When Nathan Clark decided to call time on his six-year spell as joint tenant of the Pointer Inn at Newchurch, he seriously considered emigrating to New Zealand.
Thankfully for the customers he had served so well in his previous venture he eventually decided to move only to Godshill. Partners Nathan and his father Paul – with a touch of floral expertise from mother Chris – have re-opened The Essex, with what can only be described as a few interesting additions.
Already word has got around. As a result many of the diners who enjoyed the gourmet delights served up at Newchurch, which earned The Pointer Inn the coveted ‘Island Life’ Food Pub of the Year two years running, are heading the few miles to Godshill.
It’s a new challenge for owners Nathan and his father Paul, and one they are relishing. “I really did think of going to New Zealand to live, because that is where my wife Brenda comes from. I would probably have looked at a similar project in New Zealand, but then The Essex became available so we embarked on this venture,” Nathan explained.
“We felt it was an opportunity that was too good to miss.”
So after three weeks of hectic refurbishment and redecoration, carried out by Greenbank Developments, The Essex was back in business after an 18-month spell under a previous name that is strictly banned from use within the Clarks’ earshot.
As you would expect there is the trademark ‘quantity and quality’ of the food on offer at The Essex. But it’s not just food that is being served up in the Godshill free house. Step inside and the first thing you discover is a bar – real ales and all, from the local Yates Brewery. There is also a good variety of draught and bottled lagers.
If the lunchtime tippler fancies a bite to eat, then there is inevitably an extensive lunchtime menu – or a quirky alternative of afternoon tea, with scones, jam and cream, available between midday and 5pm.
Then in the evening from 6pm until 9pm the restaurant re-opens with 40 covers, and on warm evenings a further 20 seats in the garden. That is when customers can marvel at Chris’ handy work, including hanging baskets that won her awards at The Pointer Inn.
Many culinary favourites such as lamb shoulder and steak and kidney pies are on the menu along with several newcomers like crab dumplings. And as customers would expect all the food is homemade, using Island produce as much as possible. In fact, no frozen food whatsoever – apart from the chips – which is not at all surprising after the reputation Nathan and Paul’s food, along with Chris’ flowers, earned at their previous pub.
If you were a regular at The Pointer Inn then you will be at home in The Essex as Paul has assured us that the food will not be changing, simply tweaked in places. Also their popular Sunday roast is still firmly on the menu. Children are not forgotten in The Essex as Paul will be doing half portions on certain dishes.
Island Life actually ate there on the day that we wrote this article and were happy to report it’s still the same high quality food and service as we have come to expect over the years from Paul & Nathan. The Essex, High Street, Godshill. Tel: 01983 840909.