It’s understandable that if you’ve spent your day exploring the best of what Colchester has to offer you want to sit down and have a fantastic meal. Well, you are in luck! Colchester boasts an eclectic mix of tastes from all over the globe served with a cosmopolitan ambience, from world class restaurants to traditional pub grub, so there is bound to be something to tickle your taste buds. In fact the pretty nearby village of Dedham is home to its fair share of Michelin stars! Here are my top recommendations for discovering the food of this town.
This restaurant is a family run and award winning eatery offering a skilful combination of classic cuisine and exciting, modern style. Located in Dedham, 15 minutes from Colchester Castle, Le Talbooth has been run by the Milsom family since 1952 and enjoys fine reputation.
I recommend dropping in for Sunday lunch when Le Talbooth offers dishes including pithivier of quail served with a chestnut, celeriac remoulade and pine nuts and Roast leg of Suffolk lamb served with a rosti potato, artichoke barigoule and curly kale. If you are vegetarian go for the warm Parmesan kromeski starter (figs, pomegranate and rocket) and the hand rolled gnocchi or Creamed spinach ravioli main.
Whatever you do don’t miss out on the Warm triple chocolate brownie which comes with a delicious Baileys ice cream, pistachios, a caramelized coffee glaze and milk chocolate fudge. Yum!
Wivenhoe House Hotel
Set in the grounds of Essex University, the Wivenhoe House Hotel restaurant offers a wide range of A La Carte dishes focusing on local and British seasonal produce in the elegant Grade II listed Georgian mansion. Wivenhoe House has a fascinating history stretching back to its construction in 1759 with the hotel and surroundings going on to be immortalized renowned British artist John Constable in 1816 on canvas.
Here you can’t beat the afternoon tea, served between 2:30 – 5:30 pm. A typical offering includes a selection of dainty finger sandwiches for the first course with options such as dill marinated cucumber and black pepper cream cheese and oak smoked salmon and horseradish crème fraiche. Next – a selection of freshly baked apple and cinnamon scones with a zingy citrus curd, clotted cream and tiptree jam. Last, but not least, is the selection of afternoon pastries and cakes – all served alongside tea or coffee. If you’re feeling in the mood for something special try the champagne afternoon tea for a treat!
The Red Lion Pub
If you are looking for good, hearty pub food then The Red Lion on Coggeshall Road might be the place for you. The pub is described by customers as having a talented chef, being family friendly, offering great service and is a veritable hidden gem with a great cosy feel.
The main menu is served Monday – Saturday 12-3pm & 6-9pm with a traditional roast on Sundays. Choose from a range of light bites or more substantial main courses and traditional ‘basket meals’. Try the 10oz 28 day hung local sirloin steak served with a tarragon butter, vegetable medley, thick cut chips, onion rings and salad or the wild mushroom ravioli if you are vegetarian.
I have to admit I love the idea of an old school ‘basket meal’, The Red Lion doesn’t disappoint with a choice of Southern fried breaded chicken goujons, Kilhorne Bay breaded scampi tails or Breaded plaice goujons all served with thick cut chips.