Veloute of English asparagus and spinach, slow cooked egg and lemon sabayon: My husband is a big fan of British asparagus, and tends to order it if he sees it on the menu. The season's short so it's worth catching it while you can! He loved this dish.
Grilled scallops, slow cooked middle white pork belly, Bury black pudding croquette, spiced apple puree and golden raisins: A substantial starter with lots of flavour. Highlights included the crackled pork and the slight crisp on the top of the scallops.
Quail - roasted breast, club sandwich and fried quail egg, celeriac remoulade and truffle dressing: This was the dish I picked. The flavour combinations in this were absolutely outstanding. I could have eaten a big plateful! Crispy quail with crunchy celeriac and a runny quails egg. I'd go back again just to have this.
Salad of Mr Ashcroft’s mixed beetroots with goats cheese mousse, pickled Thai shallots, candied
walnuts, pickled apples & pain d’epice crumb: I'm not a fan of beetroot myself, as I can't help but feel it tastes like soil. However, this was a very pretty dish and was heartily enjoyed by the recipient!28 day aged fillet steak with dauphinoise potato, roasted onion puree, Portobello mushrooms, spinach and onion rings: a 'posh' version of an absolute classic. It may have been hot outside, but I'm a sucker for dauphinoise - and this one was a belter. When speared with a fork it actually oozed cream. The steak was pretty good too; charred on the outside and rare on the inside with a rich flavour.
Slow braised Cheshire beef in red wine, creamed potato, seasonal cabbage, smoked bacon, glazed button mushrooms and onions: A rich dish with intense flavours; the meat fell apart when touched with a fork. Not massively summery, but who cares when it tastes so good?
Slow cooked belly of middle white pork, Bury black pudding and Lancashire cheese hash brown,
honey pickled white cabbage, spiced apple puree and golden raisins: A big boy's version of the scallop starter, this was a much larger piece of pork and came with a wonderful black pudding and cheese hash brown. Clever.
Grilled loin of cod with salt & pepper squid, Asian greens, shitake mushrooms, mussel, lemon grass and coriander broth: I'm not a huge fan of fish, but when this was set down we all did a bit of an 'oooh...' It smelled fantastic and was still bubbling slightly.
My husband took one for the team. He picked seven cheeses ranging from a fairly mild hard cheddar to an oozing soft cheese which looked like it was trying to escape the plate - the type that makes your jaw sting. A brilliant, and very generous selection indeed.
We have a love affair with the cheese trolley. Our first real cheese experience was getting a whiff of the one at L'Enclume about five years ago. Wow wee. That thing was alive! On our return visit we sampled some of the best cheeses I have ever tasted. Likewise, subsequent trips to Martin Wishart and Marcus Wareing have also yielded some fantastic fromages. However, nine times out of ten we chicken out in favour of saving our bellies from certain bulging and our feet from the inability to walk to a cab. Must try harder.
Catalan tart, cinnamon doughnuts, orange and vanilla sauce: Always drawn in by the word 'cinnamon', this was an obvious choice. Beautiful texture in the tart, with the most exciting little cinnamon doughnuts. I could eat these like popcorn.
Virgin rum baba, mango carpaccio, blackcurrant and green peppercorn jelly, passion fruit sorbet
and candied coconut: Would it have been bad form to steal this from a fellow diner's plate? It was gone before I had solved this particular moral dilemma. This has the optional extra of an additional shot of rum, which on this occasion was agreed to with gusto. Consensus was that this is a fabulous dessert.
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