Baroosh (Chelmsford)

Baroosh coffeeSo, it’s Sunday, and we’re in Chelmsford, because we have cinema tickets to see the One Direction concert movie. Bear with me here, this isn’t as terrible a story as it sounds. We’ve already tried Acanteen and we want a little brunch variety, so when we walk past Baroosh on our way home, we go in and book a table for brunch. The restaurant is huge and mainly empty, and the bookings diary is clearly completely blank, but you never know what might happen in Essex at 11:30am on a Sunday.

Baroosh is basically a bar for over 21s that also does food. Some of that food is brunch. The menu is very standard but covers all your bases. I ordered a coffee and eggs benedict. So far, so standard.

The food was really quite nice. The hollandaise was a little sharp, but the eggs were runny and the portion sizes were generous. The coffee was great. Better than previous Essex brunch experiences.

We asked the waitress if we could have pudding, and she looked confused.

“You mean… dessert?”

We’re not sure whether she didn’t know what the word ‘pudding’ meant or was scornful of our two-course brunch, but either way, it was an awkward moment for all of us. However, there were desserts on the back of the brunch menu, and the waffles we ordered came with ice cream, chocolate sauce and salted caramel popcorn. So really, what is there to complain about?

But as usual with Essex, what is there to really love either? There isn’t much to set Baroosh apart from its competition, and even though the food was better, it lost serious atmosphere points next to its closest competitor Acanteen. It’s an East Anglian chain, and though I’ve gone back since for evening cocktails that were good value and great-tasting, I wouldn’t tell anyone to travel to visit it.

I don’t know, maybe London made my standards too high.

– Hattie

I mean, our blog is literally named after a One Direction song. Sometimes when posting we still sing “and we brunched all brunch to the best brunch ever”. I don’t think anyone should be surprised that we went to see the One Direction concert movie, and had a great time. I mean, look at them! Their songs are so catchy! Their faces are so cute! And watching them try to sound deep in an interview is always so funny. (Harry “I just think that if it wasn’t so far away, we’d ALL live in Australia” Styles.)

Anyway.

I really liked Baroosh. Apart from the weird dessert/pudding linguistic mix-up (is “pudding” too Northern for Essex? Is THAT what the problem was?) the service was good. Everyone was friendly, and when I went back for brunch over a month later (without Hattie – shock!) the waitress recognised me and was super welcoming.

I had the All Day Breakfast Butty (soda farl, smoked bacon, mushrooms and fried egg) and it was pretty great. In my notes from the day I have “the mushrooms were the best bit,” but no description as to why. I think I’m just very biased in favour of mushrooms.

Meanwhile the coffee was good, the pot of peppermint tea was lovely, and the waffles tasted almost as good as they looked. And did Hattie mention that they had popcorn on them?

Still, it’s true that a place which is trying to be a café, restaurant and bar all at once is never going to do any of those things perfectly. But the food was spot on, and we certainly haven’t found a better brunch in Chelmsford.

Luckily, we’re moving to London in January, so pretty soon we won’t have to.

– Amy

Egg on top of mushroom on top of bacon.

Egg on top of mushroom on top of bacon.

Saucy.

Saucy.

Have we MENTIONED the popcorn waffles?

Have we MENTIONED the popcorn waffles?

Super Technical Brunch Scoring System:

– Eatability

4/5 – Points knocked off for an imperfect hollandaise and waffles that were slightly too chewy, but very palateable.

4.5/5 – I loved everything about my breakfast butty, but the point about the waffles is definitely fair.

Menu Range

3.5/5 – All bases covered but nothing particularly interesting or inspiring, which is really what I’m looking for these days.

4/5 – Everything you might want, but nothing you DIDN’T KNOW you wanted… you know?

– Drinks

4.5/5 – A good range, though I wish there were smoothies. Coffee and cocktails both excellent.

4.5/5 – Also several great tea options.

– Sweets

4/5 – Full pudding menu available with brunch, but they all have a bit of a “microwaved from a packet” feel.

4/5 – Waffles waffles waffles.

– Atmosphere

2/5 – I wouldn’t say this place has an atmosphere, and it’s definitely not a ~brunchy~ one.

3/5 – It’s friendly, but is it a bar? Is it a café? Is it a restaurant? It’s all of the above, and therefore none.

– Value

4.5/5 – Nice food at lower than London prices.

4.5/5 – Bacon pancakes for £4.25.

– Service

4.5/5 – Very friendly.

4.5/5 – If only they hadn’t been so weird about puddings…

– Social Media

2.5/5 – They have a twitter account but it isn’t frequently used.

2/5 – I thought they’d fav’d me, but then it turns out they only fav’d four tweets ever. NONE OF WHICH ARE MINE.

STBSS: 60.5

Baroosh

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About hattiemily

London-based poet. Previously published on the underground, currently can't remember how to actually write.
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