Ooooh, this one is a bit of a find. Small pub in Kerridge which is just outside Bollington, in itself just outside Macclesfield. Half the pub manages to accommodate six tables set for eating with the other half seemingly devoted mainly to stand up drinking. On this lovely March day, hardier souls than us were eating outside.
And there’s a menu that surprisingly punches well above its weight. There’s a good range of lunchtime sandwiches but, also, a really good carte that belies the fact you are in a small dining pub.
There’s a pride in using local produce and there was none more so than in a sharing plate of “Flavours of the North West”. The Macclesfield Mezze if you will. From Cheshire, a cheese croquette, spiked with mustard, sat on some really fab homemade apple chutney. From north of the Mersey, chunks of black pudding battered and deep fried – meaty, salty, crispy, lovely; and a small pot of, erm ,potted shrimps, served with thick toast. From Cumbria, a peppery Cumberland sausage sat on a spoonful of mashed potato. Proper mashed potato, mind. None of your sloppy pomme puree. This was just potato mashed. Apparently spuds come from Aunty Denise’s farm at Peover – yep, they’re a tad keen on provenance. Oh, and there was a little air dried Cumbrian ham. This was, presumably, the excellent product made by Richard Woodall before he retired and sold his business (not sure who now owns it). Faultless – and a really good pub dish.
For mains, braised beef with a pea risotto. This was a very generous portion of good shin – very long cooked and then shredded. It topped an equally generous portion of risotto and, in great idea, was itself topped with a small handful of pea shoots. Truth be told, I didn’t expect this to work too well but was able to sneak a couple of mouthfuls from my partner’s plate to confirm that, not only did it work, it worked exceptionally well.
My own plate was Tatton Park venison, done three ways. Some perfectly rare loin. A rich livery faggot. And, the least successful, a little pie – good and enjoyable but needed a more reduced sauce and a slightly longer cooking for perfection. But it was still bloody good. There was a little cabbage, some more of the excellent mashed potato, and a few cubes of beetroot bringing a welcome earthiness to the plate. And a really good gravy.
Much too full for dessert, we waddled away to work it off with a walk along the nearby canal bank.