The Old Hall was, indeed, the home of the Lord of the Manor of Sandbach and the building dates to 1656. An extension was built in the 18th century to house a pub, so as the website states, hospitality had been dispensed here for some 300 years. It is a Grade 1 “listed” building but, before its recent restoration, it had been derelict and in a very sorry state. The obviously very sensitive refurbishment had taken two years and it will probably not come as a surprise to many north west and north wales foodies to know that the Old Hall had been bought by Brunning and Price.
Which means that the food is going to be pretty good as well.
For a starter, lamb’s kidneys came on toasted brioche. Kidneys still just pink; good bread and a really rich Madeira sauce drizzled over and around. On the other plate, the more ubiquitous ham hock terrine was a pleasant enough slice of piggy and came with zingy mustardy piccalilli vegetables and a couple of slices of spelt bread. So far, so good.
From the “light bites” section of the menu, a rump steak sandwich came on ciabatta, accompanied by tomato chutney and a few chips. Lamb pie was a thing of joy. An excellent example of “proper” pub food – crisp pastry, generously filled with lamb and veg. And, unlike the industrial strength gravy you often come across, this was just rich and tasty. There was also “proper” unsloppy mashed potato and very thinly sliced cabbage.
We went away very happy bunnies. Not least as the manager told us that their latest opening, only yesterday, is just down the road in Manchester’s Castlefield.