Chefs who once may have upped-sticks south to London or north to Edinburgh are either returning or staying put. As it turns out, the economics and the audiences are far more appealing on home turf than in those mature restaurant markets where rents and competition have gone through the roof. Talented chefs with big aspirations are now opening up their own independent ventures, putting regional restaurants well and truly on the international food map. Here’s the Luxury Restaurant Guide’s round-up of the best places to dine in North West England:
Moor Hall Restaurant – Prescot Road, Aughton, Lancashire, L39 6RT – T: 01695 572511
Luxury Restaurant Club members and guests enjoy a complimentary glass of champagne when dining – see details.
The Barn at Moor Hall – Prescot Road, Aughton, Lancashire, L39 6RT – T: 01695 572511
Opened in Autumn 2017, The Barn is the second dining room at Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms in Aughton. The Barn features an informal 65 seat dining room on the first floor of the converted building adjacent to the main manor house. The interior design features original beams and rustic brickwork, an open kitchen and integral bar.
Northcote Manor – Northcote Road, Lango, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB6 8BE – T: 01254 240555
Northcote’s one Michelin-starred restaurant is elegant, stylish and sophisticated with views of the garden and distant hills of the beautiful Ribble Valley. It’s known as an oasis for food and wine excellence with genuine service and hospitality. The menus are created by Executive Head Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen, with wines carefully selected by Craig Bancroft.
Hipping Hall Restaurant – Cowan Bridge, Kirby Lonsdale, Lancashire, LA6 2JJ – T: 01524 271187
Hipping Hall is a modern country house hotel and restaurant resting at the foot of Lancashire’s highest peak on the rugged borders of Lancashire, Cumbria and Yorkshire. The wonderful 15th Century dining room is cosy and intimate complete with crackling log fire and creaking wooden floors, and the food is bursting with local and seasonal flavours. Head Chef Oli’s menus draw on his classical training and progressive cuisine styles from both the USA and Spain, whilst menu choices stem from a focus on seasonality and local produce.
Art School – 1 Sugnall Street, Liverpool, Merseyside, L7 7EB – T: 0151 2308600
The Art School Restaurant is in the stunning lantern room of the Victorian 1888 ‘Home for Destitute children’ building in Liverpool’s Georgian quarter. Since opening in September 2014, it has firmly established itself as a Liverpool favourite, with a reputation for excellence in food and service. Chef Paul Askew has been a championing force behind the North West restaurant scene for over 20 years and has featured on Great British Menus and Saturday Morning Kitchen numerous times. His menu draws on his time spent in New York, Singapore and Dubai, which along with his classical French training and love for local produce and seasonal ingredients is a winning combination.
Wreckfish Bistro – 60 Seel Street, Liverpool, L1 4BE – T: 0151 7071960
Following the successes of its sister properties Sticky Walnut in Chester and Burnt Truffle in Heswall on the Wirral, the group opened Wreckfish. As with the other locations it is all about simply honest great food. Wreckfish, a converted former derelict building, serves high-quality bistro food for 90 covers. As well as individual tables, it also has a communal table and a private dining room seating between 10 and 14. The enterprise is the dream child of Head Chef Gary Usher who returned to Chester following successful stints at Michelin-starred Chez Bruce, and working with Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett at the York and Albany. Open for breakfast, lunch, early dinner and dinner reservations. Enjoy dishes such as Grilled lamb rump, roast lamb fat hispi cabbage, herbed turnip mash, or Pan roasted skate wing, brown butter dressing, capers, parsley yoghurt and swiss chard.
60 Hope Street – Liverpool, L1 9BZ – T: 0151 7076060
The picturesque Hope Street links the city’s two cathedrals, is home to the Royal Philharmonic Hall and The Everyman Theatre as well as being just a stones’ throw away from The Unity Theatre and the knowledge quarter where the local universities and is home to some of Liverpool’s finest restaurants.
Referred to as the core of the Georgian Quarter, Hope Street has won the Academy of Urbanism Award for ‘Best Street’ and is full of elegant Georgian Townhouses. It is within one of these Grade II listed townhouses that 60 Hope Street resides. Inside is a bustling modern brasserie with basement wine bar serving fine seasonal British cuisine with a twist.
L’Enclume – Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Nr. Grange over Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6PZ – T: 01539 536362
Simon Rogan’s iconic riverside restaurant has the reputation of being one of the finest in the North and the only restaurant to hold two Michelin stars. Chef Patron Simon reigns supreme for his unmatched quality and craftsmanship and is noted as one of the most innovative and exciting chefs around. He specialises in using local and foraged ingredients – mainly homegrown vegetables and more recently livestock too from his seven-acre farm in the valley. A magical Cumbrian hideaway with 16 beautiful rooms too.
The Samling Restaurant – Ambleside Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LR – T: 01539 431922
Over the years it has been used frequently as a celebratory haven for the Beckhams, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Stella McCartney to name but a few. The property is famous worldwide for its un-spoilt English charm, romantic setting overlooking Lake Windermere and excellent cuisine. The restaurant at Samling was launched at the beginning of January 2017, with a new kitchen, chef’s table and a state of the art wine cellar. The inspiration for dishes come from the environment around the hotel and the development kitchen is where meticulous dish research and creation takes place. It also has its own kitchen garden using progressive growing techniques to create fresh daily produce that provide the core ingredients for dishes.
The Cottage in the Wood – Magic Hill, Whinlatter Forest, Braithwaite, Cumbria, CA12 5TW – T: 017687 78409
Luxury Restaurant Club members and guests receive 10% discount when dining for dinner, and 15% discount when dining for lunch – see details.
Holbeck Ghyll – Holbeck Lane, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LU – T: 015394 32375
Holbeck Ghyll is one of the Lake District’s finest places to stay. As you begin the ascent to the house from the edge of Lake Windermere, you leave traffic and the sounds of everyday life behind. The view from this quintessential English country house is so beautiful, it’s been rated amongst the top 15 in the world. Head chef Jake Jones has a unique style and direction, drawing on his experiences but not imitating, offering something new and exciting delivered with incredible passion and ambition.
Luxury Restaurant Club members exclusively receive a complimentary bottle of wine per table when dining – see details.
Hrishi Restaurant at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House – Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NA – T: 015394 88818
HRiSHi is the Michelin-starred main restaurant at Gilpin Hotel – a beautifully chic and stylish boutique country house, modernised but thoroughly charming, situated two miles above Lake Windermere in the fells. Hrishikesh Desai joined Gilpin in March 2015 as the Winner of Alex Polizzi’s BBC2 ‘Chefs on Trial’. His background includes institute Paul Bocuse, Les Maison de Bricourt, Le Chateau de Bagnol, French Laundry and Lucknam Park. He is one of a few chefs to have won both the Roux Scholarship and the Craft Guild of Chef’s National Chef of the Year, unique in winning these in consecutive years.
‘HRiSHi’ features imaginative dishes combining Lake District produce and classic methods to deliver modern British dishes with a twist of Asia. It is one of the true fine dining spots of the Lake District National Park.
Gilpin Spice at Gilpin Hotel & Lake House – Crook Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3NA – T: 015394 88818
Gilpin Spice is the more laid-back dining option at the Gilpin Hotel, with an open kitchen serving tapas-style pan-Asian dishes inspired by countries along the spice trail – spanning the Philippines, the Indian sub-continent, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and China. Gilpin Spice is inspired by that history and the dishes follow the spice trail along the silk road – from Whitehaven all the way to Japan. With a keen passion for personally sourced quality spices from farms who believe in nature, and picking the tastiest dishes of every nation, guarding the authenticity of each dish whilst giving it a unique twist.
Adam Reid at The French – The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS – T: 0161 2354780
Luxury Restaurant Club members and guests (up to a maximum party of 6) enjoy a complimentary glass of English sparkling wine on arrival – see details.
The River Restaurant at The Lowry Hotel – 50 Dearmans Place, Chapel Wharf, Manchester, M3 5LH – T: 0161 827 4000
Luxury Restaurant Club members exclusively dines complimentary when dining with one or more guests on days shown – see details.
Grafene – 55 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ – T: 0161 6969700
Created as the City outpost to its sister property Losehill House Hotel & Spa, Grafene is the brainchild of Paul and Kathryn Roden and designed to replicate their successes and bring relaxing dining experiences from the country to the city. Grafene is a mix of City restaurant and stylish cocktail bar. With an island bar and open pastry kitchen in the heart of the restaurant, there is plenty for diners to feast their eyes on. Head Chef Ben Mounsey has created a menu as a reflection on modern British life. Showcasing British eccentricity with an often-eclectic combination of ingredients, dishes on the menu include cleverly reconstructed classics and plates to challenge a diner’s perception of familiar foods.
Wood – Jack Rosenthal Street, First Street, Manchester, M15 4RA – T: 0161 2365211
The concept of WOOD – Manchester is unintimidating high-end dining, bringing together passion and creativity with powerful flavours – delivered with playful authenticity. Seasonal inspiration is found throughout the menu with modern interpretations on traditional flavours in a stylish yet relaxed dining experience. The North West’s only Masterchef winner, Simon Wood, famed for his octopus and squab pigeon in the 2015 series of the show, has created a stylish yet relaxed dining experience offering high-end food.
The Galloping Major at Oddfellows on the Park – Bruntwood Park, Cheadle, Manchester, SK8 1HX – T: 0161 6973066
Luxury Restaurant Club members and guests enjoy a three-course menu for the price of a two-course menu and a complimentary glass of Perrier-Jouët – see details.
Sticky Walnut – 11 Charles Street, Hoole, Chester, Cheshire, CH2 3AZ – T: 01244 400400
Sticky Walnut is an honest, decent and resoundingly excellent local bistro. The food is of an international standard, but the determinedly modest and low-key approach of chef-patron Gary Usher ensures that the atmosphere is easy, warm and approachable. The rainbow of flavours he conjures out of old-time cuts of meat, crisply fresh vegetables and top-notch local produce is impressive. The small, cosy dining room has an intimate but skilled feel to it. You know you’re in the hands of an expert with every mouthful and nothing is too much trouble for the friendly, laid-back staff.
Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor – Eastgate, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1LT – T: 01244 895618
The Looking Glass by Oddfellow’s – 20 Lower Bridge Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 1RS – T: 01244 354454
A unique dining experience to excite your taste buds awaits at Oddfellows. The Garden presents inspired menus which can be enjoyed inside or out, all day and night in the eccentric surroundings of the distinctive Oddfellows contemporary design. Fresh, delicious and vibrant menus have been created using local produce whenever possible, start the day with a tasty brunch, stop by for a light lunch, savour the decadence of an afternoon tea or wind down at the end of the day with a dish from the a la carte menu whilst enjoying a bottle of something chilled.
Luxury Restaurant Club members receive a 20% reduction off the total food bill – see details.
Crystal Restaurant at Nunsmere Hall Hotel – Tarporley Road, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2ES – T: 01606 889100
The elegant 4 red star Nunsmere Hall Hotel is a grand Victorian mansion in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, with beautiful gardens and bounded on three sides by a magnificent 60-acre lake. Crystal Restaurant, Nunsmere Hall’s fine dining restaurant, has twice been awarded ‘County Restaurant of the Year’ by the Good Food Guide and it is easy to see why. The dining room is elegant and sophisticated, ideal for a romantic liaison, and the Modern European cuisine is created using fresh, local Cheshire produce wherever possible.
Luxury Restaurant Club members exclusively dine complimentary when dining with one or more guests – see details.
The Church Green – Higher Lane, Lymm, Cheshire, WA13 0AP – T: 01925 752068
The Church Green is a gastropub in Lymm, Cheshire, owned and run by chef Aiden and Sarah Byrne. Aiden was the youngest chef to ever receive a Michelin-star at 22 years old, and has worked at several Michelin starred venues since included Tom Aikens and at the Pied à Terre. This is his first owned venue. It offers an extensive list of small plates, an appealing set selection and a grill menu where you choose the cut, then add sauce and extras. Diners can eat inside the restaurant by the roaring fire, or in the garden and large decked area outside.
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