EVER wondered what the definition of the most perfect summer’s evening consists of?
Well in my humble opinion, take a beautiful restaurant setting, a warm, bright sunset, a glass of the finest white wine and the most incredible seafood you could ever taste.
Hard to find all of the best ingredients in one broth though.
Having never dined in the slightly sedate national chain, or even crossed over to the borders of Alderley Edge for that matter, I had no idea what to expect on my Friday evening trip to the town.
But my opinion of the idyllic, countryside venue certainly rose when a brisk walk through the high-end, coveted area led me to an absolutely gorgeous, cosy country restaurant, set on a bend of what seemed like a quiet main(ish) road.
Set in stunning surroundings (although I do think the beautiful mask of the summer sun had a big part to play in my euphoria)… the restuaurant was immediately welcoming as we sat outside of the rustic doors on the patio enjoying a much-needed glass of wine while our dinner was being prepared. So far I was in my element. What a way to start the weekend!
We chose the French Sauvignon Blanc grape which I found out later complimented the exquisite fish dishes perfectly. Crisp and light it went down a treat.
Now before I start to sound like a raging alcoholic, we were escorted into the restaurants main dining area once our starters had been prepared. As it was later in the evening by this point I chose to sit inside – one to get the best of both worlds and two as the evening chill may have ruined my appetite.
Once inside we were greeted by a lovely, friendly young waitress who was more than happy to help with any queries – I do love good customer service. There’s nothing more irritating than some rude, obnoxious attendant who is clearly cut out for a lonely boxed-in office job.
And I was definitely moreso impressed once inside. The interior boasted of wooden, country style furniture with beams stylishly separating the restaurant into sections.
A fish bar located in the middle of the venue discretely displayed the fresh ‘catch of the day’, only heightening my admiration for the place. Trying maybe a little too hard but I loved the effort which was being put in to show customers’ its serious.
Overall even before I began my meal I had a warm pleasant liking towards this humble out of town hotspot.
Being a big fat fish fan I couldn’t wait to get started. Naturally the slimy sea creatures consumed my whole meal – well when in Rome!
Before tucking in my food partner and I decided we would share each delicacy so we had the best of both worlds.
To start with we chose the tempura battered squid with chilli jam and the Scottish rope-grown mussels in a white wine, cream and shallot sauce and crusty white bread.
And wow – what a way to begin.
The mussels for me I have to admit stole the show… They were absolutely stunningly silky. And none of this horrible grit you are more than likely find in the dish at some high-end restaurants. I could not fault them. The sauce was creamy with the right amount of seasoning – just enough to give you a full body of flavours but not enough garlic to blow your head off. I wanted more – it was a good job they were incorporated into one of our main dishes.
The squid was also just as devine. Not the best I have ever tasted but definitely up there. And I normally hate chilli jam, but this complimented the dry battered fish perfectly giving it a gentle kick where needed.
Next came the seafood grill and… wait for it… my favourite mouth-watering, only on special occaisons food of all time – the lobster. And surprisingly the pricing of each dish was more than reasonable. Another plus for the already ‘up there’ restaurant.
The seafood grill consisted of a mixture of mussels (obviously), a king prawn, salmon, sea bream scallops, spinach and new potatoes.
Each delicacy scored at different levels… This was the only dish which let the side down (only slightly). It came with a beautiful sauce which complimented the foods in their own individual way – especially the spinach which I sometimes find extremely lacking in taste. But there was something about it which wasn’t just quite right.
I find that it’s so hard to get salmon just right. It’s a boring, bland fish to start off with so it does need that extra work. This however, because it came within a melody of other delights, was not given that extra za-za-zoom. Therefore I didn’t consume much. The sea bream though I could not fault it – soft, smooth and it melted in the mouth. Not much more to add with that one. There was only one king prawn which was mildly disappointing. And the scallops could have done with just an extra 10 seconds on the heat. Thank goodness there were mussels included to bring back the zing.
But… then there was the lobster. In-cred-ible. It was such a decent size which I have paid the same price for in many restaurants and never had half as much meat as what I did with this one. Stunning dish. Everything about it was top notch. From the garlic butter to the soft, easy enough to access top of the range, melodic meat. It was a meal made in heaven.
To finish we each chose a favourite creme brulee desert and a passion fruit cheesecake. An average ending to a wonderful evening but I can’t complain. For me the creme brulee just wasn’t soft enough. The cripsy outer shell was decent but it was just lacking that delicious sweetness like a brilliant brandy nightcap after the scrumptious sirloin.
But the passion fruit cake was just the right amount of fruity flavoursome goodness. In all honesty I could have left the desserts as they didn’t really excite my palate but they were pleasant enough.
Overall the evening left me with a warm, lazy glow of happiness. Definitely one of the best sources of fish in Manchester. An Alderley assassination of my senses which gave it the ultimate edge.