Gordo visits Altrincham eatery, West Beverly, from the brains behind California Coffee & Wine Co.
There were three things that I can’t forget about Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel, Casino Royale; the reverse striptease artist in the show at the casino, the cocktail that Bond ordered and the torture scene. All three were a mystery to a thirteen-year-old lad who was a bit confused at the time, puberty setting in. I wanted to be Bond, but didn’t much fancy doing the torture bit.
The cocktail was 3oz gin, 1oz vodka, 1/2oz Lillet Blanc and a lemon twist. Bond named it after his love interest in the novel, Vesper Lynd. What a girl she was. The last time I had a perfect Vesper (the cocktail) was at the bar in the Byblos hotel in St Tropez, watching the supermodel Tyra Banks doing powerful front crawl lengths in the hotel pool. Two perfect tens.
When good chefs do things properly, I change my mind.
That was a long time ago. I’ve had a few poor iterations since and the last thing I was expecting was my second perfect 10 in a newly opened restaurant called West Beverly opposite Altrincham market.
I did a walk-in one Saturday morning bumping straight into the exceptional restaurateurs and hosts, the whirlwinds that are Justin and Diana Orozco. They own the hyper-successful California Coffee and Wine ‘down the road’ and have recently taken over the popular Common Ground, themed on Beverly Hills and the hotel, but without the pool.
The coffee at the other gaff is extraordinary, so I started the proceedings with a double espresso (£2.90) to kick-start my brain. As good as ever. Looking at the menu, I spotted the Vesper (£12) on the drinks menu. There are other classics available but bugger them. This is always the right choice, and it was perfect.
It’s clear that the staff here are trained by Diana, who I first met the day that 20 Stories opened in Spinningfields in Manchester. I had never come across anyone like her, a Canadian whirlwind who was looking after my section of the restaurant. This woman understands hospitality and service. She’s drummed that into her staff.
Jumbo prawns (£11.95) came looking very glam but turned out all fur coat and no knickers. The prawns were ghosts. Little flavour, very bland and disappointing. The Padron Peppers (£5.95) were a huge portion, big and blousy, medium hot, humming with Mexicana. Bright and sassy. Loved them.
The Caesar (£12.95) was classic with a good strong creamy but keen dressing, with class anchovies inches long, thick and sharp as a gang of weasels on the make. Shavings of parmesan, with the greens crisply fresh. Then a disaster; the sourdough croutons were chewy. Chewy? Stale in fact. Bin the sourdough guys, I can promise you the Beverly Hills Hotel does not do sourdough. I know. I’ve been by the swimming pool there as well. I didn’t go skint fucking about in Stoke-on-Trent.
What went down well with this lot so far was a glass of Mobberley Brewery Lager (half at £3.25). I’m not good at describing lagers and beers. But I know I liked it. By this time, I had chosen a table in the garden. Within twenty minutes it turned from bright sunshine to a deluge. But I wasn’t bothered. The Vesper had done its job and I was quickly moved under what cover there was; the restaurant by now was packed.
The Cabana Burger and fries came in at £22.95. Don’t panic. I’d loaded on a fried egg (£2.50), Streaky bacon (£3) and Jack Cheese (£2.50). There was a separate charge of £1.95 for an upgrade to truffle fries. I’ve developed a healthy loathing of ‘truffle’ fries. Let’s see what the kitchen does to these.
The burger was a classy affair. The patties were great, and could have done with a little more fat. Maybe 5% of bone marrow? But that is a very personal view. The seasoning was not being shy and the patty all the better for it. Sat on a bun with a little attitude, strips of bacon worthy of a Canadian owner, topped off with a sunny side up egg, lolling over the whole affair, ready for the yolk to burst and flow like magma for Instagram. Overall, a belter of a burger.
And the truffle fries? Well, as it happens I enjoyed them. There you go, when good chefs do things properly, I change my mind. I think the secret here is more is less.
Obviously, I asked for the vanilla cheesecake. (£7.95) It was described as ‘homemade’. I knew it was homemade because a) the biscuit base was charmingly skewed, thicker towards the outside; the thicker the better as far as I was concerned. Be more crunchy is what I say. The vanilla cheese filling was as smooth as Bublé. Warm, sweet and just that bit ‘woody’ if you get me. Surrounded by fans including ripe strawberries, great ice cream and a berry compote.
The wine selection is short, gripping value and truly well chosen, priced by the bottle between £26 and £45. The USA Bogles are known to me, the Viognier at £32 is floral, paying tribute to its grape variety, needs a bit more chilling than normal, in my honest opinion, and at the same price its red cousin, the Merlot, is a bit of a hugger. I like huggers.
Aside from a couple of minor mistakes this is a charmer of an addition to the maturing Altrincham scene. Well done all concerned, it’s a tribute to the leadership of the somewhat fearless traders and businessmen that saw the potential.
Diana and Justin’s West Beverley will get even better. Which doesn’t mean to say it’s not worth your well earned money right now. Go. Support them. They and their team deserve your dollars. And you’ll no doubt fall in love with the pair as has the rest of Altrincham.
West Beverly, 20 Shaw's Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU
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All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.
If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Espresso 8.5, Prawns 5, Peppers 7, Caesar 7, Burger 8.25, Fries 7.5, Cheesecake 7.75