Barlounge Review *

We were invited to review Barlounge to experience the ambiance, drinks and taste some of the dishes served on the menu. Located in the buzzing city of Chester, in Northwest England, Cheshire and home to one of the oldest racecourses in England, Chester Racecourse. Barlounge is perfectly located in the city centre not far from the tourist hotspots. We decided to pop by to see what this restaurant and bar could offer to patrons and what was so unique and special about it.

Do watch the short video slideshow showcasing Chef Ben preparing his food, a short demo of Aiden the resident bartender making Tae Bo, his signature cocktail as well as photos of some of the mouthwatering dishes which were served on the day.

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We arrived at noon for lunch and the place was already starting to get busy. It was a lovely day and we could see some people siting on the terrace enjoying the view of the street and the lovely flowers plants. There were also fresh blankets on each table as well as the heating was switched on to keep the patrons nice and warm. Our server Sam who was training to be a Manager told us that if it rained the retractable awning roof could be adjusted to keep us dry whilst we still enjoy the outdoors.

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The restaurant has a very inviting feel about the place. It boasts a lovely bar and the interior decor in the place is sophisticated. Situated just next to a multi-story indoor carpark, and walking distance from the city centre, it was easy for us to park up. The bar seats an average of 150 people on a normal day but on a race day there can be anywhere between 250 to 300 people scattered around the bar, restaurant and terrace area. So do make prior booking if you want a table.  As you can see in the photos, the decor and ambiance of the bar and restaurant is stunning.

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We met up with Mylo Sourthern, the friendly and knowledgeable Deputy General Manager at Barlounge. He suggested some popular dishes for us to try. We were first served a beautiful platter for our appetiser. These can either be ordered individually or a choice of three items picked to be served on a wooden platter.
Our platter included garden pea hummus served with mint pea shoots and sour dough. Halloumi fries served with orange & chilli yoghurt, coriander.  Toasted sour dough served with fresh tomato, buffalo mozzarella, sun blush tomato & balsamic. These are individually priced at £4.50 each  (except for the Halloumi which costs an extra £1) or £12.50 for the platter.
As the platter was brought in, Mylo took the time to introduce each dish to us and explain that the menu is reviewed by Chef Ben and changed  three to four times a year to showcase seasonal and local produce. He also added that many of their suppliers are local such as their meat suppliers are Williams of Flint and they are very proud of supporting local business.
Our appetisers were presented beautifully and tasted delicious.  It was hard to pick a favourite amongst the three but I think the Halloumi fries won hands down, with the others being a close contender.

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For drinks, we ordered a couple of mocktails, O.M.P which is one of their best sellers…freshly pressed orange, mango and passion fruit as well as Wheel Barrow which was a mix of elderflower, cucumber and cloudy apple.  (The drinks cost £3.50 each).  I personally am not a mocktail person but I loved the subtle and delicate flavours of both the drinks. They were refreshing and complimented the meal really well and had just the right amount of sweetness.

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While waiting for our meal to arrive, I managed to sneak into the kitchen to meet Chef Ben Rutherford and his team to get a couple of shots of them at work. As you can see everyone was busy and Chef Ben’s attention to details was impeccable.

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Our first main course was Roasted Seabass Fillets served with wilted kale and spring greens (The dish cost £16.50). This was one of our favourite dishes. The orange and salsa went really well with the fish which was cooked to perfection, with crispy skin on the outside and tender sweet flesh in the inside. The meal was light and perfectly balanced.

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Our second main course was not only humongous but was filled with grandeur. It was Barlounge’s signature Gourmet Burger (This dish cost £14.50).  Worth every penny, the burger has everything you could wish for from treacle cured bacon, cheese, grilled duck egg, picked red onion, hash brown and veg. The burger patties were superbly seasoned, the wholegrain mustard and brown sauce gave the meat a distinct and nice flavour. The burger was topped with a fried pickle and served with purple cabbage coleslaw and crispy chips. The visually stunning dish would make a perfect meal for one very hungry person or two mildly hungry people.

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Although we were beginning to get full from our splendid meal, we could not leave Barlounge without trying some of their famous desserts. We were recommended to try Eton Mess Crisp Meringue which was priced at £5.50. I personally don’t like Meringues but I loved this as it was not too sweet or sickly at all. The strawberry compote at the bottom of the glass complimented the ice-cream and fresh strawberries really well. Would totally recommend this light and refreshing dessert after a heavy meal.

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Our second dessert (yes we still had space in our tummies for one more last dish), was a lush and decadent sticky toffee pudding which cost £5.50).  The pudding was light and airy and was served with vanilla ice-cream and on the top. It also came with a very rich fudge sauce. The fudge which was locally sourced from Roly’s Fudge tasted stunningly sweet. A little too rich for me but nevertheless it was perfectly made and presented.
I could not fault the food quality, excellent service or attention to detail by the staff of Barlounge. I found the staff making time to chat with customers to make them feel at home.  All in all it is a must place to visit the next time you are in Chester, but remember to book yourself a table as they do get very busy.

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Where is Barlounge in Chester?
75 Watergate St, Chester CH1 2LB
Tel: 01244 327394
When is it open?
Its open daily from 11.30am until 12am.
Where do I park?
There is ample of carpark spaces in the multi-storey building opposite Barlounge

 

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