The Lobster Smack – Dickens loved this pub so much he included it in ‘Great Expectations’

We visited the Lobster Smack on Canvey Island, Essex, a few days ago during our seal-spotting expedition (and paintballing session) and enjoyed the experience. Charles Dickens loved this old inn so much that he included it in ‘Great Expectations’. We were immediately greeted by the friendly waitress upon arrival and led to our table.

The menu is surprisingly long for a traditional country inn. We decided to go for the obligatory lobster and seafood cocktail in prosecco Marie Rose sauce, also known as cocktail sauce (£4.99), and their prawn and calamari duo with lemon mayonnaise (£4.49) for starters. As main, Ms B opted for the seafood pie (salmon, smoked haddock, king prawns and lobster in creamy leek sauce, topped with a cheesy puff pastry lid and served with buttery mashed potato and garden peas for £9.99) while I chose beef pie with redcurrant and red wine gravy served with mashed potato, seasonal vegetables and more gravy on the side (£10.99).

The starters arrived quickly. The seafood cocktail was a true delight with plenty of lobster bits and a tiny portion of dressed leafy salad. The crispy filo-coated prawns and the panko-bread crumbed calamari sticks were also delightful and went real well with the lemon mayonnaise.


As soon as we had finished our starters, the mains arrived. Both pies were delicious. Ms B loved the pastry and I was particularly keen of the braised beef. Compared with some other places we’ve been to, the pies were perhaps not the best ones we have ever had, but certainly had some good flavour.


Overall, we’d give this country pub a very solid 3.25 out of 5, 4.5 out of 5 if this were mainly about the overall experience rather than mainly about the food. We’ll be back when we’re in the area, which could be very soon, considering that we are planning on doing more seal-spotting in February and March.


Looking for other reviews of English countryside pubs and restaurants? Check out our posts of The Porch House and The Sheep on Sheep Street, Stow-on-the-Wold, The Fig, Chipping Campden, and The Pig in Brockenhurst.

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