On Saturday night I headed out in a group of three couples to a lovely Essex based restaurant called The Anchor, Riverside. A friend who lives here had made the reservation and it seemed like a necessity as the place was buzzing.
After a quick drink in the bar we were seated for our meal at a lovely table with a window looking over the river. The food here is really interesting and very different. It is all presented in quite a fancy way and portions are not huge but after three courses everyone was satisfyingly full.
I opted for a crab cocktail, which had a crab toastie with ginger mayo and then a shot glass filled generously with white crab meat, avocado, tomato and mayo. I had to remove the extra mayo, which fortunately hadn't been mixed in as I am not a big fan but overall the starter was delicious. Three others went for the crispy crab claws, which were six in a portion, again, quite generous and the claws were very meaty. The duck Scotch egg looked delicious and the recipient was not disappointed. Finally the Indian spiced scallops were ordered and whilst tasty the portion was tiny.
For the main event I opted for something quite unusual. I had the tempura monkfish, which came in an almost black batter so I am not sure what it had been spiced with but the fish was flaked and moist and the batter was hot and crisp; it was a perfect combination. The fish came with a sweet potato and curried cauliflower puree, which was a delicious accompaniment. The hubby and one other chose the lamb shank with masala sauce and bombay potatoes, which they rated highly and was a generous portion. The final dish we got to sample was the roast suckling pig with BBQ carrots, which was also demolished quickly! We also ordered two sides of duck fat chips.
For dessert one went for a double Amaretto and one a seriously good looking and tasty Espresso Martini. A chocolate and peanut butter slice was ordered, which was generous on the peanut butter! Two portions of the rice pudding with baked plum were served and these tasted lovely. Although the rice pudding came in a ball that looked a little like Arancini!!!! I chose the carrot cake, which was deconstructed so there was a small amount of cream cheese frosting, separated from a very thin layer of sponge and a ginger beer sorbet. It looked good on the plate and was a very different way of serving the cake but I think maybe they tried to be a little too fancy!
We also had a bottle of Prosecco and three beers to start with as well as four bottles of a scrummy Malbec (£24.50 per bottle). I think a Limoncello was also added at the end of the meal. The total bill including service came to £115 per couple. So this was pricey but bearing in mind the volume of alcohol ordered I don't think it was too bad.
All in all this was a lovely evening with good food and great company. I am not often in the area but hopefully one day I can return and try some other things on the delicious looking menu.