Rob took over the restaurant on 1st May 2015 knowing he had a huge task in front of him, but unphased, he remained confident this little restaurant had potential to be something very special.
Prior to Rob taking over, the restaurant had a long list of trading names and owners that stood before him. Originally opened as ‘34’ in 1982, the restaurant went on to become ‘Du Mauriers’ and later, ‘Dominques’. Each restaurant/wine bar successful in its own right. In 2006 Dominique sold the restaurant and from this point the restaurant never really took off. Many new owners came, put their own unique stamp on the restaurant, but would later move on. Unfortunately, with the constant change came inconsistency and the strong reputation which had been built started to fade.
When Rob took over, the restaurant was named ‘Chop Bistro’, a name that Rob was not keen on. After learning the definition of a ‘Chophouse’ Rob decided to keep a small amount of continuity by keeping ‘chop’ within the title. The Chophouse Braintree was born and a Chophouse ethos would be embedded and help style the menu.
Once Rob took the reigns it was all hands-on-deck. There was no focus on marketing as quite simply Rob felt the restaurant was not ready. Focus was put on quality, starting with the meat and the wine. Rob scoured the Essex countryside searching for the best local producers, suppliers and farmers. Fortunately, there is a wealth of quality in East Anglia which meant once Rob had finished establishing the restaurants network of local suppliers, the restaurant was able to boast that around 90% of what is served comes from within 30 miles from where the restaurant sits – something that Rob continues to proud of to this day.
Once the quality box was ticked, it was on to consistency and quality of service. Robust processes were implemented and there was an overriding emphasis on the customer and customer service. Rob believes that everything must be centred around the customer and their experience. This focus remains as important now as it was back then.
Beyond the produce, the food, the drink and the customer, came the restaurant itself. The kitchen was fully refurbished and over the weeks, months and initial years, improvements could be seen on an almost daily basis. The result: a quirky, comfy, homely, yet contemporary restaurant for customers to dine in.
In 2017 the restaurant started to make a name for itself, this resulted in talented front of house and kitchen staff starting to approach the restaurant as opposed to the initial battle of finding good reliable staff. This made life easier and saw the quality of the dishes created and service elevate. Consistency embedded and it was at this point Rob would say that it felt as though the restaurant had begun to create new foundations.
In 2018 the restaurant started to get recognition further afield and in March 2018 was inspected by the AA and received an AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence. Lifted by this recognition a decision was made to enter the restaurant into the ‘Essex Food and Drink Awards’ where we saw the restaurant become finalists for ‘Chef of the Year’ and ‘customer service’. In 2019 the restaurant retained its AA Rosette, and went on to receive a ‘hall of fame award’ from TripAdvisor for consistently receiving ‘Excellent’ reviews over a five-year period and most recently the restaurant was awarded OpenTable’s ‘Diners Choice Award 2019’.
But the story doesn’t end, Rob continues to improve, reviewing suppliers, looking at service and training is something that is looked at nearly every day. Rob is always looking for inspiration and continues to bring in new ideas all with the ultimate aim to make every customers experience an excellent one.
Thank you for reading.
We are a small independent restaurant with a strong desire to serve the people of Braintree and beyond well.. We have been awarded an AA Rosette for ’culinary excellence’ for the past three years. we have been finalists for two categories at the ‘Essex Food and Drinks Awards’. This year we are focused on becoming ‘Essex restaurant of the year’, receiving two AA Rosettes & gaining recognition from Michelin.
We are a strong believer in supporting local business, which is why around 80% of everything we serve is sourced from farms, producers or suppliers based within just 30 miles from where you stand.
We are proud to say that by supporting us, you are in turn support local business and good people!
We make pretty much everything from scratch. Our head chef, Richard, is amongst the most talented chefs working in Essex at the moment. Richards CV is incredibly impressive and as a chef could comfortably work in any top restaurant in the country, but instead he chooses to work here and cook for you.
Richard and his team cook from the heart. Focus is not on complex, intricate or even scientific food, but is instead on rich, tasty food, full of flavour.
The moment you step through that door to your left, we want you to feel part of something special. We want you to experience and embrace what we are. We want you to be surprised at the riches this little unassuming restaurant, situated next to a busy Tesco car park in Braintree can bring you.
Life is about memories; we want to be part of your best ones.
All of our dishes are created in-house, allowing us to cater to the dietary requirements of each and every diner. Impeccably cooked and seasoned, we pull out all the stops to create a classic dining experience for every visitor. We aim to break down the barriers that often exist between chef and customer, and our chefs pride themselves on doing whatever they can to ensure your needs are being met.
We value seasonality and adapt our menu every 6 – 8 weeks. This reflects our passion for locally produced ingredients and helps us to continually challenge our chefs and excite our diners. 100% of our meat is sourced within a 30-mile radius, and we regularly visit our suppliers to ensure both quality and ethics are maintained. In short, we care about what we serve, and where it has come from. We believe this reflects in the quality and seasonality of our menus.
Crucially, we believe that great food deserves outstanding wine. Our exclusive wine list includes unusual grape varieties and blends from small, dedicated producers. This perfectly complements our house list, which alone has over 50 bottles to choose from. Exceptional food and extraordinary wine; the perfect combination.
Chophouses were exclusive places where businessmen conducted their affairs, with hearty platefuls of food, usually grilled, washed down with fine wines or well-kept local beers.
This traditional style of cooking was maintained in chophouses until the late 19th century. At this point, with the world growing smaller, influences from overseas began to bring exciting new styles of cooking and cuisine to British shores. Restaurants evolved and chophouses lost their popularity…
It isn’t until the 1800’s that our story truly begins. Originally operated as a home for ‘wayward women’, and later as a haberdashery, our building first served as an eating establishment in 1982. In the years that followed, she played host to many owners, each with their own unique vision.
She became The Chophouse Braintree in 2015. By embracing the peculiarity and beauty of the building, as well as taking advantage of the exceptional local produce on offer, we have been able to take the essence of the chophouse and give it new life.
We believe in delivering great food, exceptional wines, and warm, attentive customer service. Our building, with all she has seen and experienced, is the perfect setting in which this can be achieved. By creating a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere in which to dine, our aim is to combine traditional chophouse values with contemporary, flavoursome foods, to create more than just a meal.
The Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence
We have been awarded a certificate of excellence from AA
‘Essex Food & Drink Award’
Finalist for ‘Customer Service’
& ‘Chef of the Year’
A certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor,
which we have now won for the past 3 consecutive years
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About The Chophouse
Our fresh, vibrant ingredients are sourced within a 30-mile radius, with dishes lovingly prepared by our talented and passionate team. Quirky, eccentric, extraordinary; we pride ourselves on the distinctive features of our restaurant and the inviting environment they create.
34 New St, Braintree CM7 1ES
Tel: +44 (0) 01376 345615
*Kitchen Times Differ