Page 5

Stir it up magazine March 2015

CUSTOMER PROFILE The best view in Leigh? Sea for yourself >> When the sun is shining in Leigh-on-Sea, The Grove Café and Restaurant is definitely the place to be. This popular Essex eaterie boasts a 60-cover terrace with magnificent views over the Thames Estuary. “Our outdoor decking area is in big demand when the weather is good,” says sous chef Chris Laurie (pictured right). “We’re right on the top of a hill so you get the best views in Leigh-on- Sea from here. We have sliding doors out onto the decking and, when all the umbrellas are up on a sunny day, it looks like the Mediterranean.” Whilst The Grove, which is owned by head chef Delvin Pitt and his wife Louise, only opens on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights during the winter months, the spring and summer are a very different story and it’s open seven days a week. Relaxed dining is very much the mantra and the clientele is a mixture of all ages. Says Chris: “We get a lot of mums with small children and retired people during the day, then at the weekend we get a lot of students and families.” Chris’s signature dish is his Chop Salad (pictured top right) warm grilled chicken, crispy bacon, avocado, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onions on mixed leaves with a special honey and oak aged balsamic dressing. Country Range Honey and Mustard are used to make this delicious dressing, and Chris says many of his dishes feature one or more Country Range products. “We use a lot of the dry goods like the nuts and seeds, and the spices are really good, so fragrant,” he says. “We make a halloumi nut roast which contains Country Range Walnuts and Cashew Nuts, and our Earl Greymarinated Super Salmon salad includes toasted Country Range Pumpkin Seeds and Sunflower Seeds.” There’s a big emphasis on healthy eating and vegetarians are extremely well catered for. They have even hosted regular nights devoted to meat-free menus. “Vegetarians are over the moon to have a night dedicated to them where they have a choice of five or six dishes – and we are always really surprised by how many non-vegetarians we get on our meat-free nights,” adds Chris. The Grove boasts an open kitchen by the front entrance so the chefs get to interact with customers – as well as see the magnificent view of the estuary! “It keeps us on our toes knowing everyone can see what we’re doing,” continues Chris, 30, who has worked there for six years. “We also get to greet customers when they come in – and get their feedback on the way out. After a 14-hour day, the nice comments you get make it all worthwhile.” MARCH 2015 05


Stir it up magazine March 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above