I WAS choosing a restaurant to meet a friend, when I remembered the Kings Head, a Vintage Inn, in South Green, Billericay.

Halfway between us, I recalled it offered fairly-priced food and would be just the place to snatch a bite and a chat.

I was surprised how crowded it was foraMonday lunchtime. While not struggling to park, exactly, there were only a few spaces to be had.

We chose a table by the fire, which wasn’t in use, but must be lovely in the winter.

It didn’t take long for our very friendly waitress to bring amenu, but after that, everything sort-of went into treacle time.

The starters, of a delicious beer-battered mushroom with stilton mayonnaise and tasty, fresh, caesar salad turned up reasonably quickly, but we had been there nearly an hour before our main course arrived.

We enjoyed the fish cakes and salmon pasta. The creamy, smooth lemon and chilli pappardelle pasta had a lemon and chilli sauce and while I would have preferred the salmon steak to have been in one piece, rather than broken within the mix, its flavour was a good foil to the pasta.

The smoked haddock and wholegrain mustard fishcakes came with a white wine and prawn sauce, and baby potatoes, and disappeared enthusiastically.

As my friend was returning to work, the tardiness was beginning to feel like a problem and certainly spoiled our enjoyment, as we felt the need to gulp it down.

The desserts, which were pre-prepared and did not need to be created in the kitchen, also took an age to appear.

The cherry bakewell panna cotta was tasty, but unremarkable, while the peach creme brulee certainly had the edge on many I’ve eaten. Fans of the Great British Bake Off will be pleased to hear it was neither runny, not curdled.

Being self-employed, my friend was able to stretch their lunch break and I had the day off work, but there came a point when we just became too anxious to sit there any longer, so got up and asked for and paid the bill at the bar.

It was a shame. We really enjoyed our meal, we found the waitress extremely pleasant and friendly and the pub had a great atmosphere.

We did wonder if having just one waitress working in such a large venue was part of the problem, but the bottom line is we won’t go back, as it is impossible in this day and age of short lunch breaks and high-pressure jobs to eat there during the day.

We did notice the age of most of the other diners suggested theymay have been retired.

If you have time, it’s a lovely place to go. Sadly, I rarely do.


Battered mushrooms £2.50

Caesar salad £2.50

Salmon pasta £10.50

Fishcakes £7.99

Panna cotta £4.50

Creme brulee £4.99