Open since 2016, Aspera has quickly made a name for itself on Benfleet’s dining scene, becoming a popular spot for dinner and cocktails.
The restaurant is inspired by the Mediterranean, although its interiors are distinctly more stylish Essex restaurant than casual beachside spot on the Med. The dining room here features chic black shelving units stocked with bottles of wine, as well as cosy curved banquettes and tub chairs in shades of ocean blue and olive green.
When it comes to the menu at Aspera, expect an extensive selection of both classic and contemporary Mediterranean dishes. To start things off, you can order the likes of grilled halloumi or calamari served with a homemade tartar sauce. For your main course, you can revel in a feast of meats from Aspera’s grill – tuck into dishes such as chicken shish, marinated chicken wings or lamb chops, all served with salad.
There is plenty here for vegetarians too though, who can choose dishes including vegetable mousakka or Portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese and a medley of veg. If you’re pescatarian (or just a big seafood fan), you can instead tuck into the likes of whole sea bass or fillet of salmon cooked in butter and fresh lemon juice.
The Mediterranean vibe of Aspera doesn’t stop at dessert either, when you will find traditional sweet treats from the region, such as baklava and tiramisu. The restaurant even offers a few novel twists on traditionally British puddings, including orange crème brulee or apple and quince crumble.
If you prefer liquid desserts, you will be glad to know that Aspera’s bar comes equipped with a healthy menu of cocktails, many of which make for perfect Instagram fodder. You can find all of the modern classics here, such as Cosmopolitans, Pina Coladas and Mojitos, while there are alcohol-free alternatives too for any diners staying away from the booze.