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Whether it's an excuse to take a break from the wedding planning for a much needed date-night for nearlyweds, or perhaps a family get-together to celebrate the upcoming nuptials, Bill's provides the perfect setting: atmosphere, service and great food as editor Danielle Harvey discovered!
Even though we're 18-months passed being newlyweds ourselves, we know the importance of 'date night' especially with busy lives, work and kids. So, we jumped at the chance to try the new summer menu at Bill's Chelmsford (and nationwide). Bill's is actually our go-to breakfast haunt, we love the relaxed-vibe, the variety on the menu - hubby particularly loves the coffee - and it's always been a pleasurable experience to kick-start the day.
Come the evening, it was exciting to experience the restaurant in a whole new light. I've always admired the quirky, mismatched interior, the industrial-chic combination of exposed overhead piping and brick walls with flock wallpaper, chandeliers, and soft furnishings it's a standout style that Bill's executes effortlessly and it looked even more appealing under the glow of low-lit lamps and candles.
The staff were as welcoming as ever, both the manager who showed us to our table and our waitress for the evening Ellen. Any Bill's we've visited the team are always friendly, enthusiastic and uplifting exactly what you need when you're venturing out for a rare evening together.
The new dinner menu was a sight for hungry eyes, with so much choice it was hard to pick a favourite. I never order the same thing in any restaurant so opted for the Chicken and Sesame Dumplings with Bill's spicy chutney, with more than enough on offer, each was a small bite of loveliness complemented perfectly by the chutney. My significant other chose his staple, a Prawn Cocktail: King prawns, smashed avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, shredded baby gem, Marie Rose sauce & Bill's spiced tortillas. The benefit of this is that he feels you can make a great comparison and he certainly set this one at Bill's above the rest!
The main event comprised Crab & Courgette Risotto, cooked in a smoky tomato stock with chives and plum tomato, and his choice was the Mojo Marinated Chicken Skewers, with grains, wild rice, cucumber and red onion salad, tzatziki and grilled flatbread.
What I loved about my risotto was that it was unlike one I've tasted anywhere else. It was delicious, of course, but whole-heartedly unique to Bill's which means dinning here will always be an overall new experience of high-quality food and flavours; and combined with atmosphere and attentive staff what's not to love!
The starters and mains were ample enough, certainly tasty, and we could have easily left feeling completely satisfied, however, the dessert menu was calling my name only mine though, HE never orders a third course, and I honestly don't know why I married him as we're clearly not compatible when the dessert is the first thing I suss out and then choose round one and two accordingly!
So... dessert... it's a sweeping statement that I'm prepared to stick by but the Bill's Chocolate and Hazelnut Praline Sphere is one of the best things I have ever tasted (and I have a large catalogue to compare it to). Comprising indulgent salted caramel ice cream under a hard shell of chocolate, with a hazelnut mousse, brownie-like base, and velvety chocolate sauce and golden pearls these words do not do it justice.
As teetotallers, it's always nice to have lots of options on a drinks menu, our Peach, Elderflower and Rosemary Cooler and Pink Lemonade were the perfect refreshing end on a warm balmy evening, finishing up our overdue catchup about day to day life.
From humble beginnings in Sussex, as a simple farm shop, to nationwide restaurants Bill's has certainly found the magic formula; we'll be back and not just for breakfast!
For more information on the new summer menus, and to book your pre- or post-wedding get-together visit the website bills-website.co.uk
Images courtesy of: millyfletcher.com