I walked in and immediately felt at home. The dark walls and the candlelit Dickensian-style bar with deep mahogany tables and wooden panels were reminiscent of an old style barn. Upon entering the award winning and reputable Pipe of Port, I was taken aback by the cosy nature of the venue. You could honestly be anywhere and it was hard to believe that this intimate setting was situated in the heart of the seaside town Southend on Sea as it could easily be found in the trendy areas of London such as Shoreditch and Camden.
The candles appeared strategically placed around the room. There was a separate dining area which held a long dark wooden mahogany table and would be perfect for group events and functions. It was only after a few minutes that I noticed that the old style barn feel was further accentuated by the sawdust spread evening across the entire floor. The Pipe of Port was quite different to any place I had eaten in before and I was eager to find out whether their food would be as brilliant as their interior decor.
On the popular review website Tripadvisor, The Pipe of Port has received 492 reviews of which over 350 of those rated the restaurant as being Excellent. If this wasn’t a testament in its self, it was rated as being #7 out of 505 restaurants in Southend on Sea and had been awarded with a certificate of excellence.
It was immediately evident to see why this was from the outset. I attended the review with two of my In-spire LS Magazine colleagues and we were immediately greeted by the manageress and our host Heather. Throughout our visit Heather and our assigned waitress took care of our every need.
We were presented with an extensive drinks and food menu. Due the fact that I believed that The Pipe of Port served pub food; I honestly wasn’t expecting to be presented with such a wide array of drink and food options. The Pipe of Port is also a reputable winery which hosts wine tasting sessions and has an in-house wine expert Paul Laurie; who is now a contributor to In-spire LS Magazine. As I had driven to the restaurant I opted for a handcrafted raspberry lemonade on ice which was refreshing and full of flavour. My co-editor opted for a glass of white wine which was recommended by Heather and she was extremely satisfied with its taste.
We had the option of eating off of the set lunch menu or sampling the full offering of the main menu which was filled with an expansive array of pies and pastries (which The Pipe of Port have built of a stellar reputation of making) seafood, red and white meat dishes.
I have a major obsession with seafood and tend to always choose seafood to compare similar dishes from one restaurant to another. Therefore, I had to sample what The Pipe of Port was offering. There were many diverse options to choose from which all sounded mouth-watering. After heavy deliberation; I opted for shelled king prawns with a spicy tomato, basil and garlic dressing all laid on a bed of rocket lettuce. As I type this, my mouth has actually started to salivate again. It was simply TO DIE FOR! The prawns tasted fresh but this can by no means be mistaken with being raw. It left a lovely aftertaste and was the perfect way to start my meal.
After what was a very filling starter I actually considered having no main course as I was completely stuffed. I can honestly say that it was amazing and full of flavour. The Pipe of Port have an extensive main menu with a diverse option of meat, seafood and vegetarian based dishes. I tried with all my might to choose something healthy. However, I quite quickly succumbed and ended up going for a standard bangers and mash with gravy. The sausages were a little too salty for me. However, again; they were flavourful and were cooked to perfection.
I couldn’t contain my greed and had a few bites of my co-editors steak which was cooked thoroughly and was perfectly complimented with seasoned potatoes and green salad.
The Pipe of Port is a hidden gem and is without a doubt an exceptional restaurant and one of the stand out eateries in Southend. Further to their extensive and detailed menu they also offer an eclectic wine list of over 40 wines which comes with expert help in tow to ensure you’re guided to choose the right wine to suit your taste buds.
There were no faults to be found with the customer service, décor or the food. The overall presentation and taste of all the dishes I sampled was phenomenal and this is one place in Southend that I will be revisiting again.
If you’re every decide to visit the tiny seaside town of Southend, I definitely recommend that you visit and sample their amazing dishes and receive their exemplary service. It was absolutely faultless.
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