Dining out at Mehalah’s at Oysters and Ale

PUBLISHED: 06:00 23 March 2016




We sent Stephanie Mackentyre to review Mehalah’s at Oysters and Ale, Mersea Island and she was pleasantly surprised

Interior of Mehalah'sInterior of Mehalah's

The unusual name of Mehalah, an old Hebrew word meaning a powerful but tender and affectionate woman, is rather apt as the restaurant is owned by Heather Haward (of The Company Shed fame).

However, the restaurant’s name was actually inspired by the title of a dark and tragic novel written by the Reverend Sabine Baring Gould, the Rector at East Mersea from 1871 to 1881.

Don’t let the simple exterior put you off. Inside it’s full of charming, rustic chic and you’ll be impressed with the mainly seafood menu, with plenty of nods to local suppliers.

We began our meal with prawn gratin for me and mussels stuffed with herby, garlic breadcrumbs and salad for my partner, all washed down with a glass of Mehalah’s own white wine from the Mersea Island Vineyard. This local wine was deliciously dry with a hint of elderflower. Grilled local oysters were also on the specials board for starters as was a Thai spiced sweet potato soup.

The restaurant is just a short stroll from the Cudmore Grove Country Park which overlooks the East Mersea Flats beyond. A great location to enjoy the great outdoors after what seems like months hiding away from inclement weather.

For main course, my partner swapped fish for pigeon breast with a redcurrant and red wine sauce served with a mustard mash and, for me, I couldn’t resist the sea bream with ginger, onion and soy sauce served with beans and carrots and sautéed potatoes. The pigeon breast with it’s richly flavoursome sauce was delightful and my sea bream, simply pan fried without any flavouring would have been superb, but with the addition of the Asian twist was outstanding.

The tables and chairs are an eclectic mix and covered with vintage lace table cloths. There’s also a small display of local pictures, crafts and preserves to peruse while you mull over pudding. There’s a choice of homemade cakes if you just want to pop in for coffee and you can also enjoy these for dessert. Or you can go for something from the traditional puddings menu. Treacle tart and apple and cinnamon crumble, both served with individual vintage jugs of creamy custard, finished our lunch off perfectly.

Useful to know

The total bill came to £55.80 for three courses for me and my guest 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.

Table talk

Table talk with diner Joan Spenceley and her husband David who live in Enfield, North London.

What do you do? We are both retired.

What did you choose from the menu? For this visit we just had the seafood sandwiches, but we’ve eaten here many times before and it’s always good.

Why were you at Mehalah’s at Oysters and Ale? We’ve been holidaying on the island for the past 10 years and we are currently planning to move there permanently.

Describe your dining experience in a phrase. Very friendly and welcoming, and the food is always good. The seafood platters are wonderful.

How would you rate the value for money? Very good, because the food is always so fresh.

Worth visiting again? Oh yes, without a doubt.

What was the best part of your visit? It’s the ambiance for me; it’s just so lovely there. The staff are always very pleasant and treat us very well.

Book a table

Mehalah’s at Oysters & Ale

East Mersea Road, East Mersea, CO5 8TQ, 01206 382797, www.mehalahs.co.uk

Open 10am - 5pm Tuesday - Sunday

Side orders

Three more places offering the great outdoors on their doorsteps

The Shoulder of Mutton

Halstead Road, Fordham, Colchester, CO6 3LL, 01206 243487, www.shoulderofmuttoncolchester.com

We say: It’s set on the banks of the River Colne and surrounded by woodland walks. You can even take your dog into part of this pub.

Wivenhoe House Hotel

Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ, 01206 863666, www.wivenhoehouse.co.uk

We say: Surrounded by glorious parkland yet a stone’s throw also from this old Roman town.

The Henny Swan

Henny Street, Great Henny, Sudbury, CO10 7LS, 01787 267 953, www.thehennyswan.co.uk

We say: With views of the River Stour you can step onboard a boat after lunch and in half an hour you’ll be by the Granary in Sudbury. (April to October weekends only)


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Essex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Essex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Essex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

Yesterday, 08:56

Treat yourself to a pint of real ale surrounded by fresh sea air and coastal views at any one of these 12 glorious Essex pubs

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Being home to so many wonderful places to eat choosing where to go for dinner can often be difficult. With that in mind we’ve picked 20 of our favourite places to help you decide

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Stephanie Mackentyre continues her tour of Essex’s best eateries by stopping to eat at Dedham’s Sun Inn with her pooch

Read more
Friday, October 26, 2018

CyclesUK are a leading independent bike retail chain based in Essex and they have held a public vote to find the cafes that local cyclists love. The results are in and these are 10 of the best cycling cafes in Essex

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Looking for somewhere special to enjoy a festive lunch with family and friends?

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A hearty portion of pie and mash has been an Essex dining staple enjoyed for generations. We pick 15 places to go for a tasty portion of this local favourite

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

As an enduring British institution, it’s incredibly important to get your Sunday lunch right. Here are 12 pubs in Essex that know how to deliver precisely what you require.

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Essex Life Food & Drink Awards for 2018 took place on September 27th at Down Hall Hotel

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Advances in agricultural technology have meant that the harvest scene across the county is much different today than decades ago. Hannah Salisbury from the Essex Record Office looks back at times gone past

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

We reveal the winner for the Chef of the Year award. Sponsored by Allstaff Employment

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search