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Dining out at Hudson & Hudson in Colchester

PUBLISHED: 10:27 23 June 2015 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 June 2015

Hudson & Hudson in Colchester

Hudson & Hudson in Colchester

Archant

Are you ready to read about what is perhaps Colchester’s best-kept secret?

Hudson & Hudson is a delightful bistro and deli, with a new wine shop too, and is tucked away behind the main High Street. If you park in Nunn Street multi-story you’ll need to spot it before entering the car park on your right-hand side, and if you miss it, it’s basically behind Williams & Griffin department store.

Once you’ve located it, you’ll find another surprise awaits, a bijou courtyard complete with its own fireplace perfect for intimate, al fresco dining. As you enter there’s an array of home-cooked pastries and cakes, cheeses and pies plus a range of fine wines in the deli to spark the appetite. Couple that with the aromas from the galley-style kitchen and you have a tantalising mix of sights and smells.

The menu isn’t huge but makes good use of local, seasonal produce. I began with the asparagus and nettle soup served with a nettle scone while my dining partner went for the Cromer crab. It was fascinating to see the two chefs working in harmony in a small kitchen space, especially when it came to preparing our starters.

The presentation and portion sizes were both spot on. My soup was surprisingly creamy and my scone light, with plenty of flavour and marbled with the olive green from the nettles. We both chose fish for our main course, my dining partner picking sea trout served on a bed of wilted spinach with muscles and the John Dory with foraged samphire, lemon emulsion and Jersey royal potatoes for me. We were also served a side dish of seasonal vegetables and again the portion sizes were generous.

The fish itself had a delightful crisp skin and succulent flakes which literally peeled away at the touch of your fork. I’m not sure if it was the heightened anticipation of seeing our food freshly-cooked in front of us or the fact we were hungry after a long day, but it was some of the freshest, most delicious fish we’d ever tasted. We also noticed the burgers were particularly popular with other diners, so there was another good reason for a return visit.

The rustic setting sees lanterns on the wooden, planked tables and bare floorboards, softened by the muted lighting and fresh flowers all around. You look out over their central patio, which on warmer evenings would be an idyllic spot to dine. We rounded off our supper with a vanilla bean panacotta served with poached rhubarb and honeycomb while my dining partner enjoyed the sticky toffee pudding with a scoop of milk ice cream. Absolutely delicious!

Useful to know

The total bill came to £59.50 for three courses for two people with drinks. 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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