REVIEW: Dusk restaurant and shisha lounge in Brentwood
PUBLISHED: 12:18 24 September 2019
Stephanie Mackentyre drops into one of the county's newest restaurants for her latest monthly review
One of the county's newest restaurants opened its doors this summer and it looks like being a big player on the local foodie scene. Dusk is a 300-seat, rather plush a la carte restaurant and shisha lounge.
On the night we visited they had live entertainment in the form of a skilled violinist, who was perhaps a tad too loud, as even the waitress couldn't hear us, but it certainly added to the impressive ambiance.
The menu is multi-cultural, so don't be surprised to see Peking duck alongside fish and chips and a roast dinner. We began with what was detailed as Amuse Bouche - Noise of the World (£9).
It arrived at our table as three small bowls of mini poppadum's, prawn crackers and tortillas served with sticky chilli sauce, mango chutney and a homemade cheese sauce.
My dining partner is not one for spice, so he chose to begin with the lamb Moroccan soup (vegetarian options are available) described as lightly spiced lamb and lentils brewed overnight.
He found it delicious, but also very spicy! Lobster Atlantis almost tempted me and the menu described it as an innovative approach to prawn cocktail but with lobster, lemon foam, sea soil, wasabi cocktail and CO2 smoke.
Instead I decided to try Tuk Tuk - on the menu detailed as vegetable samosa, onion bhaji sponge with tamarind sorbet, onion bhaji and a Delhi chaa.
It was very prettily presented as a mini onion bhaji on a mini wooden cart, flavourful samosa, a mini pot of chaat with soft boiled chickpeas mixed with yoghurt and spices, but one final thing confused me slightly.
I was expecting another onion bhaji but what I was served was a mini poppadum, with ice cold sorbet on top and served on a slice of warm paneer cheese (I think). I wasn't entirely convinced those flavour combinations worked for me.
The interior has had no expense spared on it, with clever lighting and smart coverings to make it look and feel somewhere rather special. The restaurant is alcohol free and the bar menu offers plenty of non-alcoholic wines, beers and soft drinks including milk shakes.
Main courses include the Great Vegan, a tofu shashlik with almond milk roux, served with rice and chips, right through to their very own turf and surf at (£42) — prime cuts of lamb and lobster pan cooked and stuffed with fresh herbs then grilled and served with twice-fried chips, panko spinach and a tabasco bacon jam.
My guest chose a less spicy option this time. The Peking duck was a roasted duck breast served with a rich apricot jam sauce and hakka noodles.
For me it was the nutty, creamy and cinnamon infused coconut prawn Malai curry. It arrived with plain basmati boiled rice and should have also been served with naan bread. Unfortunately, it was missed off the order and only arrived once I'd finished the dish.
To compensate the staff insisted we shared their chocolate fantasy dessert, despite my protestations that I had a very early start the following day.
Four mini chocolate delights arrived; another samosa this time filled with rich chocolate, a chocolate mousse topped with a small deep-fried doughnut, raisin ice cream and then a slice of chocolate parfait with a strawberry mousse on top.
Our bill was delivered and despite the rather sweet pink candyfloss tree accompaniment, I noticed we'd been charged for fish and chips and butter chicken.
It was swiftly removed and the correct one returned - these things happen when a new restaurant is bedding in.
We didn't have time to check out the separate shisha lounge which is for over 18s only, or the separate Rose room ideal for parties of up to 150 guests.
The restaurant welcomes over children over eight there and you're allowed to bring your own alcohol with no corkage fee.
It was certainly popular with a cool and hip crowd, and the ideal backdrop for plenty of selfie snapping.
Table Talk with Elise Dellow and her boyfriend Callum Smith
Where do you live and what do you do?
I live in Kelvedon Hatch and I'm a prison officer.
What did you choose from the menu?
I had the potato croquettes stuffed with dragon fruit served with three homemade dips and the butter chicken. We also shared the amuse bouche.
Why were you at Dusk?
We live locally and neighbours of ours had visited and suggested we give it a try.
Describe your dining experience in a phrase:
Really lovely and you get what you pay for with a lovely atmosphere and friendly staff.
What could they do better?
I think the attentive service seemed to tail off towards the end of the evening and it took quite a long time to get the bill.
How would you rate the value for money?
It is pricey, but I didn't mind paying what we did. The food was lovely and the presentation was really good.
Worth visiting again?
Yes, we would go back.
What was the best part of your visit?
The presentation. I loved the way my boyfriend's starter was served in a jar with smoke and even the bill was delivered with pink candyfloss!
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Ongar Road, Brentwood, CM15 9SS | 01277424987