Every so often, a small group of old codgers, including yours truly, who have been and still are to some extent active in the community, meet together for breakfast. As for venue, the criteria is it must provide a decent English breakfast, not too expensive, with good service and surroundings, so we can have a good natter, dwelling on all sorts of matters that concern us, in a congenial setting. Every time, we try to find somewhere new and so extend our repertoire. A friend suggested “the Exchange” and that was where we last met.
The Exchange declares itself to be “a traditional pub offering great value for money – a modern watering hole serving unfussy food, plus TV sport, live bands, quiz nights and outside seats”. One attraction for me is that the building it occupies used to be the local Barclays Bank branch where, as a 15 year old, I opened my first bank account. I must confess, I was nearly put off when an online search said it opened at 11am, which struck me as being ridiculously late for someone who was up at 5am to watch the US election results. It turned out the actual time for opening was 10am, which while not ideal seemed a fair compromise. When we arrived shortly after 10am, we were the first customers of the day and we were pleasantly greeted and ideally seated so we could continue our deliberations, attempting to put the world to right.
We all decided to go for the full monty package, which in our case included a glass of fresh orange. We later ordered tea, which came with unlimited refills. While not cheapest deal in town, it did represent very good value for money. The breakfast which included all the standard components was FAB-U-LOUS and there was enough of it to challenge the heartiest of appetites. What I liked especially was the sausages. They were really nice and among the best I have experienced. The same could be said about the bacon, incidentally, something I tend to report on less because it is item unlike sausages harder to get wrong. We all enjoyed what was placed before us and the breakfast for me did have that that all important WOW factor. And while we were eating and drinking, what we managed to talk about covered many subjects as around us the pub gradually began to fill, and we even included the charming lady who served us in our conversation, who like us was an old Southender, who could reminisce on past (often happy) days.
I can’t say, when I will return or whether us old codgers will carry on scouring the town for new breakfast eating places, but the Exchange is a place I would like to return to and one I can recommend.