Contraband was once big business at this early 15th-century inn, understandably given its proximity to The Strood, which bridges the network of channels and creeks separating mainland Essex from Mersea Island. You can easily imagine the smugglers in the original-beamed bar with its leaded windows, but less so in the contemporary conservatory leading to the garden. A well-deserved reputation for good food begins with regularly changing menus offering dishes such as chicken and chorizo terrine; and beetroot-cured salmon as starters, and main courses of Thai-style vegetable linguine; Moroccan-style lamb tagine; and beer-battered fish and chips.
Closed: 25 December
Open all week
Open all day
Lunch opening: all week 12-2.30
Dinner opening: all week 6-9
Food and drink
Real ales: Adnams Southwold Bitter, Woodforde's Wherry, IPA, guest ales