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Dining out at Bartellas in Margaretting

PUBLISHED: 10:37 25 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:37 25 August 2015

Bartellas Bar

Bartellas Bar

Archant

BARTELLAS restaurant moved in October 2014 into the Ivy Hotel at Margaretting, near Chelmsford. It’s now in a brand new building to the side of the hotel, which links directly through to the hotel, but the fresh start has given the restaurant the opportunity to create a stylish new interior with plenty of plush, raspberry-pink furnishings off-set with silver mirrors and wallpaper. The hotel has also created a new lounge area, next to the restaurant, which is now used to serve afternoon teas.

After a jovial welcome I was silver-served a choice of warm bread rolls. There’s a choice of three menus at lunchtime: a la carte, a prix fixe menu and also a traditional favourites. I opted for the a la carte menu and immediately I noticed the spiced avocado pear with prawns, cashew nuts, pineapple and spiced mayonnaise — or you could enjoy as a vegetarian option the warm salad of goats cheese with a red onion marmalade.

As a fan of goats cheese, that was my choice. It arrived with toasted triangles of cheese on top of wafer thin bruschetta and rocket with micro herbs and a splash of balsamic zig-zagged across the lavish starter. With its tangy onion marmalade it was an excellent blend of flavours, with a particularly creamy goats cheese.

As I surveyed the restaurant, I took in the variety of seating. The far wall has banquette seating and the rest of the newly-refurbished room is made up of square and round dark wood tables. The restaurant is bathed in light thanks to the three skylights and floor to ceiling windows creating one wall of the dining area. There is also a bar to the right as you arrive at the restaurant reception, with an impressive glass and dark wood wine rack making an attractive central feature. With clever drapes and a beaded partition, the whole restaurant, in its new surroundings, is much more intimate and gives the impression of an exclusive members club.

If I’d stayed with the veggie options for my mains I could have tried the vine tomato and courgette crumble with a medley of green vegetables which sounded delicious, however, I selected the roasted rump of lamb with a spring onion mash and savoy cabbage, served with a redcurrant and rosemary jus. I wasn’t disappointed as five thick slices of tender lamb arrived. A thin crispy skin led to melt-in-the-mouth meat. Like the starter, this was also a generous portion with wonderfully creamy spring onion mash, buttery cabbage and a wickedly rich, dark sticky jus.

To finish, I could have chosen the chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel mousse, served with clotted cream, but I needed something a little lighter so it was the lemon cheesecake with caramelised oranges and sherbet for me. The individual lemon cheesecake with a lemon curd topping had baked orange slices for added decoration and a sprinkle of lemon sherbet on the side. A perfectly piquant end to a delightful lunch in an extremely attractive setting.

Useful to know

The total bill came to £37.07 for three courses and a glass of sauvignon blanc. This is an independent review, featuring a restaurant selected and experienced by our food and wine editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.

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