The Vine Inn
If you’re on the lookout for a traditional pub that serves well-executed pub classics, look no further than The Vine Inn in Black Notley. This distinctive period pub and restaurant, with its low ceilings and original beams, has a warmth and character all of its own. The long, narrow building can accommodate around 28 diners, with seating for another 25 guests in the recently renovated Gin Garden. On our recent visit, my dining companion and I were ably attended to by Teal, who warmly welcomed us and showed us to our window table for two. It was a quiet weekday lunchtime visit, with only a few other guests present.
Owners Rob and Zoe Smith have run The Vine Inn for around three years and are keen to retain the traditional pub atmosphere, using local suppliers whenever possible and updating the menus every month or two, with dishes to reflect the seasons. After some deliberation, my companion chose smoked mackerel with beetroot and new potato salad to start, followed by chicken, leek and ham pie with creamy mash and seasonal vegetables. I opted for whitebait with tartare sauce, followed by a delicious 8oz rump steak cooked to perfection over charcoal. To finish, my companion enjoyed a chocolate brownie, while I indulged in an apple and berry crumble. All the food was expertly prepared and presented by head chef Liam, making it a most pleasant lunchtime experience.