A Birthday at Alec's

Last week it was my lovely dad's birthday and we found ourselves dressed up and bound for Essex for the evening. The evening was bright and I thought I'd take advantage of an outfit I haven't worn in a while. 

This absolutely gorgeous ensemble was bought last Christmas while I was in Dubai and I wore it on New Year's Eve and remains to this day one of my favourite outfits. I think it's mainly because I don't own a lot of dressy short/top combinations, but I think this is as striking as any dress.

The shorts are a super soft satin material which can be worn in either Summer or Winter because as you can see I just stuck a pair of tights on underneath. 

But the top is my favourite bit. All lace with a corseted front, a high collar and of course, backless. I love backless things. 

Both the shorts and the top are from Bebe, an American company where the majority of my favourite dresses are from (including my prom dress), but they do have international stores. Sadly not one in the UK. Because I bought them last year they are now no longer in stock, but seriously, check out their website because their clothes are something else. 

Earrings - Accessorize || Hairclips - Primark || Shoes - Miss Selfridge (No longer available) || Faux Fur Coat - Mela Loves London (at New Look) 

We hopped in the car and headed off to Brentwood, Essex. My dad had been recommended Alec's by a friend and my mum was a bit sceptical, considering she hadn't heard of the place before and it's literally smack bang in the middle of nowhere. 

We entered what looked like a house from the outside, but the inside was a whole different world. Trendy and modern with the bar lined with rows of glittering polished glasses. 

The glass doors which lined the back wall overlooked onto a lush green lawn. If it had only been warmer it would have been beautiful to sit out on the decking. 

We were presented with the menu which was positively huge! I'm all for variety but the extensive selection made it extremely hard to pick what I wanted. Everything sounded extremely scrummy.  

After doing my usual, "I can't decide so please ask everyone else first" to the poor waiter, I finally made a spontaneous decision. Only my dad and my boyfriend were to have starters, which came out speedily from the kitchen.

Carpaccio of Scotch beef fillet, roquette, parmesan, soy and Japanese horseradish.

I took the plunge and had a mouthful of the raw beef, which was actually pretty amazing.

My dad had white crab ravioli with asparagus, tomato, olive oil and lemon dressing. 

Both received great feedback so I was pumped for the mains to come out. 

Both my parents had the grilled monkfish and king scallops with Atlantic prawns and lemon butter sauce. 

Beautifully presented, but the monkfish was a little overdone. However, as soon as my dad mentioned this politely to the waiter it was removed from the bill. Couldn't ask for more than that really. 

The ultimate surf and turf belonged to my boyfriend. Fillet of beef, jumbo tiger prawn and bearnaise sauce. I managed to snag a mouthful and it was one of the best steaks I've ever tried. 

My quick decision led to me ordering the roast fillet of turbot on samphire with hollandaise sauce. I think mine was the best out of everyone's. The fish was rich, fresh and perfectly cooked. 

We also ordered half of the side orders on the menu, because nothing is served with anything other than what it states. We had new potatoes, fine beans and creamed savoy cabbage. 

But the cream of the crop with the hand cut chips. If you order anything on the menu order these. Similar to chip shop chips in style, they are the finest chips in all the land. Trust me, I'm a chip expert. 

We had a quick pit stop for cocktails. 

A fabulously perfect Pina Colada (my favourite cocktail dontcha know). Actually my mum's, but I'm the only person I know who loves glacĂ© cherries, so I had them, as well as a good few mouthfuls. 

My boyfriend had a Margarita which I can tell you nothing about because I would never drink it. I thought he was ordering a pizza for a little while. But he said it was lovely. 

After a short break to settle our stomachs, we moved onto desserts, which I was extremely excited for.

I can tell you now there wasn't a single dessert that wasn't gorgeous. I ended up stealing a bit of everyone's. 

A beautiful strip of perfect lemon meringue tart. Slightly sour lemon with a crunchy base, sweetened by the marshmallow meringue on top. 

Plum tart tatin with vanilla ice cream and smooth butterscotch sauce. Cooked from fresh so it takes a little longer, but it's worth the wait. 

And my first choice, steamed jam pudding with custard. You can't go wrong with a classic British pud, that's all I can say. Very tempted to replicate this at home because it was that good.

Full to the brim we set off for home, back over the QE2 (bonus points if you know what I'm talking about) to roll into bed. 

I cannot recommend this place enough if you are looking for a special occasion dinner. The food is outstanding as is the service. I'll warn you now it's not cheap though, with starters ranging from £10-£15 and mains ranging from £20-£30. The price is a testament to the food, though, and I do believe it is worth every penny. Their lunch menu, is a lot more affordable, however, so I would recommend lunch if you are only looking for a quick bite to eat. 

It's one of those places we never would have found without the recommendation so I'm sincerely glad we were told about it. It truly was a wonderful evening for my extremely wonderful dad. Happy Birthday!