Yesterday, I worked for 14 hours. No, that’s not an exaggeration, or a euphemism, I actually sat down to my laptop at 10am and finished just after 12am. Whoever said run a business as well as doing your day job obviously had a part time day job and a very unsuccessful business.
Today, I had nothing urgent on, so I decided to have a break. There are many things I love about Essex. People may ridicule it, but I actually find it handy that you can’t turn around without being at a tanning shop, or that even the poundshop sell fake eyelashes. One thing that I really like, and I mean really like is that although there is hustle and bustle in the towns, you really needn’t drive too far before you find yourself in the relative countryside. Epping Forest. Norsey Wood. Laindon country parks. Along with actual country side, comes country pubs. We live in Basildon, so the Dukes Head in Little Burstead (just before or after Billericay, depends which was you are going doesn’t it?) really is only a ten minute drive.
When you take the turn off down the little country road that takes you to the Dukes Head, it is like going in a Tardis. From Basildon town centre to the Dukes Head is about 8 minutes in the car, and the two could not be more worlds apart.
We originally were going to mooch around Barleylands craft village and stay there for lunch, but ever so luckily, it was shut.
The Dukes Head has a lovely exterior, and although today was my first foray into eating there, I have had a lot of drinks there and the little duck pond and modern garden furniture make it a lovely place to waste away a summer evening. Inside though, this pub is built for the winter. Its rustic feel is accentuated by real log fires and solid oak tables. It is so homely, you could be forgiven for cracking off your shoes and putting your onesie on.
There are plenty of proper tables to sit on for food, and loads of cosy little corner tables with soft chairs if you are just going there to try one of their lovely lattes of have a glass of red by the fire. The Sunday menu is a little bit different from the week day one, and includes loads of lovely choices for a traditional Sunday roast. I’m not usually a fan of English food, but seeing as my Mum doesn’t eat any other meat than chicken, it isn’t often I get to have a proper Pork roast, so that’s what I opted for. I chose a glass of the Merlot to go with it, and it didn’t disappoint, they don’t do house wine, but the one they picked for me was so nice I wasn’t complaining.
The roast was everything I had hoped it would be. The Yorkshire pudding was soft but crunchy, and approximately as big as a Greek Island. The apple sauce and the gravy were really tasty. ALERT, THIS WAS NOT STANDARD BISTO.
The pork was cooked to perfection. I always find pork goes two ways, either limp and soggy or so crispy you wave goodbye to the top of one of your teeth. The best pork I’ve ever had was at La Sala in Marbella, but this comes a close second.
My Mum had the battered cod and sweet potatoes fries (yes, she doesn’t eat meat but she’ll eat battered cod, NO, don’t get me started on that one either) with garden peas. It looked lovely and although I didn’t try her cod, I did sneak a sweet potato, which was crispy without stodge or heaviness. In fact, they looked so nice, I couldn’t resist one, even though I was at the point of full whereby you consider calling the emergency services.
With my glass of wine, and Mums latte, the meal only came to £35 for two of us, and if you are out and about in Essex on a little Sunday drive, I would seriously suggest going here.