11 restaurants in Braintree
Restaurants in Braintree:
Braintree By Pass, Braintree, CM77 8GG [Map]
Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service. With a reputation going back 25 years they should have a fair chance of doing that, but don't take our word for it. Give them a try and see if you agree that this is how good quality pub food should be served.
Whether it's snacks, grills, pub classics, fish, Sunday roasts or side dishes they think their way through the options, talk to their guests, and then come up with the goods. Not everybody wants a full meal so they've considered the needs of those who want to keep the gap filled and the children contented, perhaps on a journey or a day out.
Hot filled baguettes are always popular be it sausage and red onion or a classic chicken club sandwich. Jacket potatoes are good on their own but filled with mature cheddar cheese and beans they take on a new dimension.
More paced occasions demand a wide menu, perhaps with starters of breaded butterfly prawns, chicken goujons or breaded camembert bites. Grills are there for the hungry and whole rack of meaty BBQ pork ribs served with extra sauce, chips and coleslaw can be very welcome. The days of the mixed grill are back - or did they ever go away - a 4oz rump steak, two pork sausages, and a gammon steak topped with a fried egg served with all the trimmings will remind you if they did.
Salmon and prawn fishcakes are served with buttered new potatoes, tartare sauce and a lightly dressed salad. A combination of sea and land comes with a rump steak, whole grilled chicken breast and breaded breaded butterfly prawns, served with chips and a side salad or garden peas.
The rise of eating out in pubs has brought into our daily lives a whole legion of what might be termed 'pub classics'. Many of them have their roots in what used to be called 'good home cooking' and include such dishes as sausage, egg and chips, beef and ale pie, chicken and mushroom pie and for the very daring a beef lasagne. Well, all of them and many more are on the menu at Brewer's Fayre, supplemented by such new regulars as vegetable Goan chicken curry, pork chop, chilli con carne and grilled chicken and bacon salad.
It has often been said that chicken tikka masala is now the most popular dish in Britain. Some may not really want to believe that, much as they love curry, but travel, population movement and other factors have widened our scope and they are probably pretty keen on fish and chips in Timbuktu.
What is certain is that the great British Sunday roast is exclusive to these islands, though copied maybe elsewhere or in ex-pat outposts. No surprise therefore that it's on the Brewer's Fayre menu. A trade of three roasts with an opportunity to trade up to a mega roast for a modest sum. With it come two Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, fresh seasonal vegetables and that important element - gravy.
A fine list of immensely tempting desserts may well bring the most ardent weight-watcher to their knees. A short but well thought out wine list offers all choices, except champagne, by the glass. Staying the night - check to see if there's a Premier Inn next door - chances are you'll be lucky.
A quick click on their Website is always worth while. The only thing that stays still permanently is the quality which is helped by a changing menu, and some very special offers.
Unit C1 Freeport Village, Charter Way, Chapel Hill, Braintree, CM77 8YJ [Map]
Housed within the busy Freeport Village shopping complex, Caffe Uno Braintree offers a delicious Mediterranean menu in a smart contemporary setting. Ideal for a relaxing meal after a shopping trip, or even fortifying yourself beforehand, the restaurant is a stone's throw away from Braintree Freeport Rail Station.
Close to Chelmsford and Colchester, and easily accessible on the A131 and A120, Caffe Uno also sells its own products, many of which are used in the dishes served in the restaurant, including extra virgin olive oil, Modena balsamic vinegar, Italian rocket and almond pesto and Cuneesi chocolates.
Open from 9am everyday, a hearty breakfast at Caffe Uno could include eggs any style, streaky bacon, Cumberland sausage, mushrooms, tomato and toast; bacon or Cumberland sausage baguette, eggs Benedict, plain or chocolate croissant, muesli with yoghurt or honey and toast with jam along with coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
The à la carte offers a sumptuous variety beginning with starters of chilli tiger prawns with garlic, parsley, lemon and mixed leaves, grilled chorizo and halloumi with salad garnish and lemon dressing or a quesadilla with chicken, salsa and served with garlic mayonnaise. Alternatively, try the tempting traditional antipasto platter with prosciutto ham, salami Milano, bresaola beef, marinated olives, fresh rocket and ciabatta bread.
Follow with mains of fillet of sea bass with green beans, capers and new potatoes in a white wine and butter sauce, char grilled chicken and field mushrooms with baby spinach in a Marsala wine sauce or aubergine parmigiana; layers of grilled aubergine baked in the oven with parmesan cheese and fresh basil in tomato sauce.
Alternatively, you could choose between a hearty meat feast pizza with chicken, spicy beef, pepperoni, pancetta bacon, mozzarella and tomato or a lighter Mediterranena pizza with grilled courgettes, roasted peppers and roasted onions with a houmous base. Pasta dishes include penne with Italian sausage in a spicy tomato sauce and gnocchi with buffalo mozzarella and red onions in a tomato and basil sauce.
For a quick lunch, customers can pick from a range of sandwiches including a steak baguette with sliced steak with Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and roasted onions or a piri piri chicken wrap and buffalo mozzarella with sundried tomatoes, black olives, basil pesto and fresh rocket. Salads include a classic Nicoise with yellowfin tuna, anchovies, free range egg, marinated olives, capers, cherry tomatoes, new potatoes, green beans and red onions in an Italian house dressing or baked goat's cheese with toasted walnuts and grapes over rocket and spinach leaves with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. A children's menu is also available at this family friendly restaurant.
Round off with a tempting treat from the dessert menu which offers classic tiramisu; pannatone pannacotta with chunks of fruity pannetone; blood orange tart with cream or mini desserts of hazelnut Marsala semi fredo, coffee cream latte semi fredo or Belgian milk chocolate semi fredo, all served with your choice of coffee.
To gain further information, just visit their extremely comprehensive Website.
Mediterranean, Pizza, Traditional
Freeport Village, Charter Way, Chapel Hill, Braintree, CM7 8YH [Map]
Housed within the Freeport Village, a bustling entertainment venue and shopping centre, Chimichanga Braintree delivers a wide range of affordable Mexican dishes in a smart contemporary setting. There is plenty of on-site parking, and the restaurant is just a 3-minute walk from Freeport Braintree Rail Station, making it the perfect place for a delicious meal after a busy day of shopping.
Chimichanga's extensive à la carte caters to a variety of palates. A wide range of delicious appetisers includes crab cakes, Buffalo chicken wings and empanadas, a traditional crispy pastry filled with a choice of chicken or chorizo sausage with cheese and served with sour cream. Other choices include piri piri prawns, Cajun chicken with chilli sauce and jalapeno bullets, a dish of deep fried jalapeno peppers with cream cheese and chilli sauce. Appetisers to share include chicken nachos or taquitos, crispy flour tortilla tubes with a range of fillings including cheese and black beans, chicken, cheese and salsa and chorizo and cheese.
Light bites include a range of tortilla wraps including a classic fajita wrap with a choice of char grilled fajita steak or chicken served with peppers and onions in a tortilla with Jack cheese. Vegetarians are catered for with the delicious courgette and Portobello mushroom wraps which comes with chipotle chilli sauce and jack cheese. There's also a number of tempting salad options such as blackened tuna salad with tuna steak coated in a special blend of Cajun spices, blacked on a hot skillet and served over a bed of mixed leaves with roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.
For something more filling diners could opt for a tortilla burger, made from 100 per cent fully traceable prime Scottish beef wrapped in a flour tortilla with mayonnaise and served with changa chips.
The char grill section's succulent offerings include barbecue baby back ribs served with change chips and jalapeno coleslaw; sirloin mojo rojo, a centre cut sirloin steak marinated in chilli, garlic and coriander and served with beer battered onion rings and change chips, Santa Fe chicken with rice, black beans and guacamole or flame grilled piri piri chicken.
Sumptuous Mexican specialities naturally include chimichanga, a flour tortilla fried golden brown with Jack cheese and served with your choice of filling ? either chunky beef chilli con carne, BBQ pulled pork or bean chilli - sautéed onions and peppers and garnished with sour cream, chives, guacamole and tortilla croutons, as well as a variety of burritos, enchiladas and tostadas. There are also chipotle meatballs, Mexican paella, chilli de la casa and south-western crab cakes. The grande quesadilla is a baked flour tortilla sandwich with your choice of filling and drizzled with sour cream and served with Mexican rice and chipotle chilli sauce.
The lunch menu offers a choice of two or three courses while a children's menu caters to the tastes of the little ones.
Round off the satisfying meal with scrumptious dessert of giant Mexican profiterole, chocolate fudge brownie or honeycomb smash cheesecake. Alternatively, end with a speciality coffee or liqueur. Chimichanga offers a variety of wines, beers, cocktails, margheritas, sangria and soft drinks to quench the thirst.
More information can be found on their Website.
Mexican, Tex Mex
Unit 2, Freeport Village, Charter Way, Chapel Hill, Braintree, CM77 8YH [Map]
Prezzo has been delighting diners for over eight years, and this Italian restaurant chain has since been able to expand throughout large parts of England and Scotland with some 141 outlets.
Interestingly, the company seeks to restore either impressive buildings or ones of local interest. The conversion of the Newbury library and other listed buildings, such as those in Salisbury, Romsey and Mayfair, are all welcome examples of 'new use'. Their trendy and sophisticated décor usually consists of tiled or wooden floors with delicate lights and colourful paintings, along with wooden furniture and sparkling cutlery, creating a setting that is suitable for a relaxed lunch, a family meal or an evening out with friends.
The restaurants are of particular appeal to those who like genuine Italian cuisine, and they use only the best seasonal products, many of which are imported directly from Italy. The menu includes pizza, pasta, risotto, grilled meats, fresh salads and frequently changing specials.
The freshly baked breads, like the garlic bread with mozzarella cheese, are perfect for sharing and give you adequate breathing space to order starters to follow. Crab cakes served with garlic mayonnaise or grilled goat's cheese with plum tomatoes and caramelised onions on foccacia bread with a balsamic glaze set the tone for a hearty meal. Best fun is to order an antipasto platter to share made up from seven well loved Italian nibbles.
Find pastas such as the unusual penne con salmone, with oak-roasted salmon, broccoli and fresh chillies in a red pesto and cream sauce, or firm favourites like spaghetti with meatballs, spaghetti Bolognese, and fusilli al pesto, asparagus spears with field mushrooms and roasted peppers in a basil pesto sauce.
Amongst the special pastas, the pollo mariano, seasoned chicken, pepperoni sausage, roasted peppers and fusilli in tomato sauce, is interesting and different. Italian menus would be incomplete without risotto, like tiger prawns with petits pois in a creamy saffron sauce.
Classic pizzas embrace, among a wide selection, the popular napoletana, topped with yellowfin tuna, tomato, white anchovies, capers, red onion, mozzarella and marinated olives, and the much loved quattro stagioni - pepperoni sausage, prosciutto ham, artichoke, field mushrooms, capers, marinated olives, mozzarella and tomato.
Specials could include the pollo Siciliana, char-grilled chicken breast, prosciutto ham and plum tomato slices, baked with their blend of cheese, only one example from the many tempting offerings that come out from the Prezzo kitchens.
You can accompany the food with a variety of tipples, though for many, Italian food requires Italian wines to be enjoyed to the full, ranging from house wine through Morellino di Scansano and Prosecco to liqueurs and beer, and there is espresso or fresh ground coffee to wind up an enjoyable meal, in company with a glass of grappa or sambuca.
This is Italian food at its attractive best, convincing and bringing together the traditional with the modern twist or two against a background of excellent value.
Prezzo is a lively group and opportunities to improve and update are never left on the table for long. Keep up to date with a quick click on their Website.
R1 Freeport Designer Village, Charter Way, Braintree, CM77 8YH [Map]
Pizza Express remains a hugely popular bedrock of casual eating. Its popularity is testimony to the fact that across the country, they have restaurants where you will always be guaranteed a good nosh, with children's tastes being well catered for.
Pizza Express has gone even more Roman, and following the success of that particular example of listening to their public have introduced Romana pizzas, including the scorching Etna and the hearty Siciliana.
These pizzas are now thinner, bigger and crispier, and if that sounds like a marketing line, it is. However, unlike many such lines, this one is true, and their quality is always consistent, though cleverly they have still managed to retain a homemade feel to their pizzas.
As an alternative to pizza, try their pollo pesto - cavatappi pasta with torn chicken breast, mushrooms, red onions and mozzarella in a creamy gruyere, parmesan and pesto sauce and finished with grana padano - or the niçoise salad with mixed leaves, yellowfin tuna, free range egg, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes with olives, anchovies, capers and house dressing.
Many of the big chains have come a long way, and Pizza Express is certainly amongst them. One of the first to be quoted on the Stock Exchange - in 1993 - Pizza Express is not a franchise operation and retains tight control through its own staff.
Their wine list - though short - contains some surprisingly good offerings, especially their intense Australian Chardonnay, and a big, full-bodied Merlot from Cusumano, Sicilia.
Pizza & Pasta
The Street, Shalford, Braintree, CM7 5HH [Map]
This beautiful 14th century country inn has been instrumental in establishing high standards of hospitality by donning different roles in the past including that of a doctor's waiting room and a safe haven for villagers during power cuts and natural calamities. Situated in rural countryside within easy reach of Baintree, The George Inn is now better known for its traditional English pub fare.
Pull up at the attractive timber framed building and feast on the char-grilled steaks, which capture the essence of robust eating with a 16 oz T-bone and 10 oz sirloin, rib eye and rump. There are plenty of other dishes which are also naturally alluring, both in terms of price and flavour, oven-baked chicken upreme, beer battered cod or haddock and beef lasagne aresome of them.
The pub offers up to six real ales, including ones from two local breweries, both within five miles, for that just out of the barrel taste, and hold a full range of lagers and ciders. The George Inn is also featured in the Real Ale Pub Guide 2007.
Compasses Road, Pattiswick, nr Braintree, CM77 8BG [Map]
If what calls is a languid afternoon lunch or a break in the journey, The Compasses at Pattiswick provides a cosy country inn setting in which to unwind with good food and drink. Tucked away in the beautiful North Essex countryside, this gastro pub mixes the old and the new, with natural stone floors and exposed beams blending well with modern elements, for an overall contemporary feel. It can also be the venue for a breakfast meeting, birthday parties and weddings with its private room, outdoor patio and large garden. Children can put together their own meals here.
Using fresh locally sourced produce is at the core of The Compasses' food philosophy. Contemporary British cuisine is showcased here with dishes like poached salmon and caper salad, chicken liver parfait, turkey, ham and leek pie, smoked mackerel with potato salad, deep fried brie with spicy tomato chutney and roasted duck breast with buttered asparagus. Dessert options include vanilla pannacotta, iced cinnamon parfait and chocolate pudding. A selection of accessible old and new world wines and fine wines like 1st growths from Bordeaux and classic vintage Burgundies tickle the palate further.
Freeport Village, Charter Way, Braintree, CM77 8YZ [Map]
If you fancy tucking into a quiet meal in the beautiful rolling countryside of Tuscany sipping on some Chianti wine then you don't really have to browse through pages of tourist websites, just head to Tutti Tuscan Grille at Hamilton or Braintree. Watch chefs busy stirring their ladles through the open plan kitchen or just relax in the dining area decked up in a discreet way using warm colour schemes.
For starters try the Tutti combo platter of calamari, chicken wings, ribs, tortilla chips and loaded skins with sour cream and salsa. Mama's lasagna al forno made with a classic meat sauce recipe is a credit to the pasta category and so is the woozie where tender chicken breast in a creamy mushroom sauce with spinach is tossed with penne. Specialties from the grill are noteworthy too, sweet cured gammon steak, and ribs and chicken barbecue combo. Other dishes from the menu such as sea bass and king prawn Veneziana and garlicky chicken Milanese restore faith in traditional cooking.
24 Coggeshall Road, Braintree, CM7 9BY [Map]
Shanti Indian Cuisine restaurant in Coggeshall Road has slowly built an unrivalled reputation for bringing high standards of Indian and Bangladeshi cooking in the Braintree area. A good deal of appeal lies in the interior of red, green, black, yellow and turquoise, colours that are believed to be the nspiration behind the restaurant's name. Other notable design features include the chrome 18th century ceramics used by the Indian royal family.
On the food side seekh kebab sizzler, king prawn butterfly, Shanti mixed grill and onion bhaji make for some sparky starters. Chef's specialties of chicken and lamb are presented with gusto; it could be the rezella style with yogurt and special Oriental spices, or the Peshwari way with pistachios and almond. The baltis, dansaks, vindaloos, kormas and rogan josh read enticingly and so do vegetarian specials of bhindi bhaji okra, spicy potatoes and lentils fried with garlic.
Galleys Corner, Braintree Road, Cressing, Braintree, CM7 8GA [Map]
Frankie and Benny's combine classic American and Italian in both style and cuisine. They specialise in home style cooking 'just like Mamma used to make it'. This is a great place to take the entire family and represents excellent value for money. The restaurant and bar is suitable for any occasion, whether it's a leisurely lunch, a family meal or a fantastic evening with friends - they make sure you have a wonderful time.
Walking into the restaurant is like stepping back into 1950s New York, from the clatter and chatter of the open kitchen to the bottle lined bar. Walls with black and white family photographs showing life in Brooklyn's 'Little Italy' surround cosy booth seating and tables. Combined with the classic music of the fifties, a mix of American swing and beat, they definitely provide a fun and friendly atmosphere for all to enjoy.
Frankie and Benny's offers starters, main courses and delicious desserts, and favourites include char-grilled burgers, pizzas, pastas, steaks and house specialities such as chicken parmigiana, BBQ ribs, lamb shank and much more. The bar serves a wide range of beers, wines, spirits, cocktails and soft drinks.
Start with sticky wings, crispy coated chicken strips, tiger prawn skewer or Frankie's fried calamari and if you are dining in a group choose the giant sampler platter. The pastas, calzone and pizzas are all made freshly on order. An interesting dish on the menu is a the Boston 7 speciality pizza fully loaded with slices of pork meatballs, spicy pepperoni, ham, crispy bacon, chicken, peppers and red onion, served on a BBQ sauce base. They also serve a variety of sandwiches and burgers throughout the day.
A good value lunch menu is available on weekdays from 11am until 5pm offering a range of popular dishes from the main carte with one course at £5.95, two courses at £8.25 and three courses at £9.25.
For children up to the age of eleven, an all-inclusive menu features a selection of main courses, desserts and drinks starting at £3.95. As an added treat, they'll also receive an activity pack to entertain them whilst you eat.
Enjoy an American Italian meal at Frankie and Benny's with freshly prepared food and warm hospitality that makes you feel right at home.
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Brewer's Fayre restaurants offer a warm welcome to those who want a reliably tasty meal in pleasant surroundings, with plenty of choice, minimal fuss and friendly service.
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