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Cheshire Life Luncheon - Allium by Mark Ellis, Tattenhall

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 November 2017

Fire Pit: beetroot tart, ewes curd, parsley oil

Fire Pit: beetroot tart, ewes curd, parsley oil

Archant

Allium by Mark Ellis in Tattenhall took ‘seasonal’ to a new level at our latest Cheshire Life lunch

Not yet a year old and Allium in Tattenhall has already acquired an enviable reputation, thanks to the passion and creativity of owner and chef Mark Ellis and his team.

There’s a confidence about this delightful restaurant that’s not misplaced and which made it the perfect venue for a lively Cheshire Life luncheon celebrating the flavours of autumn.

Mark, former Head Chef at Peckforton Castle and Great British Menu contender, admits he hasn’t looked back since he opened the restaurant in this pretty village in February.

‘It couldn’t be going any better. We’ve had some great support and it has really helped us,’ says Mark, before heading back into the kitchens to put the finishing touches to an imaginative three courses for Cheshire Life guests at the autumnally flavoured luncheon.

Mark Ellis and Chefs Mark Ellis and Chefs

It is, he admits one of his favourite times of the year for produce, even more so since they started growing their own soon after acquiring Lynedale House on High Street as a restaurant with rooms.

‘We’re really lucky here,’ says Mark.

‘ We didn’t realise when we first took on the building how much space we had and we either thought we’d use it as a car park or, brainwave - let’s just grow our own veg!’

Since the spring they’ve had an abundance of produce, including beets, carrots, onions and raspberries and although ‘seasonal and local’ has become something of a cliché in the restaurant world that is precisely what Allium has been serving up to its guests.

Allium by Mark Ellis Allium by Mark Ellis

‘What is even better for us is that as a new business it has cut our costs down and the food tastes incredible,’ Mark reveals.

‘When you can go outside and pick your raspberries ten minutes before service, it is amazing. You really find out exactly what they are supposed to taste like.’

The great start has been compounded by mentions in the Michelin and Hardman food guides and a nomination for small hotel and boutique accommodation by Marketing Cheshire.

‘For a sleepy little village like Tattenhall I feel like we’ve come out of the hurdles sprinting,’ says Mark.

Vee Zielonka, Kat Smith Vee Zielonka, Kat Smith

‘To encourage diners you need to have something different to what else is in the area. What we found in our research is that people want a town experience, but out of town.’

To showcase the fact Allium has an offbeat approach to both food and drink, guests were welcomed with glasses of Medici Ermete “Concerto” Lambrusco Rosso Secco from Italy, not the fizzy pop that you might find on the shelves of your local supermarket but a clean tasting palate-awakener packed with red berry fruit flavours.

The first course was a beautifully refined beetroot tart, featuring crisp flaky pastry and beets that are cooked outside in Allium’s firepit for two hours and as a result they are sweet and soft. There’s an intense beetroot reduction and ewe’s curd and parsley oil that elevates the dish from rustic to something that’s quite elegant.

A trio of chicken came next, including a breast that had been poached and roasted, confit leg and a ravioli that had been stuffed with chicken mousse... light flavours for a luncheon yet still reminding us of the season, as did a vegetarian main of ravioli packed with sweet squash and adorned with herbs, kale and mushrooms which Allium grow in their own garden.

Bringing the meal to a very pleasing conclusion was Pavlova, a pretty dome of meringue which topped a just-tart-enough lemon cream and was surrounded by jewel-like drops of passion fruit jelly.

‘Cooking the lunch has been a blast,’ Mark tells me.

‘It’s all about Autumn, it’s my favourite time of year for produce. I love it.’

MENU

To start

Fire Pit: beetroot tart, ewe’s curd, parsley oil

To continue

Trio of chicken: Poached and roasted breast, confit leg and chicken mousse ravioli, kale

Roasted crown prince squash and mushrooms, kale (v)

To finish

Pavlova: Lemon cream, passion fruit jelly, meringue

To drink

Medici Ermete “Concerto” Lambrusco Rosso Secco, Emiligia-Romagna, Italy

Montmeyrac vin blanc

Montmeyrac vin rouge

Details

Allium by Mark Ellis

Lynedale House, High Street, Tattenhall CH3 9PX 01829 771477

www.theallium.co.uk

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