Lunch with...Belinda Cross at The Coast Inn on Mersea Island
BELINDA CROSS had ambitions on being a landlady from a young age, writes Stephanie Mackentyre. At just 21 she ran The Anchor at Rowhedge and continued to do so for 17 years. She spent her childhood on Mersea Island,...
BELINDA CROSS had ambitions on being a landlady from a young age, writes Stephanie Mackentyre. At just 21 she ran The Anchor at Rowhedge and continued to do so for 17 years. She spent her childhood on Mersea Island, so when her brother asked her to join him in taking over a members' club on the island's Coast Road, Belinda didn't think twice. Now, four years on, she runs the renamed The Coast Inn with husband, Tim. 'My brother has now left the business and Tim joined me about 18 months ago. We run it together with four other full-time staff.' In the summer they also need a further 28 part-time staff to help with the hoards who flock to sample the island's delights. The Coast Inn has a wonderful vista and if you visit them at the end of a hard day you may be lucky enough to witness a spectacular sunset as you enjoy your meal. Head chef is Anthony Lyons, 21, who, apart from a short working holiday in Lanzarote, has worked with the couple since leaving college. To begin our lunch, Anthony prepared warm chorizo with roasted peppers and chick pea salad, set off by wonderfully crunchy, vibrant salad leaves. Our main course was befitting to our location, a platter of seafood fresh from the island's fishermen, including salmon, cod, plaice, moules a la mariniere, tempura calamari and oysters cooked with white wine and Parmesan, all complemented by homemade tartar sauce. The fish was expertly cooked to preserve its freshness and the tartar sauce had a great bite to it. Desserts were a selection of the restaurant's three favourites; brioche and butter pudding (made by Belinda that morning), pancakes with summer fruits and mascarpone and warm rice pudding topped with Tiptree jam and fresh cream. All beautifully presented with delicious, homemade flavours and generous portions. Just a stones throw from Colchester, The Coast Inn is the perfect place to feel the day's stresses and strains seep away with the slow ebb of the tide.
The Coast Inn108 Mersea RoadMersea IslandCO5 8NA