Walking in Hadleigh; eating in Leigh

Yesterday was my birthday and Mrs B told me that since it was my special day I could choose where to go for an outing and where to eat. We couldn’t do it yesterday and we chose today instead.

There are a number of local walking places I quite like, but since I haven’t been there for a while I chose the walk from Leigh to Hadleigh castle and this is what we did. We walked along the path running near to the railway line and could if we had wanted continued on to Benfleet. Instead, we cut back to the castle, missing out the visitor centre, farm and mountain bike area used for the Olympics and after walking through the castle site ended back where we began. I must confess age and not being in best condition that the walk, while not overly taxing, was enough for me. We then went for an brief explore of Old Leigh, ending up on a bench overlooking the beach I was taken to as a boy during my summer holidays (all quite nostalgic) and as for eating places there was quite a selection.

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Fancying something fishy (birthday boys privilege), of the just jumped out if the sea variety, we settled on “Simply Seafood” and was joined by my sister who confessed to having visited there previously and with positive memories. Much as I like Leigh, there is something a bit snobby about it and this is reflected by prices being a bit on the high side, not just at our choice but at all the eating establishments in the area. But today they do a cod and chip special, a fair bit cheaper than normal, making it more attractive to frugally minded customers like me. There was a lot of other fish and seafood choices and for non fishy types veggie and steak options.

That is what we all chose along with a mushy peas and salad side along with drink selection (nice lager, tea and cola) and for two us desserts (black forest gateau and lime cheesecake) from a not too wide selection. Generally I felt menu options were limited and quantities on the generous side of adequate. What impressed me at the start was service was friendly, attentive and efficient and there was a nice atmosphere, and it was evident that a number of the customers eating at the time were regulars. Inside surroundings were fairly ordinary. Yet it was all very nice and pleasant, and it was possible to take in the outstanding estuary views while we were enjoying our cosy chat. And as for the food, particularly the fish, it did have the wow factor I was looking for. I understand the veteran chef is very particular about these things and would refuse to cook anything that failed to reach his exacting standards.

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I left feeling pleased making this choice, and have already put it down as somewhere to go for a future special occasion, especially if with those who like fish and seafood. Despite aforementioned criticisms, I would happily recommend Simply Seafood for its excellent food and hearty welcome. There are lots of other fishy dishes I would like to try and also from the seafood selection. I understand their “fruits de mer” is something worth writing home about and in my mind I have got my next order worked out.

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