The 10-minute stroll from Southend Central railway station to Seven, the city’s latest – and first boutique – lodge takes in its prosaic High Street however, on a crisp, sunny afternoon, additionally delivers beautiful views of the Thames estuary. Nearby is the funicular cliff raise and on the esplanade beneath are fairground rides, although the scene is dominated by Southend’s pier – the longest within the world – which takes my gaze out throughout the water.
Seven opened final week, although the lodge restaurant is into its second month, and the place couldn’t really feel more energizing. Indeed, the lodge is one other side of the city’s regeneration, which is being constructed round artwork and tradition and contains the inventive hub Metal and the Focal Point Gallery.
The lodge constructing was once a care home however after redevelopment is now a 37-room lodge, that includes 5 top-floor Estuary suites with sea views maximised by french home windows and a balcony – and with a rooftop bar to come. The different rooms are labeled as Chic, Cosy, Calm or Comfy.
The design and decor of our room is a continuing reminder of the place we’re. Sea-foam greens and seashore tones are prime of the paint charts and blend with iridescent brass and bronze in particulars corresponding to lamps, toilet fittings and the attractive fretwork by interiors agency Tibbatts-Abel. The palette exudes high quality with out tipping into the gaudy.
Standard sea view room
Downstairs, the bar shouldn’t be the largest and is busy – although not in a frantic method – and I’m positive the house owners might be glad for hotter months after they can open its terrace. The drinks listing has the same old promise of mixologist’s magic and greater than 30 sorts of gin. It couldn’t be extra on-message than if it had WhatsApp’d itself with a string of emojis and hashtag #hichicboom!
A pre-dinner stroll alongside the seafront reveals two sides of the city. On Eastern Esplanade are amusement arcades, a sea life centre and lads revving souped-up vehicles, whereas the calmer pleasures of Cliff Gardens and leisure on the Cliffs Pavilion dominate round Western Esplanade because it edges in the direction of Westcliff-on-Sea. Seven sits between them, leaving company to determine which decibel degree they’d be happiest in.
The lodge’s bar
The lodge’s shining star, although, is its restaurant, Aurum, overseen by Simon Webb – a head chef with expertise at London’s Langham Hotel and chief of England’s staff on the 2018 Culinary World Cup. Not solely does the decor choose up on the colors and accents of the lodge, with the bronze shards of a central gentle grabbing the eye, it additionally emphasises native meals from each land and sea.
My spouse’s Essex burrata starter (mozzarella-like cheese, with beetroot, rye, honey and rocket) is a candy, gentle deal with, whereas my London-cure smoked salmon with fennel and dill is a tangy delight. The mains are simply as finessed: pork stomach could be greasy however this one (served with spiced lentils, cabbage and burnt apple) is succulent, with simply the precise hit of completely crisp crackling. I ask my spouse what she thinks of her Creedy Carver rooster with leeks, kale and bread sauce – however she’s too busy devouring it to reply.
I’ve all the time beloved the British seaside and its contradictions: brash colors, eccentric spectacle, fading grandeur and the stoicism required to sunbathe within the chilly. And I’ll perceive the criticism if it comes Seven’s method for its deal with luxurious in a city that has a “traditional” seaside repute. It is, in my view, dear for Southend but it surely does assist reveal a prettier image of what a visit to coastal Essex can ship. And who is aware of, with the more and more well-liked Southend airport solely a 15-minute drive away, Seven may turn out to be a pre- or post-getaway deal with for these utilizing its 30-plus European routes for a brief break. It actually focuses consideration on how good issues are right here proper now.
• Accommodation was supplied by Seven lodge (doubles from £96, room solely, cooked breakfast £eight, continental breakfast buffet £10). Aurum restaurant set menu £19 for 2 programs, £24 for 3, excluding wine
Ask an area
Paige Ockendon, challenge supervisor, Metal Southend, which can host the pop-up Essex Writers House in partnership with Essex Book Festival all through March
• Arts and exhibitions
Twenty One, on the seafront, presents nice meals and an thrilling occasions programme. Sign as much as a workshop at The Old Waterworks, and there’s nice images, on the Francesca Maffeo Gallery.
Independent outlets are scattered by way of Southend, Westcliff and Leigh-on-Sea. Head down Hamlet Court Road for secondhand furnishings, florists and knick-knacks. For native items, I like to recommend a go to to Castle Collection and Clink.
• Food and drink
For a unbelievable vegan menu and reside music most nights, head to The Railway Hotel, home to Southend’s inventive neighborhood. For Italian meals in a comfortable setting, attempt Pasta Pia or go to Henry Burgers for cocktails and Instagram-worthy burgers. One of my favorite lunch spots is Barlow and Fields – beautiful ambiance and fuss-free menus. If it’s native beers you’re after, then it’s time for The Crooked Billet or The Mayflower.