In its distant past Ye Olde Smack in Leigh on Sea was a hive of smuggling activity. Reputedly, tunnels running underneath the pub aided smugglers by concealing movement of contraband, arriving in secrecy via the estuary. Today this historic, traditional Great British pub remains a sociable, community hub and provides a year-round, warm welcome to everyone – families, fishermen, day trippers and locals.

“This pub is the beating heart of Old Leigh. It’s always at the centre of whatever’s going on.

“Old Leigh is a great place for a day out. The pub is less than ten minutes’ walk from the train station. There’s lots of history. The cockle sheds, our heritage centre and the seafront, along which you can walk all the way into Southend,” said Manager Maz Handy.

Plenty of room inside and a warm welcome at Ye Olde Smack, Leigh on Sea

Inside Ye Olde Smack, Leigh on Sea

Situated on Old Leigh’s cobbled High Street, directly on the waterfront, the pub boasts beautiful, ever-changing views of the estuary which can be enjoyed from the pub’s rear terrace or on cold, inclement days, from behind glass and the comfort of indoors.

A Greene King pub, Ye Olde Smack offers beer drinkers plenty of choice. There are eight traditional real ales on tap. The house beer, Ye Olde Smack Ale 3.7% ABV, is brewed to the pub’s specifications at Brentwood Brewery.

Assistant Manager Sonja Oldham is responsible for the cellar and keeping all the ale in best possible condition. The pub holds the Cask Marque Award for selling great quality real ales.

“I’ve been running the cellar for about eighteen months now and it’s the best part of my job!

“I like to have a variety of ales, from IPA’s to porters, so there’s a taste for every palette.

“I always keep Ye Olde Smack Ale available. It has become one of our most popular ales. Our guests love the fact it’s brewed locally by Brentwood Brewery, a very well-respected and well-known name. Greene King IPA is also always on tap. I’m lucky to be able to obtain a wide selection of guest ales too which I usually keep on for two weeks,” said Sonja.

The menu celebrates classic pub fayre and offers diners many options. From lighter meals like sandwiches, smaller plates and baked potatoes to hearty traditional meals and desserts. On Sundays roast dinners are available throughout the day.

There are proper, award-winning pies but most requested and synonymous with the seaside, has to be fish and chips. Chunky, hand-battered cod with chips, peas (mushy available) and tartare sauce costs £11.99. A wholesome plate already but you can big it up. Their ultimate fish and chips comes with the addition of pickled onions, bread and butter as well as curry sauce at £13.99. Scampi fans, your favourite dish comes with chips, peas and tartare sauce and costs £8.99.

Also popular is the 8oz matured Black Angus rump steak served with grilled tomato, chips, onion rings and peas £12.99.

Their burger menu is varied and very interesting. Choices include chicken. Also a vegetarian red and black bean Mexican burger as well as an attention- catching Dirty Burger which comes with chilli con carne (£11.99). All are served with fries and coleslaw.

Be prepared to make some new canine acquaintances, especially at weekends, as this is a dog-friendly pub which gets mentions on doggiepubs.org.uk and dogfriendlyuk.co.uk. In Autumn bird watchers flock here too, keen to observe migrating Dark-Bellied Brent Geese feeding on Eelgrass in the estuary.

“Geese, having travelled from Siberia, come to Leigh October/November time in their thousands and people specifically come down to see them,” added Maz.

Ye Olde Smack

It’s an ideal venue for relaxing, recharging and enjoying a fine pint and great food. In winter you can warm up by one of three open, log fires. In summer you could choose something from the barbecue or just enjoy alfresco dining in the courtyard or rear terrace, looking out over the estuary.  Time your visit right on a Friday or Saturday night and you can enjoy live music. Or Thursday evenings, join in quiz night.

Old Leigh’s events calendar is chock-full with things to do and see. In the summer there is the cockle season, (dates vary each year) the folk festival (22nd – 25th June) the regatta (usually September), and maritime festival (usually August).

Beer & Food Match Suggestion:

Seaside fish and chips

Brentwood Beer with Ye Olde Smack’s Fish and Chips

A pint of Brentwood-brewed Ye Olde Smack Ale 3.7% ABV, pairs perfectly with chunky, hand-battered cod fillet with garden or mushy peas and tartare sauce £11.99.

Ye Olde Smack | 7 High Street Leigh on Sea Essex SS9 2EN |  01702 476 765
Open daily from noon. Food served daily from noon.

© Wendy Pike, www.newswoozle.co.uk, February 2017

This article was first published on Brentwood Brewing Company’s website:  www.brentwoodbrewing.co.uk (Visit the Tap Room & Shop at Brentwood Brewery, Calcott Hall Farm, Brentwood 01277 200 483) and also in The Brentwood Gazette.

 


This pub review first appeared on the Brentwood Brewery Blog as the brewery’s February Pub of the Month and a version also appeared on the brewery’s Community News page in the Brentwood Gazette at the end of January.

If you enjoy ‘proper’ food and beer, you’ll want to read on:

The Hutton Junction, Shenfield by Wendy Pike (Twitter @newswoozle)

Hutton Junction 2015 (1)

With St Valentine’s and Leap Year Days approaching, thoughts will be turning to romance and love throughout February.

Publicans of The Hutton Junction, Len and Lyn Mitchell, celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary last year. So the brewery feels its Pub of the Month is a particularly fitting choice this month. Albeit rather belatedly, Brentwood Brewery sends Len and Lyn their anniversary congratulations.

Forty years ago Len and Lyn Mitchell formed a dynamic partnership when they married at St Mary’s Church in Little Burstead.

As landlord and landlady of the Hutton Junction at Shenfield , this hard-working duo has spent plenty of time in the workplace together too. They’ve been publicans for 11 years, previously running The Green Man in Herongate and The Layer Fox at Layer de la Haye near Colchester.

Do they have any tips for relationship success?

“There has to be give and take.

“From the moment you get married, you have to start making it work,” said Lyn.

It seems the ‘making it work’ mantra, combined with a firm work ethic, is something they also apply to their business as the couple does not take time out for holidays.

“We are what a traditional pub used to be. All our food – from pies, puddings, desserts and to burgers, soups and sauces are all made in the pub. We have five real ales on which we change routinely.

“Our head chef of six years, David White, is constantly creating and updating our seasonal menu to keep it fresh and interesting,” said Lyn.

At least one Brentwood Beer features in the real ale line up on the bar.

Whether it’s a swift lunchtime visit for homemade soup at £4.35 or celebrating a special occasion with a Peppered Sirloin Steak with Onion Rings, Chips, Peas, Mushrooms and Tomatoes at £17.40, The Hutton Junction is bound to tempt you with its impressively varied menu.

Specials are really something … rather special. Check out the chalkboard. They can include Dover sole at £22.50 or sometimes Venison Sausages (venison is locally sourced from Blackmore). Swordfish or Trout too.

If in a rush (some local workers phone their orders ahead to maximise lunch-break time) sandwiches and jacket potatoes are available.

Traditional favourites like Steak and Kidney or Steak and Ale Pie cost £11.95 with seasonal vegetables and choice of potatoes. What you may not realise is, those seasonal vegetables, like runner beans, courgettes or marrows, were probably organically grown in Len and Lyn’s garden at home.

“One year we had so many cucumbers I was giving them away to customers,” said Lyn.

Hutton Junction 2015 (2)

Reigning supreme in the Brentwood in Bloom competition recently (winner six years running), the gorgeous pub garden, which boasts spectacular grapevines, is planted and tended by Len and Lyn with help from eldest son David. So which of them has the greenest fingers? “Me!” That is according to Lyn, taking the credit. On the other gardening-gloved hand, Len might give a different answer. But that’s give and take.

Hutton Junction 2015 (4)

Beer and Food Match suggestion:

Lumberjack with Lumberjack Sausage Cobbler at The Hutton Junction - Copy

Sausage Cobbler made with Lumberjack Beer & Lumberjack 5.2% ABV

Head chef David White has created a tasty, warming Sausage Cobbler using sausages from Oliver’s Butchers marinated in Brentwood Brewery’s Lumberjack beer. When available, it’s on the specials board, costing £10.75. Whilst The Hutton Junction hopes you’ll visit the pub to enjoy David’s special dish, they are kindly sharing the recipe which is available on the Brewery Blog (www.brentwoodbrewing.co.uk).

The Hutton Junction

Rayleigh Road, Hutton, CM13 1AB

01277 215 240

Pub opens:   noon – 11pm Mon – Thur, noon – 11.30pm Fri & Sat and noon – 10.30pm Sun.

Pub kitchen opens: noon – 9pm Mon – Sat and noon – 7pm Sun.

Oliver’s Butchers, 01277 224 533, 212 Rayleigh Road, Hutton www.oliversbutchers.co.uk

www.brentwoodbrewing.co.uk

words and photographs copyright 2016 Wendy Pike, www.newswoozle.co.uk