In the seaside town of Southend lies Bobby Jo’s, a 1950’s retro American diner with neon signs and pastel coloured decor. We made the trip to sample their vegan menu, packed full of vegan burgers, dairy-free milkshakes, vegan desserts and of course vegan cupcakes.
Bobby Jo’s Diner
Location: 11-12 Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2ER
Price range: £-££
Rating: Food 7/10 | Service 10/10
Aside from being excited to sample the food menu, I was eager to tuck into a dairy-free milkshake. The menu offered a choice of flavours; Strawberry, Raspberry, Vanilla, Banana or Chocolate and Oreo too if you ask. Feeling indulgent, I chose the Oreo dairy-free milkshake and it was delicious. The Oreo pieces were blended perfectly, leaving minimal lumps of biscuit on your tongue or in your teeth. The flavour resembled that of vanilla Swedish Glace ice cream, an ingredient they may well have added. It is safe to say the milkshake was consumed before our food arrived and although steep in price, was the perfect amount to drink.
The Vegan Menu
Southend may not look like a vegan friendly town with their traditional restaurants serving fresh fish and chips, pie and mash and fast food however Veganism is on the rise and Southend is jumping on the bandwagon. I was throughly impressed by the whopping 13 vegan options on the diner’s menu from kid’s options, meat-free burgers to vegan pasta and fajitas. The fast food options were all served with chips and for an extra £1 they could be upgraded to sweet potato fries as well as for £1.95 you could add vegan coleslaw.
As a side, we couldn’t resist trying the Frickles; fried pickles. As a lover of pickles, these sure were a party for the tastebuds! Despite being very oily and deep fried, they were rather flavoursome. It was a sweet and sour combination from both the gherkin and the sweet chilli dip, moist on the centre and crisp on the outer. We couldn’t finish the bowl as they were a little too fried however well worth a try!
Vegan ‘Chicken’ Style Burger & Fries
The Vegan ‘Chicken’ Style burger sure filled the void of craving cheap tasting fast food. That may sound negative but it sure is a compliment! It took me back to eating cheap crispy chicken burgers after a night out on the town, never too sure if what you were eating was real meat or not. Thankfully, those meat eating days are long gone and this substitute can fill that void nicely. The bun unfortunately was a little dry however with lashings of vegan mayo (Granovita Mayola) and fresh iceburg lettuce, it complimented the burger nicely. Although the chips were crispy and fluffy on the inside, I wish I had upgraded to sweet potato fries as they looked even more tasty. Nonetheless, it satisfied my vegan junk food cravings and something I would happily eat again.
The food may not have been 10/10 but the service sure was. The waitresses were nothing but friendly, knowledgable about the vegan options and consistently checked in on us to see how our meal was. I was nearly won over to take home some vegan cupcakes but somehow resisted!
I would indefinitely come back to sample the vegan cheese burger, vanilla dairy-free shake and take home a cupcake or two!
You can find Bobby Jo’s Diner here