Today’s post comes from a regular reader following her visit to Southend-on-Sea.
Julie Ann Pope (who also runs the fab London Lesbian Vegan group!) is responsible for all of the following words and photos detailing the vegan options at a 50s diner near the UK seaside.
I was visiting relatives in Southend-on-Sea today and we stumbled across a brilliant find. At the furthest end of the Eastern Esplanade, away from the main throng of shops in the centre of town and Fish and Chip eateries on the rest of the Seafront, is a 1950’s style diner – Bobby Jo’s. It was very busy when we arrived but that was no issue for the instantly welcoming staff. We waited all of five minutes as tables were moved around so that we (six adults and a toddler) could be seated in an extended booth. I asked about vegan options and was promptly handed a separate vegan and vegetarian menu. There was a good selection of mains, desserts and drinks available and it was all in the same vein as the vegetarian and ordinary menu, nothing odd or different to make you feel like you were ordering something complicated. I began with a soya latte which was a nice change as I usually have to stick to a black coffee in seafront cafes or diners.
For my main I chose a cheese burger with fries (curly fries are also available) and salad. The portion was generous, the burger tasty and the salad unexciting but delicious. Admittedly the burger wasn’t made by the cafe itself and was a bought in, branded frozen one, but the very fact that that a predominantly meat based venture bothered to cater for vegans and give some variety of options was a winner in my book.
I didn’t think I could have managed a dessert, and looking at the size of the ones being served up to fellow patrons I think I made the right choice not to! But I did treat myself to a dairy-free vanilla milkshake, something I used to love but haven’t had in a very long time. It was a blend of soya milk and Swedish Glace ice cream, which made it lovely and rich and thick but without it simply tasting like slightly melted ice cream! I think some additional vanilla flavouring was also added because it was so smooth, vanilla-y and decadent.
An overall brilliant experience with staff who were very accommodating and family friendly. There was a lovely atmosphere in the restaurant, the film GI Blues (starring a very young Elvis Presley) played in the background and the tables were named after some of the stars of the era. Rock Hudson was the name of our table, which I thought was very apt! An impressive jukebox stood at the front of the cafe and quite a lot of effort has gone into the 50’s style decor.
You can like Bobby Jo’s on Facebook.