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Sunday best: the roast dinners you don’t want to miss out on

Bring on the Yorkshire puds, cranberry sauce and lashings of gravy! Here’s 8 of the best dining destinations to hit across the county for all your beef (or lamb or chicken or veggie) trimmings – without compromising on style or taste. You. Are. Welcome

Best for great gastro grub: The Folly Bistro, Hanningfield

The Folly Bistro pub garden

What started life as a village butchery in 1642 is now a cosy gastro jaunt complete with a wraparound garden. Inside, The Folly Bistro is all log burners, polished glassware and fabulous fixtures and fittings. Outside, you’ll find an immaculately dressed terrace to decant to if winter sun strikes. Oh, and don’t forget about the food: mouthwatering chunks of lamb, hearty hunks of roast beef and juicy chicken roasts are all local favourites, best washed down with a fruity red or pint of Pucks Folly ale from the Brentwood Brewery. Don’t mind if we do.

Best for a gal-pal lunch date: The Lion Inn, Boreham

Delivering a stylish dining destination in the rolling hills of Boreham, this popular haunt for pals is just the ticket for a long Sunday lunch with loved ones. The bar is pure French theatre, with an eclectic mix of antiques and salvaged finds dominating the stylish interiors – and you won’t be disappointed with the gargantuan Yorkshire puddings dripped in red-wine gravy, either.

Best for a please-everyone menu:  The Peterboat, Leigh-on-Sea

Situated in the heart of Old Leigh’s cobbled lanes, boasting uninterrupted views out across the estuary, it’s no surprise that The Peterboat is a summertime staple for locals. But when it’s drizzling outdoors and you need head inside for something warming, this is every pescatarian’s dream Sunday venue. Famed for serving up the freshest fish dishes in Leigh-on-Sea since 1695, head down early to bag a prime spot and tuck into its signature Peterboat Chockle Chowder. More into a trad meat dish? Fear not: there’s sirloin, welsh lamb, pork loin, chicken, nut roast and a special chef’s platter to choose from, too.

Best for sustainable fare: Food by John Lawson, Leigh-on-Sea

Food by John Lawson restaurant Leigh-on-Sea
Photo: Luke Ayling

Slap bang in the heat of Leigh-on-Sea’s buzzy cafe culture, Food by John Lawson is every mindful diner’s dream. Think locally sourced organic dishes, a sleek aesthetic, and damn fine flavours to boot. Lawson’s tangible focus on sustainability is as refreshing as his tasting-menu plates, which centre around nutritious, seasonal fare free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars. Vegan? You’re in safe hands. This place is all about serving honest food that works in harmony with the environment and your body. Oh, and the Sunday roast is served with free-flowing organic cava too. We love.

Best for stylish interiors: Church Street Tavern, Colchester

Church Street Tavern

Located less than 10 minutes from Castle Park and housed in a handsome townhouse opposite the Mercury Theatre, this ground-floor pub and top-floor bistro delivers relaxed, sunken sofas, complimentary games, regional plonk and swoon-worthy local artworks. Premium quality roasts (hello seasonal, organic meats and innovative veggie options) come as standard here, but whatever you plump for, you’ll love the Soho House-vibe interiors.

Best for a bustling family get-together: Galvin Green Man, Chelmsford

Galvin Green Man Chelmsford

Nestled in the green fields that fringe Chelmsford’s city centre, this beautifully refurbished building dates back to 1341 and serves up panoramic views from a floor-to-ceiling glass wall, as well as that all-important drinking area complete with cosy banquettes and top-quality roasts. Owned by the Galvin brothers – both award-winning Essex-born chefs – this super stylish bistro boasts Bib Gourmand credentials in a humble corner of the Essex countryside.

Best for hunkering down by the fire: The Sun Inn, Dedham

This picture-postcard dwelling in the heart of scenic Dedham isn’t just perfectly placed for a crisp winter day’s walk by the river – it also happens to have a cracking fire pit to cosy up to, complete with squishy sofas for a post-roast sinkage. Set up camp under the character-filled oak beams, order a glass of something local and peruse the regional menu, which is always season-led and a favourite with foodies.

Best for traditional village cheer: The Hoop, Stock

The Hoop

Constructed in 1640 from the timber of warships at Tilbury Docks, this charming Stock stalwart is big on heritage, hearty dishes and high-quality dining – including its popular Sunday roast offerings. Nab a rustic table by the roaring feature fireplace, order a roast Suffolk chicken, full-bodied vino from local vineyard, New Hall, and soak up the friendly village vibes.

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