Enjoy classic dishes, modern touches and contemporary style at this much loved favourite
The Alderley Edge Hotel bar and restaurant holds so many fond memories for a lot of people. It has been the scene for a huge number of special occasions stretching back a generation or two, including birthdays, anniversaries and even weddings. But if you haven’t been for a while, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
In January 2018 this much loved restaurant and bar reopened after a £2.5M investment by owners JW Lees. The refurbishment created a contemporary bar area for pre-dinner drinks, which leads onto a beautiful open plan restaurant. A glass ceiling and huge windows make the most of the natural light, while the interior captures elements of the nearby Alderley Edge nature reserve with luxurious green curtains, a plush emerald sofa and even a pretty blossom tree in the centre of the dining room.
The traditional formality of the old restaurant has been replaced by a bright, contemporary dining room which still retains the high standards of hospitality this venue is well known for, but without any stuffiness (gone are the white linen tablecloths and heavy brocade curtains). The modernised restaurant provides the perfect backdrop for Chef Sean Sutton’s menu. Sean has been with the Alderley Edge Hotel for an astounding eleven years, working his way up under the tutelage of the previous head chef Chris Holland.
Sean’s dishes have been inspired by traditional French and British cooking but with a definite modern approach, an eye for detail and a lighter touch. His menus include lots of classic dishes and cooking techniques that are seldom seen any more, but much missed. As you’d expect from a two AA rosette restaurant pretty much everything is made from scratch using top quality seasonal ingredients from trusted local suppliers.
Confidential went along to have a look at all the changes since the refurbishment and enjoy a delightful mid week dinner. French onion soup is a perfect example of a classic starter that is rarely found these days. Onions, slowly fried until their natural sugars slowly caramelise form the base of this wonderfully comforting all-weather soup, garnished with a luxuriously melting Gruyere croute.
Smoked salmon is another standard hotel starter, but the clever team working the Alderley Edge hotel kitchens have added a little extra drama. A perfectly sliced tranche of salmon arrives at the table under a smoked-filled glass cloche – what else would you expect from this ancient village that was known for its wizards, well before its WAGS. Another starter, the as good as it looks beetroot cured sea trout with iced fennel and orange is fast becoming Chef Sean’s signature dish thanks to its balance of flavours and textures without too much frippery or cheffy complications.
Main courses range from the more traditional steak and ox cheek suet pudding, or calves liver and bacon with mash to more contemporary dishes such as halibut with roast cauliflower and endive salad – a gorgeous hot cold dish with a generous piece of perfectly crispy skinned white fish working well amongst a range of compatible flavours. An ‘open’ corn fed chicken pie with brown butter mash wasn’t quite what we were expecting – it was better. It was a generous portion (chef Sean will make sure no-one leaves hungry) involving brined chicken breast and fresh vegetables bound in a delicious light cream based sauce with rectangles of golden puff pastry placed on top.
The owners have invested in a top of the range Josper Grill to ensure that steaks, chops, burgers, escalopes, cutlets and of course a chateaubriand for two are all cooked perfectly with a deliciously charred and smoky finish.
Try if you can to leave room for dessert as the pastry team take all things sweet very seriously – don’t forget all the wonderful afternoon teas they are well known for. Here again, of course you’ll find the classics have been given a contemporary update. Our waiter definitely had a glint in his eye when we ordered ‘Edge’ apple pie with Calvados Anglais and cinnamon sugar. You could tell that he didn’t want to influence our choice, but this was obviously one of his personal favourites. Sticky toffee pudding managed to be both light and indulgent at the same time thanks to a warm airy sponge dome saturated in hot butterscotch sauce paired perfectly with vanilla ice cream.
Thanks to a menu of re-imagined classics, that have been given a fresh approach by a young but experienced kitchen team, and a contemporary new-look dining room, the Alderley Edge hotel restaurant looks like it’ll be the venue for many a celebration for years to come – and of course the occasional ‘I don’t fancy cooking, let’s go out instead’ midweek meal.