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Reviewing some of the Independent Restaurants in Billericay
We appointed our own mystery reviewer with the brief to tell us about the places to eat which are not national or international chains. We want to support local businesses as local residents.

This month's restaurant is Graham's at The Duke of York

Forty years ago The Duke of York public house boasted a pricey restaurant. Now, after its recent experiences at the hands of the travellers, Graham has completely gutted and refurbished the building, and opened a restaurant and café bar.
Open every day except Monday, my companion and I went for lunch and were seated in the conservatory – so called because it has more natural light than the roomspace nearer the kitchen. The whole is painted a very pale lilac and cream which offsets the brown wooden tables and black chairs and gives a calm, relaxed feel.

The staff are welcoming, and whilst we declined a pre-lunch drink in the small bar, it did look very cosy and had comfy, squidgy chairs and sofas. Great for the Music Nights, probably.

Drinks were served efficiently as we had decided to forgo the special lunch menu at £12.50 which included a glass of house wine, beer or soft drink.

Our starters were Quiche and salad and Graham’s house salad, both of which were tasty with some well chosen flavour combinations carefully explained on the menu.

My companion, who does not eat fish, had more difficulty than I did choosing a main course because of the eight dishes on the menu, four were sourced from the sea. Chicken supreme with green lentils proved to be a good choice and I thoroughly enjoyed a shellfish risotto. Portions are quite generous and the flavours well developed as might be expected from a good chef, which this one is. Also, although the dishes are on trend, there is some restraint with chilli peppers which can be a relief. He also knows how to cook vegetables to perfection.

Coffee or a variety of teas round off a good meal and it is no hardship paying the bill and adding a gratuity for well-trained service from cheerful, young waiting staff.
Rating – 8/10