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“Meal before cinema or theatre”

Samphire Restaurant
Ranked #167 of 373 Restaurants in Chelmsford
Price range: $27 - $40
Cuisines: British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Reservations
Description: Chelmsford’s County Hotel offers a break from the usual bland hotel dining with its own welcoming restaurant. The restaurant’s bright, modern feel complements the rest of the venue’s contemporary yet classic styling with light, polished wood floors, high backed wicker seats and painted wood panelling. With its bustling and lively atmosphere, it is the ideal location for business meetings, romantic dinners and family. On menu you’ll find a raft of delicious European inspired dishes with a classic and sophisticated edge – steaks, roasted venison, fillet of sea bass and desserts that demand you devour.
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Meal before cinema or theatre”
Reviewed January 18, 2013

My friend and I have eaten here twice in the past year before going to a film at the Cramphorn. Service is friendly and speedy. Prices are reasonable. Steaks are the best we've tasted in a long while. Ambiance is pleasant although it would be nicer to have more people dining. However we have gone in at about 6.30 in the evening so would not expect it to be more crowded. We will definitely be eating there more often.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Linda P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 126 helpful votes
“Can't fault it. All round excellent value for money”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

We have eaten at this restaurant within the County Hotel on 3 occasions during the past 4 months and have enjoyed every experience. I was having difficulty finding somewhere different to the usual chains to eat in Chelmsford that would serve tasty food quickly. Having travelled from Ipswich, mid week to go to the Civic Theatre in Chelmsford we have just 90 minutes from the time of arrival to the start of the performance which always commences at 7.45. The staff have never let us down. We can usually eat 3 courses and have time for coffee. The food is always excellently presented, is hot and tasty and the staff are attentive without being intrusive. The food is also very good value for money.

Whilst it is not a Michelin star restaurant, I am unable to fault this place for its value for money, service and quality of food and so am I awarding it 5 stars

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Sue C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Fantastic food, service and setting!!”
Reviewed September 26, 2012 via mobile

Celebrated my 40th here with family and friends on a Sunday lunchtime as we had lots of young children in the party. The staff at the County Kitchen, especially the head guy, couldn't do enough for us and my day was very special indeed as a result.
I must be honest I didn't think that this place would be that great but it was. The children were so well catered for with goody bags etc and the service was unfalteringly attentive.
The carvery was superb, delicious beef, huge Yorkshire puds and delicious desserts which I was too full to savour all of ( I really wanted to!!)

Will definitely be going back, nice to have somewhere like this in Chelmsford, a hidden gem!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank parconntravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grenoble, France
Level 6 Contributor
206 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good”
Reviewed May 25, 2012

Hotel restaurant are usually dispapointing, not that one, menu is good and food quality and service are too, nothing outstanding but if you are tired it is just fine to seat in the restaurant and you will get served quickly and some time with a smile.

Visited April 2012
Thank Djaypee38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
137 reviews
79 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
“Chelmsford's best kept secret...”
Reviewed April 22, 2012

How can there only be two reviews on what is probably the best restaurant in this part of Essex....

Two questions...why is this perfect restaurant not busier and why haven’t they got a Michelin star?

Fantastic ambience, good well thought out menu with an English take on international cuisine.

We were in the bar initially, having a drink before dinner....it was incredibly busy, with some function going on, but the barperson was professionalism itself; entirely on her own she was efficient and worked way through line of customers effortlessly; it did not feel like a queue, although of course it was.

No Galliano behind the bar, which was a little disappointing, but then to be fair, not many paces do stock it :(

I have to confess here to two things; one I have been coming here on and off for six years, but have never written a review, and secondly I come from a background of having trained classically to be a Chef and spent ten years in the industry, so my expectations tend to be on the high side. This is a restaurant that I personally feel continues to uphold a really high standard, and should be looking to gain its first Michelin star....my review will reflect that expectation.

The meet and greet at the entrance is warm and cordial, we are seated quickly and provided with menus and enquiries as to drinks...

Fresh bread was brought out, still warm accompanied with virgin olive oil and unsalted butter, the walnut bread was quite delicious, slightly nutty and gorgeous on the palate.

For starters my partner had smoked salmon, purple sprouting broccoli and hollandaise...delectable, each on its own was perfect, al dente sprouting broccoli, velvety smooth salmon subtly smoked and a creamy hollandaise that complimented both. The lemon wedge garnish detracted from this vision of perfection, in that it had a nasty black spot on it... picky? Yes...but this is a restaurant I have nothing but high expectations for.

I had the duck rillette with piccalilli—intense flavour, quite superb, accompanied with a small garnish of mixed baby leaves, each one perfection in itself...this was served with piccalilli....now listen chaps, this is piccalilli not piccachilli...way way way too much in there...my gran made the worlds best piccalili, crunchy, zingy with a slight (emphasis on the slight) hint of spice. Enough said.

We both opted for the fillet steak (she medium rare, me rare) ....


Could have eaten it with a spoon, it was dissolve in your mouth good. Both steaks cooked exactly as ordered.

Served with Potato Rosti, Curly kale, butternut squash puree and red wine jus.

The rosti was crisp on the outside , tender and flavoursome on the inside. Curly Kale tasted just like it looked, green and crunchy, delicious eye appeal followed through with succulent fresh flavour.

Alas the butternut puree was outclassed by the rest of the course, unfortunately this poor fella was overly wet and lacking in any real depth of taste, this is an unfortunate trait of squashes and you have to be a real lover of the cucurbita to get anything decent out of them, they need to be nurtured and loved.....but all is forgiven, because pulling this dish together was a red wine jus that tasted like the first meal you had after going back home to mums...

It had the rich umami streak going through it that you would kill for, succulent and with a depth that cried out to your taste buds. Man, this was absolute Ambrosia (although being liquid I spose it should be nectar...hmmm ambrecta?).

Truly, every mouthful was a symphony of flavours.

If you LOVE not good food but excellent food and a level and quality of service you just hardly see anymore, then this is the place for you. £22:95 for two courses is an extraordinarily good value.

I recommend this restaurant to all of my friends, and they know what a fussy bugger I am! I have no idea why it persist in being so quiet...I know one thing...next time I go back the first thing I am doing is buying the Chef a beer!

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Blarys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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