In the leafy back hills of Brentwood lies a stunning venue, set amidst the countryside fields is Alec’s restaurant. A grand building with an immaculate interior, with staff gliding unobtrusively between tables, and gentle hubbub of conversation from diners in the air. It was lovely. We looked at the new set menu, a very reasonable 2 courses at £23.50 or 3 for £29.50, and decided we’d attempt the full three courses. But, before the first dishes arrived, we were given complimentary bread and olives, and those olives were some of the most delicious olives I’d ever tried, firm, big, full of flavour, an absolute treat.

After that we had another interlude, where I opted for a couple of oysters (Alec’s is one of the finest seafood restaurants in the south east, so I certainly wasn’t going to pass the opportunity by). They did not disappoint, with a side of shallot vinaigrette, lemon and tobasco, each oyster had a real taste of the ocean and superb flavour.

After the initial fanfare it was now time to order our starters from the set menu, my companion decided to go for the soft-shell crab in tempura batter, seaweed & lime dressing. The batter was beautifully golden and crisp, and the dressing gave the dish an extra zing with each mouthful. For my own starter I opted for the crispy squid, king prawns and mussels, lemon, garlic & chilli mayonnaise. Again, the batter was divine, but the greatest part was the succulent, meaty king prawns, these were truly delicious, and truth be told I was loath to share them.

For mains I decided to try the 8oz grilled Angus sirloin steak, 28 day matured, with sides of creamed savoy cabbage & smoked bacon, dauphinoise potatoes and fine beans with sesame & soy. In all honesty, I don’t think I could have selected a better meal, it was incredible. The steak itself was mouth wateringly good, a rich smokey flavour, juicy, every bite oozed with meaty magic and when accompanied with the sides it was a brilliant combination. The dauphinois were creamy throughout the layers, and well browned on top.

But before all of that, I had ordered a bottle of ‘Alec’s Gold’ the restaurants own brand beer, from the local ‘Brentwood Brewing Company’, a lovely crisp a refreshing drink that was a perfect accompaniment to my meal and helped lift the depth of the steak and dauphinoise. It was all delicious.

My partner went for the grilled monkfish, king scallops & prawns, lemon butter sauce with a side dish of the beef tomato salad with basil pesto, and once again, we could see why Alec’s pride themselves on their exquisite seafood.

We eventually mustered up the energy for a dessert and mine was colossal, the ‘Boozy Sunday’ which consisted of chocolate brownies, honeycomb, raspberries and brandy. It came in a large glass and proved to be almost too much, but thankfully, I’m proud to report I made my way to the bottom! In summary, the restaurant is beautiful, service is slick, and the food and drinks are incredible. We would highly recommend a trip to Alec’s and the set menu is certainly huge value for money.

Alec’s Restaurant, Navestock Side, Brentwood CM14 5SD

Tel: 01277 375696