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Est Est Est Knutsford

Gordo first went to Estx3 many years ago; the formidable husband and wife team that are The Lillys had started the chain, Derek Lilly straight from his deep sea diving job in the North Sea.

Written by . Published on June 1st 2006.


Est Est Est Knutsford

Gordo first went to Estx3 many years ago; the formidable husband and wife team that are The Lillys had started the chain, Derek Lilly straight from his deep sea diving job in the North Sea. 80 per cent of all new restaurants fail in the first year. Derek Lilly certainly wasn’t one of them, he built a chain, sold out, trousered millions and then set up the Restaurant Bar and Grill chain along with the formidable Piccolinos group. It is rumoured that the Bramhall branch is the highest take per square foot of any restaurant in the UK. Some going. Derek sold out again a year or so ago, trousering another big fat multi-million pound pay out. He is an ace bloke to boot.

In the meantime, Living Ventures finished up owning Estx3, a group started out by Tim Bacon, who was a barman in TGI Fridays in Covent Garden. Tim is another feller you won’t find in the 80 per cent failure zone. A slick operator with a raft of outlets of good quality, notably The Living Room on Deansgate, a template for many (usually poorer) imitations.

Having bought the Estx3 chain, they set about refurbishing them all. Are you people keeping up? Not boring you too much? The point is that Gordo didn’t like his experiences at the chain post Derek moving out and prior to Tim’s troops moving in, some years later. All children’s parties and pretend Italian food, poorly cooked and atrociously served. What Derrick gave us a decade ago had faded not just at the edges but across the page.

Gordo decided to visit the newly refurbished Estx3 outlet in Knutsford to see what has happened since. The whiteness has gone. In fact the place has become a mellow chocolate brown affair that is prevalent throughout the group. It makes for a great atmosphere, which is one of things that Tim’s team are good at. A complete and total change. The menu has been brought up to date.

Stuzzichini are nibbles to share; Bruschetta, Garlic Bread are first rate. The olives are fantastic. All in the £2.50 to £4.00 range. Antipasti is well represented with many dishes the reader will be familiar with, but cooked and served with a care and professionalism they will only really get from restaurants dotted across the UK owned by single families of Italian origin, or the very rare chains that pay huge attention to getting and keeping it right. These guys are doing it spot on. The best test is Antipasto Misto; mixed house starters which will demonstrate clearly if the chef is paying attention to detail. The cured meats were authentic in origin, freshly cut. Theses guys are doing it right. £9.95 to share.

Pasta, Risotti and Pizzas are covered, Orechietti al Salmone looked a winner at £8.75, as did the Checa Pizza; vine tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, parma ham and basil; looked really terrific on its way past to another table. £7.75.

Main course fish sees Baked Whole Lemon Sole (£14.95) and Steamed Sea Bass, £15.95, amongst a choice of four. Gordo would have liked to have seen a bigger choice here, particularly shellfish?

There are no less than eleven ‘main courses from the land’. Gordo had the Saltinbocca alla Romana, (£17.95), a veal cutlet with parma ham and sage served with baked rosemary potatoes. It was outstanding, a dish which can be seen and tasted in Gordo’s mind three weeks later. Good standards are expected of Tim’s troops, but not necessarily totally memorable dishes. This was one of those, the Chef needs a bonus. Other good looking dishes to Gordo’s mind were Filetto al Marsala, (£18.95), a marsala and porcini mushroom sauce with French Beans, as well as a simple Petto di Pollo al Limone, (£11.95), looking good as it wafted past Gordo's table.

A good indication of quality in a Chinese restaurant are Chinese people eating there. Gordo was delighted to see that Marco, Maitre d’ at the Malmaison and Italian through and through was on the table behind him. You can’t get a better recommendation than that.

Gordo finished with Calzone Nocciole, Cioccolato e Marscapone (£4.50). Do not eat this. It is too good. Very naughty

Gordo liked this place, cooking and menus are similar to Piccolinos, but the general feel is more comfortable here. You could do the family celebration, the quick visit before the cinema; the swift business lunch, as you can at Piccs. However, additionally, this place is better for a romantic dinner or a long dressed up evening with friends.

Frankly, Gordo doesn’t know why Tim’s team has kept the Est Est Est branding. This is a far better offering than the bad old days in the wilderness. In the meantime we look forward to the re-branding of the Manchester Estx3 as Grill on the Alley. Kobe beef! Lets see more seafood guys, Livebait is looking tired and boring. Thanks to Ross McKenzie for pointing out that Kobe beef is spelt Kobe, not Coby. Gordo must have been dreaming of Coby Langford at the time.

14.5/20

A Gordo Go

They have a useful website: www.EstEstEst.co.uk

Est Est Est
81 King Street,
Knutsford,
Cheshire,
WA16 6DX

Tel: 0870 40 12 117

Gordo
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Latest Rants

Anonymous

It had similar, next to Puccinis, which always had fights and stabbings. So, I'm going to disagree.

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Anonymous

Swinton desperately needs a Wetherspoon

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Scholesey

I would not step foot into anywhere that promotes Yewnited.........ever! Just sayin............

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Anonymous

My thoughts exactly. That dish looks terrible.

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