Yes, I remember now.
There’s a number of restaurants in Southend-on-Sea that I could quite happily consistently eat at. There’s a fair few chain places, like Bella Italia, Pieminister, Ask, Pizza Express, Nandos, and so on and so forth. Then there’s a small group that share a few crucial characteristics: close to the centre of town; good quality; reasonably varied menu; willing to accept large group bookings. Working and staying away from home all week, I end up having dinner with colleagues at these restaurants quite often. Il Pescatore, Mangetout (occasionally), Pipe of Port, San Fairie Ann…
Google can only think to describe San Fairie Ann as an “unusual bar/eatery offering inventive European cuisine”. I suppose that’s not the worst description. Anyway, it was the location of my (first) work Christmas party in 2019.
Would you like a brief transparent look at my writing process? When I originally drafted this process I was in a bad way. Also I got far too drunk at this party, and then caught tonsillitis, which then of course no-one believed because I had been very drunk so was presumed to just be hungover, even though I had to take two days off work, so I have a weird mix of some vaguely-fond and mostly not-very-fond memories of this night. Hence I was grumpy when I came to try to write about this brownie (nearly three months after the fact) and spewed out paragraph upon paragraph of heartfelt semi-breakdown about everything. It was actually very therapeutic. It was also entirely not-appropriate for a general audience, so I have removed it.
Here’s the salient facts about this brownie: it was chocolate; it came with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce, and some lumps inside it that I think were some sort of nut but no-one I spoke to at the party who’d had the brownie could really identify them; I had a nice dinner and drank too much afterwards. I made some notes about a brownie which I have now basically forgotten and I’m gonna try to hash out a post about this brownie anyway.
Taste: I look at the number 7 that I wrote in my phone notes app and I already know how this tasted. It was good. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t great. It was a little bit better than a warm cake. It wouldn’t lead me to rave about its quality at any later point. I enjoyed it. 7/10
Texture: The number tells a slightly different story here, of sauce and ice-cream playing critical components while I appreciated the addition of ‘nuts’ of some description but was unable to work out what those nuts were. I’m pretty sure I even asked a waiter and didn’t get a straight answer. 7/10
Presentation: The interior decor of San Fairie Ann is pretty nice. The plate was fancy. I liked (like?) how the brownie is served: it looks most pleasing with ice-cream and sauce. 4/5
Value: I’ve written ‘??’. Helpful, past Jacob. I think this is an instruction to go Google the price of the brownie on the San Fairie Ann menu, because I wasn’t personally paying for it (work party, innit) so have no idea how much it costs generally.
Okay so it isn’t anywhere on their menus. Not even their Christmas 2019 menu. Harumph. I’m going to go ahead and treat it like it cost £7, because that’s the modal price of their other desserts. £7 is quite a lot! It wasn’t that good by a long way! That’s-a not great value. (And if they don’t like that then they should put it on a menu, and put a price by it, dammit!) 3/10
Fudge Factor: I drank too much to confidently fudge with these scores (any further, anyway). 0/5
Total Be Told: 21
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
My big gripe was the price, which may not even be accurate. I enjoyed it for what it was, and for sure I reckon it’s a similar price to the other desserts at San Fairie Ann, so if you’re already locked in for dessert when eating there you may as well go for the brownie.
Sometimes a brownie is just a brownie.