Lunch With the bear Bar & restaurant, Stock
PUBLISHED: 17:48 28 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:16 20 February 2013
Essex Life reviews the Bear bar and Restaurant in Stock
RICHARD and Brenda Ellis brought The Bear in Stock back to life over three years ago. The 500-year-old building was in the hands of the receivers when the couple spotted it back in November 2007. Together theyve given the interior and exterior a new lease of life without stripping it of its historic roots which give it warmth and character. The interior is now a wonderful mix of quirky, wooden tables and chairs with original lead light coloured windows.
Richards background was in the City as a chef consultant overseeing 15 restaurants while wife Brendas experience is in interior design for some of Londons finest. Together theyve brought their creative talents to the picturesque village of Stock and made The Bear their home.
Working with Richard is head chef Rob Lazar. Originally from Slovakia, Rob came to the UK in 2005 and worked first in Surrey. He met his girlfriend, Miroslava, and moved to Essex when he applied to work at The Bear; the couple now both live nearby.
Robs first memory of cooking is baking bread rolls as a small child and his very first job was as a kitchen porter. He joined The Bear as chef and now as head chef his uncomplicated dishes allow the flavours of the food to speak for themselves.
For our lunch, Rob had prepared a stunning dish to start; a tian of tea-smoked local trout (hand-smoked using tea leaves) with asparagus tips, fresh water crayfish and poached egg, all topped with a hollandaise sauce and caviar.
The dish was large enough to make a light lunch and it was so attractively laid out it looked more like an exquisite picture. The poached egg had been collected from Wills and Kate that very morning. No, not the royal couple, but The Bears own pair of geese who live on the pretty pond in the back garden.
Talking of outside, I asked Richard about his plans for the traditional Essex barn which resides just to the left of The Bear. Its a work in progress; were waiting to hear from English Heritage about what we can and cant do with the building. Were hoping to eventually convert it to bedrooms.
For our main course, Rob was back with fillets of veal, pan-fried and served with a saffron risotto on a pinenut and courgette bed, with sweetbreads and quenelles of mascarpone and cherry tomato. This healthy-sized portion was a mixture of traditional and modern cuisine; the sweet breads and mascarpone adding a new dimension to the veal fillet which was served in mouth-melting slices with sunshine yellow saffron rice and cubes of courgette.
To round off our lunch, Rob served tarte tatin. On light flaky pastry lay slices of cooked apples with a wonderful natural sweetness and still enough crunch to savour. On top stood a sugar basket holding vanilla pod ice cream and all drizzled with a scrumptious, sticky, toffee sauce.
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The Bear Bar & Restaurant