Chic, charming, charismatic – and now Chester has WOOD
WITH his screen credentials and hit restaurant on Manchester’s First Street (the address in itself suggesting a des res location), Simon Wood has set himself up as a winner from the start, and now world domination (or WOOD domination) continues apace as the latest addition to the MasterChef champion’s WOOD Restaurants portfolio has opened its doors.
Inspired by previous success, WOOD Chester takes as a jumping-off point the same signature combination of unintimidating fine dining and stylish pared-back setting – this time in the brand-new boutique Hotel Indigo on the road leading down to Grosvenor Park and the picturesque River Dee, and a short hop into the city centre with all its amenities and antiquities.
Chester warrants a trip in any case – one of Britain’s oldest cities, the historic sights run the gamut from Roman remains to the black-and-white Tudor Rows, now forming part of a thoroughly contemporary shopping and entertainment district. Add to that the famous meets including Ladies’ Day down at the Roodee Racecourse plus its proximity to the Cheshire countryside and the Welsh hills, plus culture at the open air Grosvenor Theatre and the likes of literature festivals at the Art Deco Storyhouse, and there’s plenty to see and do.
And now there’s WOOD Chester, too. Handily placed just off the inner ring road and not even a ten-minute straight walk down from the station (Chester is on a direct train line – or just off the M56 motorway – from Manchester), the purpose-build 96-cover restaurant has all the trappings of the contemporary fine-dining experience: chef’s table for extra titbits, theatre kitchen so you can watch the action while you eat and private dining room accommodating up to ten people.
Guests can sample Simon’s winning cooking through an array of menus, from the full restaurant service available at both lunch and dinner sittings from Monday through to Saturday – including A La Carte and five-, seven- or ten-course blind Tasting Menus, and the special set Theatre Menu – to separate Bar & Lounge menus and, of course, Room Service.
With three courses for £29.95, including choices of roast rib of Cheshire beef and cornfed chicken for mains, Sunday Lunch is well worth a trip and served until 6pm, so you don’t have to dash off too early. Meanwhile, every day between 2pm and 5pm, Afternoon Tea is served, with various choices from a basic cream tea to the G & Tea with one of Simon’s special Tutti Frutti Gin & Tonics created alongside Didsbury Gin in Manchester. There’s also a revolution in town thanks to the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea – think pork pies and Battenberg washed down with draught beer. We’re sold.