Wednesday 29 April 2015

The Oak Tree

Last month I was lucky enough to win a dinner for two at the Essex based Vegetarian & Vegan restaurant The Oak Tree. I had already been recommended this place by some fellow Essex Vegan's so I couldn't wait to get myself down to Leigh on Sea to see what they had to offer. 

Once we arrived I was instantly impressed by the Oak Tree's charming exterior. It'a a shame it was so chilly otherwise it would have been lovely to sit outside. We also had a our 2 chihuahuas with us but we were kindly informed that they would be allowed inside too so it was great that we had the option of where we wanted to sit, and to learn that they are a dog friendly restaurant!  

The Oak Tree recently had a little refurbishment and it was clear to see that a lot of love has been put into this place. Inside it has a pleasantly welcoming, relaxed and comfortable feel to it, but also a sense of being quite upmarket and suitable for special occasions. 

The Oak Tree's menu is so appealing and extensive! I really wasn't expecting so much choice from a small bistro like this and it was impressive to see such a wide range of culinary delights inspired by different countries cuisines.  

It was a tough choice deciding what to order but for our starters my husband chose the vegetarian 'Grilled Halloumi' and I went with the vegan vegetable 'Spring Rolls'. Both of these small plates were heavenly and I could have happily eaten it all again! 

The main meals selection was just as enticing and it was great to see that every dish featured, all apart from one, was vegan friendly! There was also a good selection available for customers who follow a gluten free diet. 

Again the main meals menu is a real all-embracing fusion of dishes which incorporates English, Italian, Mexican, Asian and Indian cuisine. 

For our mains we both opted for vegan dishes. 

My husband chose the 'Lebanese Lasagne' which featured aubergines, lentils and chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce with a side of salad and garlic bread. This was a really hearty and wholesome dinner which he really enjoyed and he was impressed how it still really tasted like a lasagne despite the fact that it contained no cheese. 

I decided on the 'Sri Lankan Spinach Dhal Curry' which really blew me away with it's fragrant spices and simplicity. I love it when you eat something that you feel you could have a go at making yourself at home too. With ingredients such as spinach, lentils and chickpeas it was incredibly filling and I just felt as though I was eating pure healthy goodness! 

After all of this we didn't really have much room left for dessert but as soon as we were told that all of the puddings on the menu were vegan friendly we couldn't resist trying one to share! 

Our lovely waitress and co-owner Sam bought us over a chalkboard menu of desserts which all sounded amazingly good. I believe the desserts change on a regular basis which is why they are not featured on the main menu if you happen to look at their website. 

In the end we opted for the vegan chocolate brownie with vegan vanilla ice cream!

From looking at this photo I don't think any of you will be surprised to hear that we liked our dessert! It was to die for! And never before have I tasted such gorgeous dairy free ice cream. 

I think I may have just found heaven in Essex!

I would like to thank the Oak Tree for picking me to win this meal as it was one of the best dinners I have had out in a long time. My husband and I really enjoyed it and we will definitely be back again very soon! It was also lovely to chat to co-owner Sam and get to know more about her and her husbands business and her journey into veganism. Our whole experience from start to finish was first class and possibly the most friendliest and accommodating service we have ever experienced.   

The Oak Tree regularly run competitions to win a meal at their restaurant so I really recommend that you all like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. And if you happen to be in Leigh on Sea, or fancy at day out to the Essex coast, then be sure to pay them a visit! 

I have also decided that the Oak Tree will be the perfect venue for my first 'Vegan Essex Social' event in October! So if you are local to Essex and would like to enjoy an evening trying some of their dishes and meeting other likeminded vegans then please email me at: to register your interest.

Sarah x

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