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Alderley Edge Hotel and Restaurant

Mid-life crisis or finding themselves? We send Vanessa down to the The Alderley Edge Hotel and Restaurant to find out about 'interactive eating.'

Published on June 20th 2006.

Alderley Edge Hotel and Restaurant

Some might call it a mid-life crisis, others consider it “finding themselves”. And in the case of The Alderley Edge Hotel and Restaurant the latter is certainly more the fitting of the two.

God loves a tryer and Head Chef, Chris Holland and General Manager, Ahmet Kurcer will certainly have earned themselves a 1st class ticket to the pearly gates with the efforts towards adding smaller dishes and seasoning with a modern twist. For the most part it works.

Attention to detail is unquestionable, with delicious salmon and croque monsieur canapés served in the lounge area, as you’re swallowed by the plump furnishings. To be fair you need that time to settle down before your mind is boggled with a multiple choice menu of 17 options for starters and 12 mains. For the sparrows among us there’s also the option available of sample/smaller portions of two starters, two mains and two desserts.

After a mathematical process of elimination, we were shown to our table and served a shot glass of hot shellfish with vanilla foam, which my husband described as a ‘hangover’ cure. It’s an ambitious start and although rich with flavour, it was slightly chalky and just outstayed its welcome on the palate - perhaps best reserved till after the starter.

Luckily the selection of breads and kooky trio of parmesan and truffle, roasted nut and sea salt butter settled the taste buds down, easing us into the starters.

Seared Hand dived Scallops with a mouselline of English Asparagus (£9.95) were stylishly arranged on retro oblong white plates. The scallops were pulsating with juice and meatiness and complimented freshly by a cheeky experiment of asparagus – mousse, purée and chopped. There’s nothing worse than limp asparagus, but thankfully even the chopped ones had only been for a swift dip in the pan. My husband’s choice was Pot Roasted Foie Gras, Truffle Brioche, Sweet Dates and Rhubarb Coulis (£9.90) a sexy little ensemble of warm, deliciously gooey sweetness sprawled seductively on the crisp brioche. The neatly sized portions reassure that there’s plenty in reserve for the mains.

Our chosen wine was the very trendy New Zealand Cloudy Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, (£34), a lively white, kicking with grapefruit and a perfect accompaniment to the scallops.

The Braised Bellied Pork with spices served with crackling (£18.50) was a bit of a comedown from such a peach of an intro as it was drowning in gravy. Hearty, well seasoned and tender but although the accompanying Pak Choi was an oriental twist to what’s traditionally a renaissance dish, it (along with the butter nut mash) was struggling to stay afloat. So thank god, they redeemed themselves with the racy contender of the sautee of Horseshoe farm chicken with chorizo sausage and English parsley pesto (£15.50). Flavours exploded on time release, chorizo, followed by chicken and then the last kiss of parsley pesto.

There was a welcomed breather before the desserts as by this point food consumption was starting to rudely invade my ribcage. My dessert of Homegrown Rhubarb and Apple Pecan Crumble, Clotted Cream (£5.50) was tweely presented in white tea cups with a welling teardrop of clotted cream and the tartness of the fruit and the spice of the crumble balanced each other deliciously. And if it wasn’t for the burnt bottom of the Sticky Toffee pudding which made up the third component in the Trio of English Puddings (£6.50) which included Sherry Trifle, Fruit Crumble – the desserts would have known what sweet success tasted like. Sadly by the time the petit fours arrived, our pot bellies thought better of it.

This may well succeed as an interactive eating experience and the very fact that we were still there three and a half hours later is a positive reflection on ambiance and service. However, the down side to the wealth of food is that because taste buds are kidnapped and taken on a bit of a blind tasting, there is also a danger that they end up blind drunk.

The Alderley Edge Hotel and Restaurant sits elegantly on high and sighs tiresomely at the village of fast cars and fast chat-up lines, below. And if it’s old school service you’re after, then bypass the nouveau riche and head up the hill for a generous serving of traditionalism. 14/20

Vanessa Lees
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