Tuesday 7 May 2013

The Bells of Peover, Cheshire

The Bells of Peover
Does anyone else get an overwhelming urge to go on an adventure the minute we get one ray of sunshine? Me too. I never know where to go, and generally have zero inspiration. I'm going to start making a list so I have an arsenal of fun days out - I suggest you add this to yours.

Ages ago our friends Wayne and Vicki had been to the Bells of Peover in Cheshire, and had loved it so much they planned an imminent return trip. These are people of good taste so we knew we would love it too. So as I sat there thinking of places to go, this little nugget of a memory popped back into my head. I thought our chances of securing a table would be somewhere between slim and none, but to my utter amazement, they managed to squeeze us in! 

The drive down to Peover was unreal. The sun was shining, the grass was green and I even saw two hares in a field. The small neighbouring town of Tabley looks like something out of Midsomer Murders and has the cutest train station I have ever seen. It's the sort of place I'd love to live if I won the lottery!

We arrived at the Bells of Peover a little early, so had a walk round its beautiful grounds. I'm sure it's pretty all year round, but it was particularly stunning in the sun. Outside got really busy later on, so if it's outdoor dining you have in mind, I'd go no later than about 12.30pm.
The Bells of Peover - Outside
The dining room is beautifully decorated and the front of house staff couldn't have been more welcoming. Paddy had a Robinson's Unicorn and I was offered a new sparkly J2O. It was genuinely glittery! We were off to a good start.
The Bells of Peover - Drinks
We were starved by this point, so when a platter of homemade bread arrived, we were all over it. There was farmhouse white, one that had a soft glazed crust with an oaty top and the best of all was the cheese and herby number with nigella seeds. Oh my lord this was outstanding! The only constructive criticism of the day? The butter was a little cold for spreading. That's it. 
The Bells of Peover - Bread
For starters we ordered the pork rillette 'Waldorf style' with apple and walnuts, and the pate and parfait with pickles and toasted brioche. Jeepers. We shared a bit of each other's because it was all so exciting. I can honestly say that these starters were the best I have had in quite some time. They look pretty but the flavours were big, bold and hearty. Textures were bob on too; smooth was paired with crunchy and soft with crisp. Nothing is just for effect; even the leaves gave a pepperiness.
The Bells of Peover - Starters
The main course should receive a standing ovation every time it is served. We both opted for the beef roast because it had been on our minds since we saw Vicki's pictures. The beef arrives first, sliced on a butcher's block. Next comes a platter full of vegetables and two humongous Yorkshires, then two silver boats containing the best gravy known to man.
The Bells of Peover - Roast
I'm putting it out there. This is the best roast I have ever had. From carvery to Michelin star, I have tried lots. This took the title in the first bite. The beef was cooked to perfection, was packed with meaty flavour, had a beautiful peppery crust and melted in the mouth. The vegetables were roasted but still had bite, and were covered in melted butter. The roasties and Yorkshires were crisp and soft on the inside and the gravy was like liquid heaven. I cannot say enough nice things about this plate of food!
The Bells of Peover - Roast
I had already been looking at the dessert menu before we had even ordered our starters. This is generally how I roll. After having a little difficulty picking, my husband gave me the look that says 'shall we order three?' This is just one of the many reasons I married him - sure signs of a keeper. Our wonderful waitress concocted a story when taking our order to the kitchen, so we wouldn't look like pigs, but we were then busted when someone else brought them out. Dammit. She was tickled half to death but played along with our 'sampling' approach...

We ordered the mixed berry brûlée with biscotti and a berry milkshake, pecan pie with honeycomb and mascarpone sorbet, and the caramel and hazelnut gâteaux with vanilla ice cream. There is clearly some sort of sorcery going on in that kitchen. They were all massive, so we knew we had absolutely no hope of finishing them, but we felt better for having tried the ones we were craving.

The mixed berry brûlée had a beautifully caramelised top with soft vanilla infused custard on the inside, which was layered with fruit compote. The berry milkshake was pretty special too. The biscotti was either home made or bought from somewhere excellent, as this had actual flavour as well as texture. I often find it tastes of nothing and threatens to break your teeth.
The Bells of Peover - Dessert
The pecan pie was my favourite. Crisp pastry packed with a brown sugar packed treacly filling and topped with caramelised pecan nuts. Heaven! The mascarpone sorbet was a touch of genius, as it was ever so slightly tart, which went well with the uber-sweet pie. This goes firmly onto the 'what could you just eat' list.
The Bells of Peover - Dessert
The caramel and hazelnut gâteaux was the type of portion my dad would be happy with. Layers of sponge, praline and a dulce de leche type topping. This was the best gâteaux ever; no glacé cherries or chopped nuts in site. This was silky smooth and was paired perfectly with the vanilla ice cream and candied nuts.
The Bells of Peover - Dessert
The Bells of Peover is only a forty-five minute drive from our house, so we'll definitely be going back. We saw someone in the garden having a burger, so I have to return if only to sample that!

Go hungry and leave with a belly bursting with good food and a heart full of contentment. This is one of my new favourites.

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  1. Looks amazing, will definitely try this one...how much is your eating out budget? LOL

    1. Too much! Ah well, it was a Bank Holiday...


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