I absolutely love the festive season, and do you know what my favourite part is? Just the way everyone’s cheerful and happy and in a good mood.
JOKES, it’s not that at all, my favourite part of Christmas is 100% the food. Mince pies. Stuffing. Sausages wrapped in bacon. This year, myself and a few other people from my company went to The Duke of York in Billericay for a festive meal. If you don’t enjoy a festive meal with the work gang where you walk the tightrope between letting them see the real you and getting your P45 in the morning, then are you actually employed?
I must admit, I already has expectations when I went to the Duke of York. A lot of people had recommended it. We pre-chose the menu, which is a better option for me. You know those incredibly annoying people who sit at a meal and change their mind several times when they are picking their menu?
We were quite a big party, so we waited in the bar for everyone to arrive. I liked the bar. It was cosy, but without being ‘closed’ if that makes sense. Some places can try and go too OTT on the ‘rustic’ look and end up being a bit dingy, but the Duke of York is light and airy, but still affords you some privacy.
We were sat at a table at the back, again, there were only two small tables near us so we managed to get quite a bit of privacy. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the poor people who were seated near us.
One of my absolute bug bears at Christmas is when restaurants hike the prices up. Sorry, just because you have put up some poundshop tinsel and got a few more turkeys in, should I REALLY be paying an extra £20? The Duke of York don’t do this and our meal was a reasonable £29.95
I had the chicken liver parfait for starters with red onion marmalade and toast. I must admit, the parfait was average parfait. There wasn’t anything particularly special about it flavour wise, but then again, I guess if you have to please the masses coming in for Christmas parties you cannot afford to be too daring. The red onion marmalade, however, was something else. I like to think of myself as a fairly average cook. In some instances, maybe even a good cook. But there’s no way I could cook red onions like that.
For the main, I went for the Christmas dinner. As a rule, if I go out for Christmas dinner, I’ll have a Christmas dinner. Madness to some, I know. The Duke of York had somehow magically found a way to combat the sheer dryness of Turkey. Wherever you go for a Christmas dinner (if it is somewhere that doe’s quality food), you will always get the same good standard of potatoes, stuffing, veg, pigs in blankets and gravy. The Turkey is where the marker is. The only thing we would say as a group is that we didn’t get Yorkshire puddings. Not something that made a massive difference to most, but I do particularly enjoy them.
I can’t comment on the lovely cake selection, because I don’t eat it and I opted for the cheese instead. The cheese was perfect, and I managed to find out I liked brie (how I didn’t know that already after a season working in Brittany I’ll never know).
The drink selection was fair, with some good choices. I can’t say a chateauneuf du pape wouldn’t have been a welcome addition, but the Malbec and the Prosecco sufficed for me.