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Oliver At Bollington Reviewed

Deanna Thomas likes a new experience in the hills

Written by . Published on July 29th 2013.

Oliver At Bollington Reviewed

I’VE never been to Bollington.

If it hadn’t been for this review, I wouldn’t have even known where it was. But I’m not here to write about the latest city centre outpost of a London chain, or another ‘dirty burger’, I’ve been asked to report on independent restaurants worth a try within 30 miles of Albert Square.

Chef Scott had tweaked them with a hint of smoked cheese rendering them so luxuriously good, I couldn’t believe my taste buds.

Oliver at Bollington Green is a reasonable 17.8 miles (Are you sure, I thought it was 17.7miles? Ed) from Manchester Town Hall, down the A34 past Cheadle and Wilmslow, left a bit after Prestbury and through beautiful rolling Cheshire countryside. Its dark grey stone terraced houses and hilly streets make Bollington look more like a Derbyshire village than a Cheshire one and it turns out, the boundary of the Peak District National Park just enters the parish border.

Oliver opened in summer 2011 and is a family run restaurant next door to The Lime Tree, another independent making a good effort. Did they set up in Bollington so they could be jolly about referring to themselves as ‘Olly at Bolly’? Still it works better than ‘Gordo in Stretfordo’.

Oliver Exterior

Oliver Exterior

The restaurant is fresher than it looks on their website which shows a lot of purple. Purple is the default colour for lazy restaurant designers who imagine it represents opulence. Oliver is mostly cream with only touches of purple and feels light and open despite only having space for about 30 covers.

Oliver Interior

Oliver Interior

Head chef, Scott Oliver showed early culinary promise, like Andrew Nutter with whom he worked,  before spending the next four  years at the Black Horse Inn at Clifton, West Yorks. He worked his way up the brigade before landing a head chef position at the age of 22 at The Woodlands Hotel in Leeds. Like Nutter, he’s clearly earned his stripes enough for dad to put his money down and invest in a restaurant.

As well as picking up skills in Yorkshire, Scott also picked up his girlfriend Jaydean who completes the team as restaurant manager. I was also visiting as a ‘mystery diner’ for the Restaurant Association of Cheshire so had a long list of things to secretly look for and ask. I couldn’t catch Jaydean out; she knew every answer to every question I threw at her about the dishes and provenance of ingredients. I was just left slightly disappointed when my husband refused to pretend to be blind so I could test ‘whether she was prepared to read the menu to him’ (question 5C).

We perused the menu over a jar of home-marinated olives and some warm popcorn. I started to pick at the homemade caramelised onion swirls but in no time I’d pretty much unravelled it until only crumbs remained.

Flash seared scallops (main picture, top of the page) with bacon crust and pease pudding was beautifully presented on a glass plate and perfectly cooked but describing the freshly macerated green peas as ‘pease pudding’ might be pushing it. As I’d bagsied the scallops, husband went for Whitby crab, lemon, lime and herb croquette. It was the right side of fishy and so light, it was grounded by a solid but not overwhelming chive aioli and spicy tomato, fennel relish.

Despite the menu changing seasonally, the meat-based main course choices were more suited to autumn/winter. We’d visited during the recent heat wave and found ourselves sweatily ruminating on venison with black pudding and seared duck with spiced red cabbage whilst the ceiling fans above us worked hard to just push the warm air round a bit. I suggest they bring the new menus forward.



We ordered one too many side orders. I went for buttered snow peas as, despite the red cabbage, I like a bit of something green and crunchy on my plate. Roast vegetables (swede, parsnip and squash) were more Merry Christmas than Mediterranean but it was the truffled chips which threatened to take us over the weight allowance. They were chef’s ‘chips’ that are more like box shaped roasties – nobody is fooled.

However, I’m unnecessarily griping over what were actually well cooked, delicious and decent sized main courses but must highlight particularly the awesome deliciousness of the cauliflower cheese and potato beignets that came with my duck. Chef Scott had tweaked them with a hint of smoked cheese rendering them so luxuriously good, I couldn’t believe my taste buds.



They’ve got a strong dessert menu which includes a ‘tonka bean crème brulee’. Tonka didn’t mean they’d put a toy in it but that it had been infused with a bean that gave it a cherry/almond flavour. That was likely to give me gout after two rich courses so I opted for an ‘affogato’. If you’ve never had one, it’s not an Italian’s way of saying he can’t remember, but a perfect solution for those who can’t choose between coffee and pudding. You pour a shot of hot espresso into a tall glass of ice cream – creamy homemade amaretto in this case, then you both eat, and drink it down.



Our venture into Bollington was as successful as I hope this restaurant will be. In fact I’d enjoyed it so much I told my husband that if he’d taken me there on a first date, I’d definitely see him again.

You can follow Deanna Thomas on Twitter @DeannaThomas 


Oliver at Bollington, 22 High Street, Bollington, Cheshire, SK10 5PH, 01625 575 058 

Rating: 15/20 
Food 8/10 
Ambience 3/5
Service 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

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JonJuly 29th 2013.

Surprised that this is not nearer to 20/20. In particular the service,which I think is excellent. I do understand your point about your main meal not being suited to the weather. I've been to Oliver's several times and it is without doubt the best Cheshire has to offer and I'm hard pushed to think of anywhere in Manchester that do what Oliver's do as well.

FoodieJuly 29th 2013.

I am surprised they didn't put spring onions on the affogato too

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2013.

The food is great - but the decor could do with a shake up - it feels a bit DFS at the moment.

Mark Garner The PublisherSeptember 4th 2013.

Prices Please. Otherwise excellently written.

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