It’s a while since we’ve been but it’s as good as before. One of those places that, as you walk through the door, there’s a welcome and you just feel that everything’s going to be OK. There’s no bells and whistles to the cooking here, so upcoming, that’s six plates of good food that doesn’t get in the way of good conversation.
Smoked ham hock terrine is a bistro staple that can be indifferent. Not here. There’s flavoursome meat, pickled shallots, a poky piccalilli with big chunks of cauliflower and a couple of thin slices of baguette. The other starter brought some very decent haddock croquettes – proper croquettes, the fish bound with a little béchamel before being breadcrumbed and fried. Slightly unusual accompaniments in celeriac remoulade and aioli. Both work.
For mains, braised Cheshire beef blade was very long cooked and very delicious. There’s wild mushrooms, pancetta, baby onions and glazed carrots – all of them making perfect sense on the plate. My partner had swapped out the truffle mash, in favour of dauphinoise and it was a good decision (particularly if you’re not keen on mash). Yes, you could say this a dish you could make at home but that’s not really something to be sniffy about. This was good food for a cold night. For me, fillet of venison was perfectly cooked to medium rare, although it was hardly a generous serving. There was the dauphinoise again, some shredded cavolo nero and a little port sauce. Another success, although they see you coming with the £22 price tag. .
We often pass on dessert but not on this occasion. There was an apple & berry crumble – the fruit nicely sharp and a good crumble topping. It’d have been better with custard but the vanilla ice cream was OK. Sticky toffee pudding is another regular on the menus of this level of restaurant. It’s never as good as the original at Sharrow Bay Hotel but this was none too shabby. Lightish, well rounded flavour and with a very rich and generous serving of toffee sauce. Another dollop of ice cream sat on top and, yes, it would have been better with cream.
All in all, a pleasant evening. Nice food, good service, reasonable pricing. We’ve recently culled a number of places from our “dinner list” - the Northern Quarter stays on.