress didn't ask how I wanted my egg 'cooked to my liking'....
I had to scream at her back as she retreated to the kitchen.
I had to ask for napkins as my partner with the children's breakfast was covered in it. (Just kidding honey!)
Not once was I asked whether my food was OK - which as far as I'm concerned is a cardinal sin of good service.

I wasn't able to get the attention of the staff to pay, so ended up having to drag my bursting at the seams carcass up to the front desk and more or less force them to accept payment.
but no tip, the service was poor and they didn't deserve it.

I have eaten here a couple of months back, and the breakfast was better and the service was excellent - so I'm going to put it down to an off-day perhaps, although the coffee is very good.
I want them to do well, the restaurant is a lovely space.

The Evening Menu looked interesting, so I'll be visiting again soon to sample that, and maybe next time I'll leave a tip.

Sands Bistro / Restaurant
Icon Building
Western Esplanade



Anonymous said...

Still haven't eaten down there Dan, perhaps a night out there is on the cards to give them one final chance?

Had a good one at san fairie ann the other night, bit quiet for a saturday night tho, and the missus paid which can't be bad ;-)

Dan said...

Hello Ron, yep I'd like to try Sands in the evening, if the foods not upto much, we can drown our sorrows at the rather attractive bar instead. San Fairie Ann, that's interesting - it's so hit and miss, last time I went there it was pretty poor - especially that carpaccio starter, but other times it's been excellent. But hey, if someone else is paying!!

The Ample Cook said...

Excellent review Dan.

Isn't it a pain when a restaurant isn't consistent?

Dan said...

@ The Ample Cook, yeah agreed, it is a pain. I want to like the place, and was really impressed with breakfast last time, but the most recent visit was so/so. Hard to tell if it's just an off day or it just isn't much cop.