Have you tried this highly rated Chelmsford restaurant?

Channels Bar & Brasserie

Channels Bar & Brasserie - Credit: Lydia Packham

Dinner at Channels Bar & Brasserie, Little Waltham 

You’ll be forgiven for thinking you’re going the wrong way when you start trundling up a dark and narrow country road, dutifully following the sat nav. But when you happen upon the welcoming sight of a beautiful Essex barn and cosy farmhouse twinkling under golden fairy lights, you know you’re in just the right place.  

Channels Estate has been operating for more than 50 years and houses a golf club, wedding venue and hotel, but it was only recently that the restaurant was revamped into what is now an inviting eatery headed up by chef Dan Pitts. Sourcing local produce is a top priority here, with some ingredients even grown in the restaurant’s own garden. These are then expertly crafted by Dan and his team into rustic fine-dining menus.  

Interior of Channels, Chelmsford

The decor has a homely, rustic feel - Credit: Giulia Verdinelli

When we arrived, we were given a spring plant-based menu, alongside the standard menu. Fellow vegetarians will know that being able to choose from a WHOLE menu is a source of extreme excitement. And being able to choose something plant-based that comes in batter is even more of a delight. So, between my friend and I we devoured the tempura asparagus with romesco sauce and salt and vinegar kale, as well as the beer-battered salt pickles, which were my highlight of the night. Served with tarragon and parsley mayonnaise, the crunch of the batter and the zing of the pickle was divine.  

tempura asparagus at Channels Brasserie

Tempura asparagus - Credit: Charlie Coppin

Next out of the kitchen was the warm roast pear and sweet potato salad, which was my kind of salad: packed with cheese. The salty feta and sweet, chewy fig teamed beautifully with crisp bread and rocket, and I went for a zesty bacchus to wash it down with. I’m a great believer that no meal is complete without dessert. I ordered the sticky toffee parkin (a traditional ginger cake from up north), and had instant order-regret when my friend went for the peanut butter pudding. However, when it came out, the light, crumbly, gingery goodness of the parkin was the perfect way to finish off the meal.  

warm roast pear and sweet potato salad at Channels Brasserie

Warm roast pear and sweet potato salad - Credit: Charlie Coppin

There's nothing better than a relaxed restaurant, where the staff are attentive but not in your face. And this is exactly the service you get at Channels. My friend and I were left to catch up and enjoy a drink together after we’d eaten. The slate floors, exposed timber beams and feature fireplaces exude a homely, welcoming feel, and locals obviously agree – it was busy with diners and drinkers even on a rainy Thursday night.  

Peanut butter pudding and sticky toffee parkin at Channels Brasserie

Peanut butter pudding and sticky toffee parkin - Credit: Charlie Coppin

Next time I visit, I’ll probably come for Sunday dinner (it’s the highest rated roast dinner in Chelmsford on TripAdvisor), and I might even bring my little dog, Twig, to sit in the dog-friendly areas or on the large terrace before heading off to explore the surrounding countryside – that's if I can move after all the beer-battered salt pickles.  

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Our bill came to £65.25 for three courses each and drinks. This is an independent review of a restaurant selected by the editor. The restaurant was not told it was being reviewed.  

Need to know 

Channels Bar & Brasserie 

Little Waltham 


CM3 3PT 

Book online at channelschelmsford.co.uk or call 01245 440 005 

Chelmsford pub named best in UK: https://www.greatbritishlife.co.uk/food-and-drink/establishments/galvin-green-man-chelmsford-8914736

Top Essex restaurants to try this month: https://www.greatbritishlife.co.uk/food-and-drink/establishments/top-essex-restaurants-to-try-now-8905622