Though still a relatively recent addition to the Essex food scene, Aspera is poised to show all who visit just why in-the-know locals rave about this Mediterranean eatery. Exuding taste, Aspera promises a dining experience that’s a cut above the rest, with a lavishly designed interior and a modern, undeniably funky vibe.
Promising a feast of fresh ingredients, with fi sh from Billingsgate and prime cuts of meat arriving daily, the menu is extensive and eclectic. A glass wall allows you to see the chefs preparing your food, serving as a reminder of the authenticity of the dishes on offer. Hearty portions are cooked to perfection by a brigade of chefs in the kitchen while waiting staff ensure orders are served quickly, and with charm.
To start I enjoyed a serving of delectable mushrooms cosseted by garlic and Cheddar cheese, while the moreish flatbread, chilli sauce and homemade mayo was an ideal counterpart. My husband’s whitebait was crisp and sea-fresh, served with a delightfully crunchy salad and tartare sauce. Our mains arrived soon after. My succulent prawns were smothered in gorgeous garlic butter, while my partner’s chicken penne included baby button mushrooms in a creamy sauce. I ordered the lamb chop, and it was by far the most delicious I have ever tasted; tender and flavourful, accompanied by fresh salad. The spinach, onion and tomatoes in virgin olive oil served with chunky chips are simply a must, bursting with colour and taste in equal measure.
The unashamedly indulgent and tempting selection of homemade desserts, including tiramisu, peanut butter cheesecake, orange crème brûlée and baklava, are all spectacular. The baklava, which was decorated with fresh flowers and drizzled with honey, looked almost too beautiful to devour, but devour it we did. From the drinks menu, I opted for a non-alcoholic raspberry Mojito from an enticing range of cocktails. The zingy lime, mint and fresh fruit, muddled with shaved ice, offered a vibrant burst of colour and taste. It was undoubtedly heaven in a glass.
Thanks to their combination of incredible food, show-stopping drinks and first-rate service, we shall most certainly be returning to Aspera in the near future.