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Stables Restaurant Reviewed

Deanna Thomas is almost lost for words, almost

Written by . Published on April 10th 2014.


Stables Restaurant Reviewed
 

I've been writing about food long enough to have worked out it's not all about the food.

So all in all, it was fine. Some of it was good, some was ok, other bits worse, they are all very nice people.

Not everybody cares if I tell them the chef used mornay or béchamel sauce or whether the vegetables were cut into brunoise or mirepoix. 

What people want is to be entertained with a bit of good reading without getting bogged down in too much navel gazing detail. 

Of course using humour in a restaurant review can be tricky though and needs to be added carefully like salt or chilli because once it’s gone in, you can’t take it out. 

And all the time you have to be aware people’s livelihoods are at stake and it’s not fair for some soft-handed wordsmith to come along and judge on the day the pot washer called in sick or the meat delivery was late. 

 The Stables, Stockport Rd

 

The Stables, Stockport Road

Really bad meals are easy to write about, so are very good meals, but dining out rarely touches those extremes. Most dinners are pretty standard, with some better bits  than others: nice people serving reasonably ok food in an alright place, nothing special. There’s nothing wrong with it especially, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it or return. These are the hardest reviews to write. 

As self-styled surveyor of the suburbs, I try and find interesting places to eat around Greater Manchester away from the city centre so was encouraged when readers suggested The Stables Restaurant in Gee Cross, ‘a great little find in Hyde, near Stockport’.

First glance on their website was promising, “Stables is a family run restaurant and has been open since January 2007...modern English cuisine… meals are freshly made including terrines, sauces and desserts.”  

The Stables Window View

 

The Stables Window View

When we arrived at 1.15 there were only a couple of occupied tables but by the time we left all 30 covers were taken. The front of house staff was very organised, all one of her. She was one of those hospitality treasures who have that tacit capability that can’t be taught at any catering college. 

She simultaneously dealt with welcoming guests, serving, pouring drinks, clearing tables and issuing bills like a multi-tasking octopus. I’m sure if a customer needed the Heimlich manoeuvre halfway through the meal she would have delivered it calmly without batting an eyelid. 

The restaurant looked a little tired with the aural fug of a thousand meals. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple with wooden floors, tables and chairs but the faux leatherette place mats, folded burgundy napkins and ‘tasteful nudes’ on the wall made it look dated.

The Stables Bar

The Stables Bar

It was a Sunday afternoon when we visited so the menu was restricted to 5 choices of starter, main and dessert – 2 courses £12.95, 3 course £13.95. There was no children’s menu so our waitress had to recite the options; ‘sausage or chicken and chips or smaller portions of what’s on the menu’. £6.95. A couple of lines on the menu explaining this might have saved her a job.

‘Creamed Oyster Mushroom Pots with Welsh Rarebit’ started things off nicely enough with fresh tarragon cutting through the richness of the rest.  My ‘Chicken and Duck Pate with Spicy Tomato Chutney and Charred Brioche’ turned out to be excellent, clearly all handmade and was the highlight of the meal.

 Oyster Mushrooms

 

Oyster Mushrooms 

‘Pan Fried Sea bass, Seared Sapphire (sic), Red Pepper Coulis’ (£2 supplement) was pretty straight forward with decent roast spuds and a well executed  capsicum sauce, once again showing some technical skill. I was a bit disappointed with the sea green though, from the menu description I was expecting some gently warmed blue tinted gems or even a slug of gin.

Sea Bass And Sapphire

Sea Bass And Sapphire - my favourite Bond girls 

‘Roast Leg of Lamb, Sage & Onion Stuffing, Yorkshire Pudding and Proper Gravy (£2 supplement) was a bit of a mash up like they’d stuck 3 pins in a game of Sunday Lunch Bingo. A messy communal dish of watery mixed vegetables arrived looking a bit regurgitated.

Lamb Sunday Lunch

Lamb Sunday Lunch

As the restaurant began to get fuller, the room got stuffier and the service got progressively slower, so it was kind of at this point when we wondered why we were even there. The roast dinner was no better than the ones thousands of people across the country were knocking out in their own homes. 

I had to plough on to the desserts but my husband gave up and went out for some fresh air. The kids really enjoyed their home made Chocolate Brownie (£4.95) but it had a whiff of school dinner pudding about it. ‘Vanilla and Rhubarb Pannacotta’ had more of a cheesecake texture than some of the more over-gelatined efforts I’ve tried elsewhere.

Brownie

Brownie 

I was tempted to try one of the homemade ice creams advertised on the board (chocolate brownie/vanilla pod/Bailey’s fudge, all £1.65 per scoop) but got confused by the fact you could only order it on its own and were stuck with shop bought vanilla, custard or cream with your ordered pudding. 

They’re justifiably proud of their wine list and the owners have carefully selected a range of food compatible favourites under £30. My glass of ‘easy-drinking’ Chilean Carmenere (£4.45) really was, so I ordered two.

Panna Cotta

 

Panna Cotta 

So all in all, it was fine. Some of it was good, some was ok, other bits worse, they are all very nice people. I wouldn’t make a special effort to return and like the score says, despite me wanting it to be good and the kids giving it the thumbs up, go only if you’re passing or in the area for another reason.

You can follow Deanna Thomas on Twitter @deannathomas 

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE.

The Stables Restaurant 276 Stockport Road, Gee Cross, Hyde, Cheshire SK14 5RF. 0161 366 0300

Rating: 12.5/20 (remember venues are rated against the best examples of their type - see yellow box below)

Food: 6.5/10 (pate 8, mushrooms 7, lamb 4, sea bass 6, brownie 6, pannacotta 7)
Service: 4/5  
Ambience: 2/5 

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.

Plastic Place SettingPlastic Place Setting

Welcome BlackboardWelcome Blackboard

Side VegSide Veg

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

Hero
Rachel RossApril 10th 2014.

I love this place! if you ask you can get the homemade ice cream with dessert ;-)

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 10th 2014.

you shouldnt have to ask

Deanna ThomasApril 10th 2014.

I did ask. Computer said no.

Michelle PedleyApril 10th 2014.

I also love this place its nice to go on a Sunday afternoon with friends for lunch, Jo front of house always makes us feel so welcome. The sticky toffee pudding is yummy.

Nicola BrooksApril 10th 2014.

We've eaten here loads of times and the food and service are always really good, Yes, the décor is a little bit dated but the ambience is much better in the evening when it isn't quite so apparent. Definately worth a visit, best restaurant in the area and beats the competition hands-down.

Martin BennettJune 5th 2014.

This is definitely the best place to eat in Hyde, or Tameside for that matter.

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