Bright lights, Cold nights – Southend in the Winter

Fancy a wintery stroll along the British sea-side? Forget Brighton and its pebbly beaches. Check out our Fotogalerie of Southend.

Witness the dichotomy of the flashy, trashy, bright lights of the oft-titled “Blackpool of the South”…

20131122170514304

…compared to the cutesy, chintz rooms full of posh nosh found at the Bacchus Restaurant.

20131122173225558

The food is not cheap but the interior is absolutely smashing and it is a complete labyrinth of hidden jewels. With ball gowns hanging from the ceiling, and vintage bathing suits dangling in the bath rooms, it really is worth spending that little bit extra to warm up with some wine and cosy surroundings. It gives off the vibe of a really wealthy grandma’s closet that has been raided.

Antiques roadshow would have a field day!

20131122172019688Oh yes and do stop in to the yummy Essex version of Honest Burger – it is entitled Henry Burgers. The owner is super nice and so is the food!

When we went they had sold sooo many burgers that they had to give their chef the day off on Sundays because the place was so in demand.

That is a sign of  a GOOD burger. (Thankfully, now the situation has been rectified and the people of Southend and visitors from far and wide can be fed every day of the week – hooray!)

henryThe faded glory of Britain’s seaside towns has often been lamented. Hip and happening in the Victorian era. People flocked to the beaches in their thousands and insisted on getting changed in bathing machines to protect their modesty. Oh how times have changed…

bbc

Then the Mods and Rockers got all angry in the 60s. Flinging their deck chairs about in rage and scooting around on their Vespas and motobikes.

So what has become of the coastal holiday resorts so jam packed in the summers of yore? What is it like during the bleak winter months?

brighton

(Brighton 1964)

We all know that Blackpool is synonymous with stag dos and generally scary folk. Yet Southend is not to be sniffed at. Take a wander down the promenade and you will be smelling the sugary sweet smell of donuts and your eyes will be gleaming with all the sparkling lights found in every direction.

20131122170048340

For twee seaside towns to enter the modern era they have had to adapt – HELLO BRIGHTON – the perfect example and winner of the hipster beach of the UK.

BUT Southend has one huge crowning glory…it has the longest pleasure pier in the world. (Gasp!)

20131122174329219

However, there is not a lot on there and you actually have to pay for the opportunity to wander down it or, alternatively, catch the train to the wind-swept end. (This was not something we fancied doing on a blustery November night).

Just go and munch a burger at Henry Burgers instead and wander round the Adventure Island…wrapped up in gloves, scarves and very woolly hats.

20131122174956042

Anne x

Photos: Henry Burgers Facebook, BBC

Ich möchte Bier – Berliner Weiße in particular

I want beer.

But sadly it is a Thursday morning and I am at work. In London.

We are not usually the biggest fans of beer. We like our stuff more potent – throw a cheap cava or prosecco at us any day, but beer?

cava

It takes too long to have the desired effect and makes you feel a bit like a bloke. Unless…you find yourself at an afterparty at 5am cradling a can of White Stripe – that is totally acceptable behaviour.

Obviously.

BUT…in Berlin there is a Bier so yummy I can make an exception.

Admittedly the one we like is really girly (it is pink) and is an upsettingly low percentage (around 3%). Which is not ideal but, god – if the lower percentage saves us from being those boozed up Brits abroad, so hated by Europeans, then that is fine with us!

bier

This scrumptious Bier is called Berliner Weiße and is found mostly in Northern Germany – namely Berlin and it dates all the way back to the 16th century.

Various dates are suggested for the birth of Berliner Weiße – as early as 1572.

There is even a widespread legend that Napoleon’s troops nicknamed the beverage as “The Champagne of the North” (so it kind of makes sense why we like it then…)

Anyway – back in the day it used to be the most popular alcoholic tipple in Berlin – but now the only brand still produced in Berlin is Berliner Kindl Weiße

Berlin has a huge range of beers – wander into any shop selling booze and you will be astounded at the vast array.

What’s that we have here? Oh yeah a “Boys Noize Techno Bier”

bier 3

That would be like having a “Disclosure Garage Beer” back home in Blighty (snigger).

Sadly for the rest of the world the brand Berliner Weiße is protected in Deutschland so it can only be used for Bier made in Berlin.

It is the flavoured syrups added to the Bier that make it so varied – the raspberry pink one is called “Himbeersirup”, the purple blackcurrant one is called “Johannisbeere” and there is some strange one with woodruff in (“Waldmeistersirup”). Ermm. We are still not sure what that is…

Our rating: *** ( 3% = 3 stars )

Anne x

Photos: Laura Chapman, Danny Baker