- Sociable, cocktail drinking types who happen to be in outer Essex
- Those seeking more ‘regular’, British inspired cuisine
- Party planners and social connectors (seems like the right spot for a singles night or something…)
- People in search of a ‘reliable’ club – not too shabby, not too posh, but not a compromise either.
- Somewhere you could go for an experience that’s something in-between clubbing and a restaurant meal. Drinks followed by eating?
Essex Isn’t The Only Way (but it is certainly an option…)
I’ve been kinda won over by the town of Hornchurch, having spent the greater part of an evening speaking with the friendly Hayley Smith from Boxed Out PR, a local who’s been championing the area in a number of ways, promotion of the Vertigo being just one of them. It’s one of those areas that got hit particularly hard by the economic downturn, and looking at the high street, you can tell.
As a South East Londoner, Essex is a bit of pain in the arse to get to. My cofounder, Bryony (an Essex native) told me that it’s actually only on the outskirts of Essex, and thus making it unable to yield the full Essexperience (™). That said, I made the trip down (or is that up?) to sample something that wouldn’t normally be in my remit. My reason for coming was to try out the Vertigo’s new business menu. I’d also heard some good things about their cocktails too…
Managing to not get lost en route (fuck yeah), my overall verdict of the place is a good one. My caveat? It’s in Hornchurch. Hornchurch is actually a pretty fine place, but as many people will tell you, it’s in one of those spots where it’s a ‘bit out of the way’, and apparently even the locals are resigned to this as a fact…
Which is a shame because it seems to be a great little area, from my limited experience of the place.
Still, with the hopeful receding of the ‘recession’ that convinced everybody not to spend their money on fun activities like binge cocktail drinking or Carribean island timeshares, Hornchurch, like many places, is on the rise again. Apparantly it’s not the same as it was, but Vertigo is one of the few survivors of the good old days, and will hopefully be a big part of it’s regeneration…
So, less about Hornchurch, more about Vertigo…
Interior design is one of those things I think that nobody really notices when it’s good, but you can’t not notice when it’s terrible. Know whaddamean? Vertigo’s interior design falls into the former category, it feels spacious and clean and from a distance looks pretty inviting. Nothing particularly too out there, or memorable about it. It just works in a reserved way.
Here are some pictures, which are better than words…
This was more of a ‘business dinner’ so I didn’t really get my usual opportunity to prolong the whole thing or taste as many dishes as would have been fitting for a food review.
That said, the chow was pretty good. Again, nothing too adventurous, but definitely not something you’d turn your nose up at. Considering I’m a particularly hungry person, I did leave the Vertigo feeling like I’d eaten a fully ‘hearty meal’ – satisfied. This actually is a big thing in my book. My metaphorical book of restaurant caveats that exists only in my head…
Seared Rare Beef and Smoked Chicken Salad with Lemon Mayonnaise and Wild Rocket
What do you want me to say? It was a bloody good salad.
Basil, Mascarpone, Sun Blushed Tomato Stuffed Free Range Organic Chicken Breast
An unwritten culinary rule that might not actually exist (but should exist) says that wrapping everything in bacon makes it better. Significantly better. Also I think the mash was sweet potato (which in my very humble opinion is hella better than the ‘conventional’ spud). It was that perfect middle ground between a well presented piece of food and the kind of thing that you attack with a fork after a hungry day of walking around in the cold driving rain.
Well done, Vertigo!
To be honest I don’t see the Vertigo as a place that many people are going to go and see, simply because it’s a victim of it’s own location at current. Transplant it exactly as it is to a more lively area and you’d very likely see it do a lot better. As Hayley said to me, if anywhere deserves good PR, it’s this place (and so, I’m trying my best!)
If I were a Hornchurch local I’d probably treat this as my local – as for lounges they don’t seem to have all that much competition, and they are (so I’m told) the best place for cocktails in quite a wide radius. The food’s good too (well, what little I tried of it was). I guess this makes the place versatile.
So yes, I liked Vertigo and the people there very much. I hope the macroeconomic climate, cultural factors, or whatever it is that decides if Hornchurch is ‘hot property’ or not get’s it’s shit together, so that this fine establishment can get the patronage it deserves.
In the meantime I can tell you that it’s accessible on the District Line, and is Zone 6, to be exact, so it’s not particularly tough to get to if you’re London or Essex based. Vertigo is a reasonable walk from the station. So there’s your excuse to go give it a shot, if you needed one…
If they invited me back, I’d certainly make ‘the trek’ again 🙂