Having lived in Hornchurch for all my life (a whole 30 years!) I’ve seen Hornchurch change over the years, particularly the town centre itself. I’ve worked in its main supermarket Sainsbury’s as a checkout girl to fund my studies during college and Uni, I’ve been to school in its surrounding areas – Mitchells Junior & Infants, Emerson Park and Havering Sixth Form College, and I’ve shopped there throughout the years.

The main thing I love about it though? The many restaurants it has on offer. If you’re feeling hungry – you can be sure Hornchurch has something you’ll like. Whether it’s fast food, Italian, Indian, Turkish, Chinese, Thai, pub grub, chain or independent – Hornchurch has it all.

I’ve been to a mix of restaurants in Hornchurch town centre, including the following:
Osteria Due Fratelli
Thai River
The Village
Simply Blues II
The Cranleigh
Peking Garden

Obviously everyone has different opinions, but here are my Top 5 places to eat in Hornchurch, all picked for very different reasons…

Osteria Due Fratelli 
This pleasant Italian restaurant is a refreshing change from the vast array of Italian chain eateries every town now has on offer. Friendly waiting staff and a buzzing atmosphere provide ideal surroundings as you sit in this rustic Italian restaurant and sample their mouth-watering menu. Some of my favourites here have been saltimbocca, squid ink past and Carpaccio. I also love when they bring your receipt out in a miniature treasure chest!

I absolutely adore Greek and Turkish food and this Turkish restaurant doesn’t disappoint. This seems quite quiet and perhaps many people aren’t aware of how good the food is. The freshly baked bread you receive on ordering is so tasty and always nice and warm, there is a huge selection of various Turkish dishes you can try and I always find it hard to know what to order. I’ll be honest the service isn’t wonderful – the staff are super friendly and helpful, just a tad forgetful at times on orders. I love it in here when they have the Turkish music playing in the background too – reminds me of past holidays.

Yes – this is a chain restaurant I know! However, this restaurant is a regular favourite of mine – whether I’m meeting up with my Auntie for lunch and a good gossip, eating out with the girls before a night out or grabbing a bite to eat with my boyfriend. Reasonably priced, the service in here is always super friendly and efficient I find. I love how although it’s a chain the restaurant does a huge selection of dishes and specials and not just your traditional pizza and pastas alone. And if you manage to pick up an online voucher – which seem to be regular occurrences – even better! I love their sharing platter starter, penne al pollo della casa, seafood ravioli, spicy meat rigatoni and Mediterranean casserole.

Thai River
Although I’ve not been here that many times, I really like this restaurant, as it feels so authentic. I love how the restaurant itself is quite small and feel friendly; the traditional dress the waitresses wear and the decoration of the restaurant itself. And after having been to Thailand, I can say the food is like ‘real Thai’ food. Gorgeous dishes – such as the seafood clay pot – and plenty to choose from. Be warned quite a few come with a kick!

The Village
Another hit for me – whether with friends for a ‘couple’ meal, before a girl’s night out or having lunch in the sun on the outside terrace. A mix of dishes on offer, I love their baked camembert with onion marmalade, the duck with noodles and if you like mussels they do a huge bowlful! This restaurant feels special without being pretentious. The inside of the restaurant is nice and still welcoming, but I think this place is at its best in the Summer when you can sit on the terrace with a glass of cold wine and watch the world go by!

By Melanie Shaw, owner of and blogger on themelican.blogspot.co.uk and Tweeter on http://twitter.com/MelShaw82

Photo by jenny downing

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