We were invited to visit Nunsmere Hall Hotel, located in Tarporley, Cheshire to taste Crystal Restaurant’s new menu created by Head Chef Lee Holland. The menu has been created to showcase summer ingredients and will be served from mid June to end September to their walk-in and stay in guests.
Built around 1900 for Sir Aubrey Brockelbank and his wife Lady Grace Brocklebank, Nunsmere Hall was later converted into a Hotel in the late 1900 and has welcomed a lot of important guests in its time including Margaret Thatcher.
The hotel which has been awarded 4 Red Stars and two AA Rosettes is set in an absolutely stunning location and often operates as an exclusive wedding venue. The hotel hosts conference all through the year and houses 36 bed rooms for its guests. The price for their rooms can range anywhere from £170 to £230 per night. Recently taken over by Boutique Hotel Group, who are also the owners of Peckforton Castle, the hotel has undergone a massive refurbishment to give it a more current and sophisticated look.
Soon as we arrived, we were greeted by the captivating grand design of the hotel. Its interior did not disappoint us at all, filled with artworks as well as quintessentially British styled designed furniture. We waited at the Library before being guided to Crystal Restaurant, which has been voted twice as the Country Restaurant of the year by The Good Food Guide.
The restaurant looked stylist and luxurious, it would have been the perfect romantic setting in the evening for couples or those who want to dine in style. The restaurant can easily hold 120 guests for a wedding and seat about 32 diners in its main hall and up to 40 diners if you include the Ante Lounge which is the curtained extendable area at the back. Many people don’t realise that Crystal Restaurant accepts walk-in diners for its Sunday Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner (but please call in advance to make reservations).
For starters, we were served a Slow Braised Beef dish which was cooked in hoisin, spring onions and served with poached peach, fig gel and apple chutney. The beef was very delicate in flavour with an occasional burst of coriander in it, while the the outer coating and the apple chutney gave the dish contrasting texture which complimented it well. Interesting combination of flavours that worked well together.
While we waited for our mains to arrive, we could not help but wonder around its terrace and garden area. It was fabulous weather on the day and the well maintained garden was a wonder to behold. Patrons could also sit outside on the terrace to enjoy their Lunch, Afternoon Tea (prices for this starts from £18.50 per person, with a glass of champagne priced at £9.50) or Dinner. The hotel gives exclusivity for weddings, hence it is always better to call them to confirm your booking before you head there.
Chef Lee Holland prepared two main courses for us to try from his new menu, the first was corn-fed Chicken Supreme served with confit chicken wing, Jersey royal potatoes, broad beans, chicken and chive velouté. If I had to sum the dish in one word, it had to be summery! The chicken was beautifully seasons and cooked perfectly, each element on the dish tasted delicious on its own and complimented each other as a whole. The dish as a whole was light and befitting the weather.
Our next dish was roast rump of lamb which was served with fondant potato, Kalamata black olive tapenade, confit tomatoes and green beans. The meat was tender, well rested and cooked to perfection with just a little bit of pink in the middle (although we would have preferred ours slightly more well done). The dish was light and the quail egg was flawless and oozed out when it was cut in half. Again perfectly portioned.
To compliment our excellent meal, Chef Lee prepared a lovely Panna Cotta dessert which was served with roasted pineapples, passion fruit sorbet and strawberry meringue. It was so hot on the day that the sorbet melted when it reached our table hence the watery bit on the plate. The combination was excellent as the sharpness of the sorbet cut through the creamy panna cotta bringing much needed balance to the dish. The dish tasted fresh and the strawberry meringue was not only cute but delish.
He has been working in kitchen since the age of 14 and his first major job was with Hilton in London when he was just 16 years-old. After spending 8 years there, he travelled to the Channel Islands to work as the Head Chef at Goodwood and for Chris and James Tanner. He has cooked for many people but one of his most favourite has to be the Queen during the D-Day Anniversary Celebrations. He is now ready to bring his experience and his passion for food to Nunsmere Hall Hotel.
What is the reservations number for Cyrstal Restaurant, Nunsmere Hall Hotel?
Tarporley Rd, Oakmere,
- The restaurant opens for dinner daily from 6.00pm until 9.30pm
Afternoon Tea is served everyday from 3pm until 5pm
- Sunday lunch is available from 12noon until 2.30pm (subject to availability)