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Winter Dining at The Anchor

Michelin-quality food served in a relaxed and beautiful setting…


The Anchor
Riverside is a truly unique Essex restaurant. Not only are they listed in the 2017 Good Food Guide, it’s the only restaurant in our county to hold a coveted Michelin Bib Gourmand. Awarded for the third year running, this Michelin recognition is only awarded to restaurants that demonstrate great value for money whilst maintaining impeccable standards. Head Chef Daniel Watkins is certainly one of the finest chefs in our region. He is passionate about local seasonal food, and his creative flair stands out with the stunning dishes he serves. The techniques he adopts are like nothing else you’ll find anywhere in Essex. With views over the River Crouch, The Anchor Riverside holds an enviable location. Their light and airy dining room makes the perfect venue, whether you’re planning a cheeky mid-week supper, snuggled up in one of the spacious dining booths, or a long and lazy family Sunday lunch, relaxing whilst watching the comings and goings along the river. Winter dining at The Anchor is truly magical.

The Review

The moroccan spiced lamb tantalised our taste buds and invigorated our appetites! Mrs Exquisite enjoyed the beautiful sweet potato and onion bhaji 'scotch egg' a quirky and seasonal dish. Wood roasted lamb shank shepherd's pie with mash followed for me, a superb dish cooked to perfection. Mrs Exquisite can never resist sweet potato mee reebus curry! it was perfect winter comfort food! Equally comforting Indian spiced tempura battered monkfish with sweet potato dhal followed for me. The monkfish was cooked to perfection, encased in crispy tempura; an inventive and tasty dish. To end this gastronomic adventure I enjoyed a silky chocolate creméux with mandarin curd and honeycomb, an absolute winner of a pudding. Mrs Exquisite decided on the rather unusual-sounding coconut rice pudding. Served with mango compote and mousse. It made the perfect end to this excellent meal.

Ferry Rd, Hullbridge, Hockley SS5 6ND, 01702 230777

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Daniel Watkins: Veganism isn’t a fad

Exquisite Concierge catches up with The Anchor’s Head chef, Daniel Watkins, to find out what makes him tick, his thoughts on food waste, vegan food trends and why The Anchor is a must-visit venue for anyone living in or visiting Essex. So, Daniel, why did you become a chef? I travelled around Greece in my late teens, just messing around and when I got back, I found myself not knowing what to do. So, I started helping my mum in her kitchen at work. Just making sandwiches and cakes but I really started to enjoy it. I took to cooking very easily actually. Then the next thing I knew I was in college and then working in London putting in big hours. After around 10 years in London, I wanted to return to Essex and took on various jobs. Then 7 years ago, we started up The Anchor and I’ve never looked back. When you first opened The Anchor, what ambitions did you have in mind? To create a restaurant that was informal and relaxed but still with a busy atmosphere; serving good, flavoursome food. How would you describe your style of cooking?  Simple, clean & tasty. You have a strong and well thought out vegan menu at the restaurant, are more people changing attitudes about meat? This year has seen a massive increase in plant based diets and I don’t think this is a fad, this is long term. The health and environmental benefits are huge. With that in mind, we try to put together restaurant style dishes that are packed with flavour, as we do all our dishes. It’s becoming easier because the demand is becoming greater. Your menus also feature a lot of local produce and ingredients, is this important to you and why? I like to use products at their best, I’m not completely fixed on seasons but they do act as a good guide on what’s best to use. During the summer months, I use a lot of vegetables from local allotments. What are you doing to combat food waste? We try our best to use all our waste at The Anchor, as a lot of time and money goes into the production of food. So, we dehydrate vegetable peelings to add back into the dishes, save Parmesan rinds for kombu stocks, old beer can be turned into vinegar, the list is endless. Is the food scene in Essex getting stronger? Very much so. Our county has some amazing produce and we are now starting to get the restaurants to back this up! Last of all, do you have a motto for life?  There is an old Cherokee story, where a grandfather teaches his grandson a lesson about life. It’s based on the idea that there are two wolves inside us, both fighting each other. One represents all the negative aspects we have – anger, envy, greed, sorrow. And the other represents the good – joy, peace and love, that sort of thing. The grandson asks his grandfather ‘Which wolf will win?’ And the old Cherokee replies ‘The one you feed.’ I like that attitude. I have it written on “the pass” at The Anchor so I can see it everytime I hand food over to the waiting staff. Contact details: The Anchor Riverside Bar and Restaurant, Ferry Road, Hullbridge, SS5 6ND. T: 01702 230777. Book here!

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