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Cheshire Life Luncheon - Queen Hotel, Chester

PUBLISHED: 20:09 28 March 2016 | UPDATED: 20:09 28 March 2016

An assiette of five individual desserts

An assiette of five individual desserts

Archant

The Queen Hotel in Chester turned on the wedding style for a Cheshire Life lunch, writes Rebekka O’Grady

Cheshire Life guests at our most recent lunch at The Queen Hotel in Chester enjoyed a first class wedding experience. Management at this historic city centre venue were keen to showcase the VIP style and service that wedding couples and their guests enjoy here. The Queen, recently taken over by Hallmark Hotels from the Feathers group,has over 160 years of heritage, and there are ambitious plans to develop the venue into the standout hotel in Chester.

‘Moving forward with Hallmark, there will be new investment into the hotel and development and refreshment of the menus,’ said group executive head chef, Simon Davies, who has been at the Queen for ten years. The hotel has a two AA rosette restaurant, The King’s Grill.

‘I was born near Holyhead in North Wales into a farming background, so I have a real interest in butchery and the cuts of meat we use here. As a company, we already have and are looking to further train and develop chefs with days out to places such as Fleetwoods to see how the fish is sourced and to local butchers.’

A passion for perfection was reflected in the menu for our lunch, which started with a selection of canapés, including smoked salmon pancakes and king prawns, at the drinks reception. Prosecco was flowing as guests were serenaded by singer Clare Walker, before being shown into the Colonnades Suite.

Head Chef, Simon Piers Davies with Lisa Johnston and Allan DaviesHead Chef, Simon Piers Davies with Lisa Johnston and Allan Davies

The room, set out as it would be for a wedding, featured bejewelled chair dressings, floral centrepieces and giant ‘LOVE’ light letters, as well as a grand top table with ‘Posh and Becks’ style thrones for the would-be bride and groom – or in our case, Cheshire Life editor Louise Allen-Taylor and her guests.

For starters, a minted pea soup with a timbale of pea risotto was served, along with its very own ‘CL’ crouton topper. Flavoursome but not with an overly ‘veggie’ taste, the soup had a lovely rich texture with a subtle hint of mint. The risotto added body. To drink, diners had a choice of Plate 95 Malbec or Sauvignon Blanc. I opted for the latter, a fresh and zesty Chilean white with ripe tropical fruit notes.

Simon’s main course was a feast for the tastebuds: ballotine of English chicken with sun blushed tomato and pancetta mousse - an explosion of Mediterranean flavours. Paired with potato fondant, beetroot puree and a thyme and white wine jus, it was delicious. The unusual addition of crispy chicken skin added an addictive saltiness.

You may wonder how anyone could eat a dessert after all that. The Queen chefs presented an assiette of five desserts, all too tempting to resist. We were served Black Forest gateau, profiteroles, strawberry mousse, and my favourite two, tangy lemon tart and a sumptuous banoffee pie.

Jonathan Gould,  Jenna Maher and Jamie CarterJonathan Gould, Jenna Maher and Jamie Carter

Light, fresh and oozing spring flavours, the lunch was a joy. Using ingredients such as root vegetables in season and colour scattered over the plate not only lifted the senses, but made for a superb meal.

From the menu:

To start

Minted pea soup served with a timbale of pea risotto

To continue

Ballotine of English chicken with sun blushed tomato and pancetta mousse

Served with a selection of seasonal vegetables

To finish

An assiette of five individual desserts

To drink

Plate 95 Malbec

Plate 95 Sauvignon Blanc

Details

Queen Hotel, City Road, Chester, CH1 3AH

Tel: 01244 305000, www.feathers.uk.com/premier-queen-hotel

Prices

The King’s Grill:

Lunch and dinner: starters from £6.00, mains from £16.00, desserts from £6

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