I've eaten in there countless times, and each time the food has been great. The menu consists of all things Italian, but it's the pizza in the thin Rome style that's the main draw.
And some draw it is. Irma's is consistently packed. I drive past it often and it's always busy, and that's a great indicator of how good the place is.
In fact, I've eaten there so often, I've settled on my favourite menu selection and nowadays order the same pizza again and again.
"Salsicce" - which consists of the standard tomato base, Mozzarella, sliced Italian Luganega sausage, Red Peppers, Fennel Seeds and Basil. Gorgeous.
(On a related note, you can purchase Luganega Sausage from Gazzano and Sons in the Farringdon Road, London.) but I digress....
For dessert, again - I always opt for the same....homemade ice-cream in a shot glass, Amaretto flavour at the almost obscenely cheap price of £1.50.....yes that's right £1.50!!
When was the last time you ordered anything in a restaurant for that price?!!!
It's lovely stuff. I can also heartily recommend the raspberry and white chocolate ice-cream.
So that's Irma's, consistently great Italian food, nice buzzing atmosphere and really reasonable prices.
But there's more.....
If you fancy moving on for perhaps a bit of drinking after your meal - exit Irma's - turn left in the corridor away from the main entrance- and you'll come to an unmarked door with a voice entry system, buzz and politely ask to be allowed entry and unless it's packed out, your in a massive group of rowdy blokes, or you just look like trouble, you'll be given access to the BlackCat Bar.
Now this is a real eye opener, I haven't seen the like outside London.
It's a Milk and Honey'esque private drinking - cocktail lounge, it doesn't advertise and there are strict rules regarding behaviour.....all of which basically boil down to - 'have a really good time, but don't get rowdy or act like a twat.
There are two bars, and the punters are seated in leather booths. There's a private area out the back which can be reserved for larger groups and it's furnished with it's own small bar, and poker tables if your group is in the mood for gambling.
Everyone drinks cocktails, and Simon and his staff know their stuff. Order anything you like, ignore the drinks menu entirely , any cocktail you can think of and they'll make it. To be able to order 'off menu' is more unusual than you think, I'm partial to a Gin Ricky or a Vespa Martini (If I'm feeling particularly alcoholic) and, I've ordered....... and then been asked to explain how to make these drinks by barmen in countless cocktail bars. (Suprisingly, including the excellent Hawksmoor bar, in the case of a Gin Ricky!)
The great atmosphere, the lack of windows, the low lighting the excellent drinks - it's easy to imagine your in some cool hidden bar located in London or Manhattan - but amazingly it's Essex!
So next time your in Leigh-on-sea for the evening, and feel a bit adventurous, book a table at Irma's and book a booth for afterwards in Blackcat - and get rotten drunk......but in a friendly polite way.
Irma's9 Elm Rd,