I am a Hackney refugee living on the Thames Estuary, for the moment. You can read my blog at www.makemeadiva.wordpress.com
Published December 10th 2012
Art Deco tea room and bistro in a bowling green pavilion
La Petite Petanque is a bistro and café and is unique, certainly to Southend-on-Sea, if not the UK! It is in an absolutely fantastic building: an art deco bowling green pavilion, set slightly above the bustle of the seafront and only a street back from the beautiful cliff promenade overlooking the Thames estuary.
The room is styled beautifully with vintage shabby chic that immediately transports you from busy 21st century living to a more genteel era. The staff are more than friendly and welcoming and really put customers at their ease and that's regardless of whether you simply want a cup of coffee, a quick breakfast or a long leisurely lunch.
Breakfast is served until noon for those of us that like a lie-in and offers everything from a full cooked breakfast to Scottish kippers, taking in pancakes and porridge along the way. My favourite is eggs benedict and it's recommended. Lunch can be a light snack or a full three course meal with wine. Prices are reasonable and there is a kids menu on offer for just under a fiver.
They also do the most amazing cakes and if you fancy dropping in whilst shopping on the high street it is only a few minutes walk away. For a really special occasion, you could go for the full monty: afternoon tea with sandwiches, scones and cream and cakes. This is well worth the £14.95, just remember to book 24 hours in advance. I have recently enjoyed a Christmas glitter cupcake, which was delicious and this is a fabulous coffee and walnut cake that I enjoyed last month.
The setting is beautiful. In the summer the conservatory doors open out onto the manicured bowling green with glimpses of the estuary. In the winter there is a wood-burning stove and it is cosy enough for a long relaxed lunch or tea. What I particularly like about La Petite Petanque is that it is family friendly, but that if you are a customer without children you still feel you are having a special treat.
It's not just me that raves about this place - La Petite Petanque was voted the best Tea Room of 2012 in the Essex Life Fine Food and Drink Awards and in my opinion the award is richly deserved. If you are in the area - pop in because you won't be disappointed.