Every third Thursday of the month Sandbank Restaurant in Leigh-On-Sea have a starters and desserts evening. The premise being you have as many starters and as many desserts as you want (can handle!) all for £29.95 per person. I’d never been to Sandbank before and loved the modern and bright restaurant I found myself in which was packed with a great atmosphere. I’ve Started and I’ll Finish last month had 8 starters and 8 desserts on offer with everything from melon to pork belly and Creme brûlée to cheese. Every dish was presented beautifully and with the head chef taking all of the table orders in the restaurant there was a real friendly feel about the place.
I started off with the Trio of Melon escorted by strawberry & pineapple compote which was fresh and a great light palate cleanser to kick off my meal. Next up I ordered the Goats cheese tart aside red onion marmalade & balsamic vinegar. The shortcrust pastry on the tart was perfectly cooked and yet still managed to feel light against the strong goats cheese. Being a lover of rocket I didn’t mind the amount that was served alongside this dish but some may find it a little too much. I also didn’t feel that the red onion was a marmalade and instead resembled caramelised red onions which were lovely but not the chutney I’d expected.
For my third dish, of Chicken, chorizo and spring onion croquette in a pool of sun dried tomato cream, I was in a pool of food heaven. Potentially my favourite dish of the evening with one of our friends ordering 4! The croquette filling was so smooth yet flavoursome and the sun dried tomato cream really added an extra rich dimension to the whole dish with the tomato tang that came through. Battling against the croquette for dish of the evening was the Confit of Pork Belly with Apple purée, rosemary jus & apple crisp which not only delivered on flavour but on texture too. The apple crisp and crackling on top of the pork belly coupled with the sticky sweet belly fat and tender pork meat was divine. No pork is complete without apple sauce and the purée sweetened the balance of the rich meat. The gravy like jus was so rich you couldn’t help but say wow when you tasted it. Two extremely delicious and well put together dishes – my highlight of the evening!Despite there being another four dishes on the starter menu I hadn’t tried I decided to move onto the dessert section. But I have included a list of all the dishes at the bottom of this blog if you’re interested in what else was available. As a huge lover of cheese anyway and thinking it was the perfect stepping stone from savoury to sweet without the normal dinner format of a main meal I tucked into a delicious cheese board and glass of red wine, whilst the others (mainly the men) on the table continued to tuck into more starter plates.
By this point I was pretty stuffed I’m not going to lie! Don’t be fooled in thinking these are smaller plates of food than normal they are most definitely generous sized starter and dessert dishes and after five it was safe to say I was struggling. The Strawberry & cardamom poached pear with warm mixed berry compote looked the lightest from the selection and surprisingly it was so good I forgot all about being full and ate the lot … Woops! I also found myself having a little spoonful of the Trio of chocolate dessert to try out the flavours. The Grand marnier ice cream was boozy and creamy but my favourite had to be the Chocolate and Creme de menthe Creme brûlée. A perfect crack of the sugar on top with a minty fresh after taste, this custard dessert managed to accommodate my sweet tooth and give the illusion they’d just been cleaned all in one hit.
All in all a lovely evening with friends sampling some delicious start and end dishes from this lovely restaurant in Leigh. Get yourself booked in for next month if you aren’t already going this week and with an ever changing menu this evening will have you coming back time and time again.
Sandbank Restaurant, 1470 London Road, Leigh-On-Sea, Essex SS9 2URF
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MENU – I’ve Started and I’ll Finish
Confit of Pork Belly with Apple purée, Rosemary jus & apple crisp
Trio of Melon escorted by pineapple & strawberry compote
Goats cheese Tart aside red onion marmalade & balsamic vinegar
Chicken, chorizo and Spring onion croquette in a pool of sun dried tomato cream
Pea & Ham hock soup with crispy rocket
Sautéed calves liver seated in horseradish mash, bacon & onions
Smoked salmon sole & crayfish terrine in a dill cream
Salt & Pepper Squid rings garnished by sweet chilli dressing
Toffee & fudge mousse with a duet of coulis
Medley of sorbet & ice cream on mixed fruit
Rum & Raison Creme brûlée under a caramel sugar neat
Bramley apple strudel with ice cream
Morello cherry & almond meringue tart
Selection of continental cheeses and a selection of biscuits
Trio of Chocolate dessert – Chocolate & Malibu mousse, milk chocolate & creme de menthe creme brulee, Grand Marnier ice cream
Strawberry & cardamon poached pear with warm mixed berry compote