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Nutters Restaurant

Susan Hall, joins the Confidential team, and journeys to Rochdale to sample a bit of Pennine Gothic at Nutters

Published on March 26th 2008.


Nutters Restaurant

Nutters is big. Actually, Nutters is the Addams Family's English timeshare, all pointy-arched windows and superfluous turrets, brooding down upon the conurbation below with a wholly Lancastrian arrogance. "Someday, son, all this will be yours."

Andrew Nutter's approach seems to be inspired by his architecture: solid, quirky and aimed at guests who may have battled horizontal hail to be here tonight.

It must be fabulous for functions. Next time I'm planning a murder mystery dinner for a bunch of gourmets I know exactly who I'm going to call. Six acres of grounds on the edge of the moors above Rochdale and a wine list to die for.

Unfortunately, the factors which make it great for functions probably tell against it for more intimate dining. On arrival we were shown into an area which had the feel of a hotel bar in an up-market chain, perhaps a legacy from the 70s, when Whitbread owned the building. Back then the brewery extended the place and you can still see the joins. High-Victorian Gothic meets Life on Mars.

The menus arrived accompanied by a plate of delicate chicken-and-mushroom wontons which we inhaled almost before the dish touched the table. Cracking start, Gromit!

Nutters' wine-list is about as long as Wuthering Heights and rather stronger on plot and characterisation. However, there were only two of us and Russ was driving. Time to look at half bottles. Among the excellent selection was one of my all-time favourites: Chateau Musar 1997, from the Lebanon. Wine sorted, now to choose the food.

Once we’d been taken through to our table the impersonal feel dissipated. The dining room has several levels, with plenty of quiet corners. Also, its high ceilings turn into a welcome heat-and-noise sink as the restaurant fills up, even if it was pretty chilly when we first arrived.

The Bride of Dracula theme set by the décor was carried through into the hot rolls: we were offered an aromatic choice of rosemary or black-pudding. Or at least, I gather there was a choice. Russ whipped the black-pudding ones before I could blink. The rosemary ones were good, though.

Russ started with vine tomato and sweet potato soup with garden herb pesto (£4.80): very pretty and with a good, ripe tomato flavour. I opted for crispy Goosnargh duck confit with celeriac remoulade and tangy sauce vierge (£7.80). Don't ask me about the remoulade. Given the contrast between immaculately crisped fat and succulent duck flesh practically anything else on the plate seemed an irrelevance. I'd have settled for a bread-roll to sop up the juices. Especially a particularly fine black-pudding bread-roll, come to think of it.

For starters, the portions were generous. Andrew Nutter's approach seems to be inspired by his architecture: solid, quirky and aimed at guests who may have battled horizontal hail to be here tonight.

Our main courses had excellent ingredients and were lovingly treated, but didn't quite gel as a whole. My flash-seared fillet of salmon served with sautéed new season potatoes, diver caught scallops and a lemon and dill hollandaise (£17.95) was a classic case of a support act overshadowing the main billing. The accompanying scallops were so delicate and sweet as to make the salmon almost redundant.

Russ chose flash seared fillet of Tabley Brook beef with caramelised baby onions, potato bon-bon and green peppercorn sauce (£19.25). Either the peppercorn sauce was subtle in the extreme or it had been left out, leaving the dish bland, though he reported that the beef was tender, well flavoured and done exactly as he’d asked for. The potato bon-bon was a bit baffling, though: a squash-ball sized croquette with a mystery cheese filling.

We finished with a selection of Lancashire cheeses (£6.95) and trio of chocolate (£7). Each was, in its own way, the highlight of the meal.

Russ went for the chocolate trio, though since he has an allergic reaction to the word blancmange, he nearly missed it. Chocolate blancmange in Nutters-speak is an intensely creamy cocoa-y concoction served in a miniature kilner jar. Accompanied by two stunning tortes.

So, overall: a very good but not outstanding experience, enlivened by a few lightning flashes of brilliance.

At £90.55 for two exclusive of service and with only a toe dipped into its wine lake, Nutters is on the pricey side. However, it's definitely one we'll be thinking of for a suitable future occasion. Hallowe'en, Walpurgisnacht, Lammastide...

Rating: 16/20
Breakdown: 8.5/10 Food
4/5 Service
3.5/5 Ambience
Address: Nutters
Edenfield Road
Norden
Rochdale
OL12 7TT
01706 650167
Website

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35 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Rob WaltonMarch 26th 2008.

I first went to Nutters when it was in the previus building, and it was fantastic. I think a move the a larger space changed the vibe somewhat and cartainly the level of service in the early days. Been since though and although I can kind of understand the timewarp comment above, the food spoke for itself (loud and clear).

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

I have been to Nutters on numerous occasions and I have never left dissatisfied. The service was always excellent and the food was too. Try the gourmet set menu where you get various dishes and are able to experience the brilliance of Nutters great food.

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

He paid exactly one million pounds for the new place not bad I suppose with all that land

DeborahMarch 26th 2008.

the food and the place staff ect was excellant people who slag this place off are mental and classless

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

Visited this superb restaurant twice, once for Sunday lunch which was gorgeous, wonderful food and perfect service at a reasonable price - compare city centre restaurants cooking to similar standard and see what you pay... second time to enjoy a Nutters masterclass, mini bacon butties and coffee, cookery demo followed by a 3 course meal cooked by the man himself. We had an absolutely wonderful time, as it appeared so did everyone else present, and our only niggle is that it's so far from Stockport. I can't believe some of the over the top criticisms of this great restaurant. If you haven't visited then don't be put off, it's definitely worth a visit.

GeorgeMarch 26th 2008.

Nutters is excellent. Well done to the family

ClareMarch 26th 2008.

My mum had her wedding reception here (being from Rochdale, she must have been saving for years...), and it was fantastic. They do a tasting menu, which is impressive, and I think, cheap for what you get. The only thing I would say is the ambience of the place is often very quiet and cold.

JIM & NADEMarch 26th 2008.

We went to Nutters to celebrate a birthday, the four of us really enjoyed the whole experience, the food was fantastic, especially the scallops starter!! If I was to change anything it would be the ambience of the place, just seemed a little too 'posh', to the point where we didn't want to take a picture in the main eating area incase we offended someone, overall though we loved it.

Jack FoleyMarch 26th 2008.

No, Paul, there are 2 n's in anonymous. You meant to tell Debbie that there aren't 3.

anon2March 26th 2008.

... and you might want to learn how to spell, use capital letters and apostrophes correctly... and you had the cheek to comment about brains, please.

RodMarch 26th 2008.

Take my advice Shorty and don't bother. There's a few people Rochdale way now gving Nutters a very wide berth. Restaurants in terms quality and service and have moved on thank god since the eighties. Nutters is stuck in an eighties timewarp - mullet still firmly clinging to its head. Think restaurant version of Peter Stringfellow and weep.

garry coverdaleMarch 26th 2008.

We prefered the old Nutters which had a better atmosphere and a more personal service.on our last trip there we didnt like the experiance and wrote a letter to Andrew which he chose not to respond to.Will not be going back againGAC

RodMarch 26th 2008.

Went to Nutters once. The food was terrible. Overpriced and tasted pretty much like works canteen food. We all got Yorkshire puds that tasted like and felt like cardboard. Terrible place that is 80s style over substance.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMarch 26th 2008.

Mr/Ms Anonymous removed your comment because it was simply pathetic and contravened the excessively rude rule below.

JoMarch 26th 2008.

Excellent restaurant lovely service I wish we had more places like this - ok the building's too big

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

Calm down Debs it only an opinion.

PaulMarch 26th 2008.

So your the one thats munching his todge

debbie FMarch 26th 2008.

Dear annonymous, I might be offended by your comment but coming from someone who cannot even spell their, or understands how to use punctuation i don't think you are worth the trouble. Guess you are not a brain surgeon.

PaulMarch 26th 2008.

Debbie F sorry to butt in but only one n in anonymous.

AlanMarch 26th 2008.

We had afternoon tea at Nutters last year to cheer ourselves up after an appalling lunch at Owd Betts.It was straight out of Miss Marple, with finger sandwiches and little cakes.Not the cheapest food, but very nice. Hopefully one day I'll be able to save up enough to eat dinner there, because us Rochdalians clearly shouldn't be able to afford it...

PaulMarch 26th 2008.

Good point.

A. SchweizerMarch 26th 2008.

I think this review gets it about right. Nutters is good and Andrew Nutter is capable of greatness, but there's room for improvement. The place does feel odd - like a Brewer's Fayre with silver service. In my experience the food is always satisfying, often delightful, but rarely sublime. However, I feel for a chef who has to cater for people (and restaurant critics) who select their wine before - and without consideration of - what they are going to eat.

heyMarch 26th 2008.

I think i might just have to try it for myself!

WayneMarch 26th 2008.

I agree that the dishes can be a bit crowded but I still adore Andrew Nutter's food. The venue is a bit cavernous too but it does add a lot to North Manchester - a touch of occasion and glamour to Rochdale. I go about four times a year and always enjoy it.

Say NO to NuttersMarch 26th 2008.

We USED to go to Nutters, but not anymore, the reason………… We were in another restaurant a couple of years ago and got speaking to a lovely elderly couple, they were in their eighties and just about the nicest couple you could ever wish to meet. They told us about their experience at Nutters. They had not even had a chance to take their coats off when a member of Nutters staff came over and said words to the effect of this place won’t be for you and ushered them out of the door! Well, if they aren’t good enough then neither are we. Ourselves (and others I have told this to) have never been back since. Shame on you Nutter.

ShortyMarch 26th 2008.

Emma- The Manor is my brightest childhood memory- we LOVED it!!!I've not been to Nutters yet- but only ever heard good things.

PaulMarch 26th 2008.

With Mr Nutter its all about cash we went to on of his over priced birthday parties the menu said champagne the bottles said cava on another occasion my fillet steak was stringy that was it they all ignored me from then on I don’t think he takes criticism very well so ill spend my pink pounds elswere

anon2March 26th 2008.

no need to be nasty anonymous.... you are demonstrating a clear lack of class with that comment.

Meddy538March 26th 2008.

We eat there often and still love it. The move from the old place was a mistake-it's lost it's intimacy.The food tho' is still fab & the Gourmet Meal (£35 per head for 6 courses) is great value.You'd pay more than that for 2 courses in Manchester.The Sunday lunch is also great value. It's also in a lovely setting-great in the summer. I'm happy to spend my pink pound there!

food muncherMarch 26th 2008.

nutters st georges feast totally amazing . the food and service as always first class . but the atmosphere was totally electric . everyone standing and singing to land of hope and glory . jerusalem and rule brittania . it made you proud to be english . well done to the nutters . just heard they won manchester restaurant of the year . well deserved !.

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

yeah didnt really rate nutters we went and had the taster menu also went to a wedding reception there which i imageine cost a bit but the food and service was a shambles

AnonymousMarch 26th 2008.

People in Rochdale probably couldnt afford to eat there if they sold thier house. even then, i doubt anyone living there has the brain capacity to find Nutters on the map. hence wide berth Roddyboy!

EmmaMarch 26th 2008.

Does anyone remember The Manor on this site? They used to make faces out of sweets on your ice cream. Brilliant!

CharlesMarch 26th 2008.

You daft, daft anonymous. I'm from Rochdale and loads of Rochdalians can afford Nutters, clearly you don't know the town, there is a lot of money in Bamford, Norden, Healey and elsewhere. I like Nutters and always choose to take guests there when I have them staying. The food is usually innovative, always interesting and as the writer says the wine is gorgeous.

RodMarch 26th 2008.

I think you need to have a lie down Anonymous. Before you start frothing at the mouth. I'm beginning to think you're a bit of a nutter yourself. As for Nutters (the restaurant) avoid like the plague unless you like lacklustre fod seved with a grimace.

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