Standing on the beach
With a sub in my hand
Staring at the sea
Staring at the sand*
Staring down my sandwich
At a seagull on the ground
I can see his open mouth
And he’s making a right bloody racket, he’s a fackin’ seagull.
I’m the stranger
Feeding a seagull
I visited my mother today. Or was it yesterday? In Shoeburyness. A place that seems at the end of the earth looking one way but the gateway to civilisation (of a sort, I mean a lot of it is Kent) the other. This being the season of the Estuary Festival it was time to make the decision of whether to go down the route of Radio 3 Nightwaves type analysis of the psychogeography of Essex and spend a morning of reverie gazing at the majestic dereliction of the Mansell Forts. Or go back to my roots as a Sarfend native and think to myself ‘Bollocks to that, let’s get some fish & chips.’
I chose the latter.
The Shoeburyness Hotel has had a miraculous refurb since the last time I was in it. It involves a lot of stripped wood, white linen on the tables and fit-for-human-habituation toilets. So not all bad.
Five of us were looking for lunch and we sat down in a room that seemed a touch formal for lunch in an infrequently visited part of the coast. Until you tuned into the X-Factor megamix coming through the speakers. We soon forgot about the formalities and got stuck into some decent fish and chips. The portion size was perfect for if you’ve been tramping up and down the front for a while with good battered fish, even better chips but rotten peas. 70s peas in fact and thus enjoyable for their nostalgia enhancing properties.
Service was cheerful and swift – the room was soon half full, which seems pretty good for a Friday lunchtime. For five it cost £75, miraculous value to someone who lunches in London but probably normal around these parts. I’ll be back for a pint before the year is out and for dinner in 2017.
*Well, mud really. This was Shoebury, not Oran.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).