'I visited the cafe named the best in Essex and was seriously impressed by everything'

Inside Market West in Rochford
Inside Market West in Rochford -Credit:EssexLive

At this point in our Essex Eats journey, I feel like I'm running out of superlatives to describe all the different places I've been visiting. We've near enough exhausted the cafes and sandwich shops of my home city of Chelmsford, and I'm venturing further into the more remote areas of the county in search of some hidden gems of hospitality.

This review for our ongoing food series was inspired by the recent awards from women's lifestyle magazine Muddy Stilettos, who recently awarded their best cafe in Essex badge to Market West, located in Rochford, just north of Southend Airport. The cafe make all their coffee in house and are supplied sweet and savoury pastries from Wilma's Bakery.

The cafe has an unimposing, dark green exterior, and entering the premises they have gone for a stripped back, minimalist design for their seating and counter. White painted walls with exposed lighting, a coffee menu and prices arranged with wooden letters on slats behind the counter. A few paintings and cushions surround the small number of tables, with a bench and delightful picnic basket-style chairs underneath against the window, which is where I sat.

Read more: The gorgeous community coffee shop named best cafe in Essex

Read more: The Essex village full of chocolate box cottages that King Henry VIII gave to one of his wives

For coffee, I went for my usual order of a flat white, and opted for two bits of food - your classic cafe pastry of a bacon and cheese twist, plus a handmade, Milkybar cookie sandwich to satisfy my sweet tooth. Sitting on the bench in front of the window looking out at the centre of Rochford going by was pleasant enough, but when my coffee and food came, things just got better and better.

The bacon twist will likely contain nothing that your standard bakery would serve you, but the flavours on this pastry were stunning. A strong, salty piece of bacon balanced wonderfully with equally strong and perfectly melted cheese around pastry that's flaky and fresh. I was immediately taken by just how wonderful the flavours were after the first bite. It was perfectly made.

Market West cafe in Rochford
Market West cafe in Rochford -Credit:EssexLive

The name "Milkybar cookie sandwich" may make some instantly feel like it will be a sickly, sugery, sweetness overload in your mouth - but this was far from the case. The cookies were soft and crumbly and the vanilla/white chocolate filling was absolutely gorgeous; very creamy and thick but not overly sweet. That paired with the Milkybar kid chocolate piece on top was excellent - I could have eaten five of these if I had the chance.

My coffee was also beautifully made - with one of the sharpest frothy milk flowers on the top that I've seen handmade in ages. It was also the perfect blend of smooth and rich milkiness and sharper coffee taste. The food, like the cafe, is simplistic and minimalist in its presentation but is clearly made with an awful lot of love.

My flat white, bacon and cheese twist and Milkybar cookie sandwich from Market West
My flat white, bacon and cheese twist and Milkybar cookie sandwich from Market West -Credit:EssexLive

The cafe itself is very small, but having a browse of their social media, they host all sorts of events there every week. Creating so much from such a small space is very impressive, and many customers came through and were chatting with the staff like they were close friends during my brief stop. It's clear Market West has become a main stay for the town of Rochford, and it's not hard to see why.

This article is part of EssexLive's series Essex Eats where a member of our team reviews an independent food business in the county. We don't tell the business we're coming and we don't tell them who we are while we're there. Every meal for EssexEats is paid for by us and not gifted. Check back every Thursday and Saturday for our top pick that week of a great food spot in Essex.

What's your favourite place to eat in the county? Let us know below for a chance to have it featured on Essex Eats.