Lunch with - The Fat Goose, Tendring Essex
Reviewed by Stephanie Mackentyre
LAST time I bumped into Philip Hambrook-Moore, he was excitedly telling me about his bold plans to expand The Fat Goose in Tendring into a far more generously proportioned bird. Back then his
60-seater restaurant with a modest conservatory had been open just over a year, but now it’s flown past its second anniversary with a newly-expanded restaurant and a brand new terrace too, accommodating twice the amount of diners. His vision, coupled with drive and determination, is shared by business partner and mum, Linda Daldry, who is already thinking of a second restaurant.
‘Mum’s already got itchy feet, but with the expansion I’m keen for us to concentrate all our efforts here for the time being. However, we are tentatively looking for a second restaurant close by,’ Philip reveals.
At The Fat Goose the new extension has a wood burner for the cooler evenings and there’s a well-lit, covered and heated outdoor patio area too. This new-look bird will be launched officially in May, probably on the second Bank Holiday weekend, with a steel band and some cool cuisine to celebrate. There’s also a newly-extended car park and the gardens beyond are being lovingly landscaped in time for the grand opening.
‘It’s doubled our capacity, however we’re only as good as our front of house team, so we recruited more staff several months in advance to ensure they were all trained up and ready to offer a top service,’ adds Philip. His ethos is very much customer led, believing that the quality of the food and the service the customers receive is what brings regulars back to dine time and time again.
As we chatted, chefs Terry and Aaron were hard at work in the kitchen preparing our lunch. Terry has worked with Philip since before he first opened and Aaron joined shortly afterwards. ‘They share my vision for The Fat Goose, I really couldn’t run the restaurant with its AA Rosette this well without them,’ says Philip.
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Our starters arrived, a mini tower of golden and red beetroot rings which had been braised gently in apple juice with an avocado mousse and curls of Sladburys Farm-smoked salmon from nearby Great Holland. A colourful medley carefully sculpted on the plate with slices of salmon meaty enough to savour on the tongue.
For our main course, a magnificent cod loin, line-caught off Walton, sat upon slowly braised pigs cheek with a cassoulet of chorizo and butterbean served with creamy garlic mash. Honestly, just the cassoulet alone would have made a hearty meal, it was just daring you to dip your bread in it. Feeling full to the brim, dessert seemed a bridge too far. However, the sight of Belgian chocolate cheesecake with a praline sauce and fresh blackberries soon sparked the sweet tooth in me. Sheer delight.
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The Fat GooseHeath RoadTendringCO16 0BX01255 870 060