An Essex food blogger recommends five great restaurants to try in the county

Onyx Hornchurch

Onyx - Credit: Essex Foodies

Hollie Allen of Essex Foodies (@essexfoodies) is a food blogger reviewing restaurants across the county and beyond. She shares the eateries that have tickled her tastebuds this month

Onyx Hornchurch

Onyx - Credit: Essex Foodies

Onyx, Hornchurch  

Italian cuisine 
Onyx was a new one on me! I had heard of it, but never gotten around to trying it. Oh my, what a place! Onyx is located right in the heart of Hornchurch and feels very ‘Essex’. My partner and I had a dinner reservation over the Bank Holiday weekend and celebrations were in full swing. The restaurant itself was packed with party-goers making the most of the fantastic bottomless brunch. We devoured an array of delicious food including an antipasti board, which was phenomenal – the pesto mayo was to die for! Our mains included a fresh pasta with succulent, juicy prawns and a rather plump calzone – both unforgettable. It's also definitely a spot to check out if you are a cocktail enthusiast! 

Shwings Chelmsford

Shwings - Credit: Essex Foodies

Shwings, Chelmsford 

All things chicken! 
Shwings is one of my favourite independent restaurants in Essex. The food is great, service is always top and there’s just something about the restaurant that feels fun. Owner Mark regularly DJs, which gives the place a great vibe. Shwings have recently introduced a load of new items and flavours to the menu, which I had to sample! New flavours include smoked honey jalapeno, mango curry, the hot reaper plus garlic parmesan – all of them are special. If you like your cocktails, they offer 2-4-1 on Fridays and Sundays, and if you like wings, you can opt for unlimited wings on Tuesdays (groups of four or more on Wednesdays). Want something to brag about? On Thursdays, challenge yourself to eat as many wings as you can in 90 minutes to become the Shwings Wings King!  

Beavoir Arms Downham

Beauvoir Arms - Credit: Essex Foodies

Beauvoir Arms, Downham 

Italian and British cuisine 
This is a little gem nestled in the windy lanes of Billericay. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary village pub, but the inside tells a different story. It's another Italian restaurant, but they also serve up traditional British classics such as cod and chips, so if pizza and pasta aren’t your thing, you need not worry! The food here is lovely; the menu boasts a huge selection of Italian dishes, including some really interesting specials and seafood. I would highly recommend the salmon alla romana, which is a salmon fillet wrapped in parma ham served in a rich, creamy sauce served alongside sautéed potatoes and seasonal veg – it’s delicious! 

Taste of Italy Chelmsford

Taste of Italy - Credit: Essex Foodies

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Taste of Italy, Chelmsford 

Italian cuisine 
This is a firm favourite of mine: real authentic Italian pizza in my hometown of Chelmsford. Taste of Italy pull it out of the bag with their pizzas; they are incredibly tasty and really ooze quality. I have to admit, the pepperoni pizza is probably the best I have ever had. My favourite pizza from here, however, would be the speck and mascarpone, something about it is just so special! The restaurant offers bottomless pizza, whereby you pay a set price and can keep ordering as much as you like (so long as you finish it). It is a great way of sampling the many different toppings. 

Wagama braintree

Wagamama - Credit: Essex Foodies

Wagamama, Braintree 

Japanese cuisine 
I think we all know about Wagamama! These restaurants seem to be springing up quite regularly around Essex. The newest addition is the Braintree restaurant, which is located at Braintree Village (formerly Freeport). Offering up a good selection of Japanese dishes, it’s the perfect place to stop for a light lunch of ramen or a hearty dinner in the shape of its famous katsu! My all-time favourite dish from Wagamama is the raisukaree – it’s so bold and vibrant, and it feels really healthy too thanks to the veggies! Another great thing about Wagamama is that it is very vegan-friendly.