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Cheshire Life Luncheon - Spirit Restaurant, Warrington

PUBLISHED: 00:00 16 May 2016

Cheesecake, passion fruit, white chocolate, almond & sesame

Cheesecake, passion fruit, white chocolate, almond & sesame

Archant

Spirit restaurant, in an elegant Georgian house in Warrington, proved the perfect place to sample the flavours of the season

Spirit Restaurant proprietor, Prague Bhatnagar, with Clare Cotterill,  Janet Reeder and Jane Stacey Spirit Restaurant proprietor, Prague Bhatnagar, with Clare Cotterill, Janet Reeder and Jane Stacey

How could we not get into the spirit of spring at this Cheshire Life lunch at a restaurant housed in an elegant Grade II listed location?

Guests who had not previously visited Spirit restaurant in this beautiful manor house in Victoria Park, not far from Warrington town centre, Stockton Heath, Appleton and Grappenhall, were impressed by the location.

Spirit Restaurant and Lounge is a relaxed venue with views overlooking the park, and it was a lovely place to linger over a lunch celebrating the flavours of the season.

Spirit Restaurant kitchen team;  George Siwek, Kuba Rybkowski, Rick Barlow (Head Chef), Connor Slater and Josh Whitfield Spirit Restaurant kitchen team; George Siwek, Kuba Rybkowski, Rick Barlow (Head Chef), Connor Slater and Josh Whitfield

The menu at Spirit is described by our host, the proprietor, Prague Bhatnagar as ‘modern British’ but this has been given a twist by chef Richard Barlow and his talented team.

Prague was following a long-cherished dream to open a restaurant when he invested in the Manor House seven years ago.

‘The thing here is the relaxed dining atmosphere which attracts our customers,’ Prague tells me over a glass of a delightful summery Ksara Sunset Rose.

‘We are not fine dining, we provide good food in a nice place and the setting means it’s fantastic for weddings and parties too.’

With 14 staff Prague can ensure that the service is top-notch, which was certainly the case at this luncheon.

We had pre-drinks in the venue’s lounge area: a charming, bright room which has retained the stylishness of the original era with the addition of an impressive shiny bar stocked with a colourful array of bottles.

The wines for the occasion were provided by Hallgarten Druitt & Novum and included a delightful Ernst Gouws & Co Chenin Blanc that managed to power through the starter of salt beef hash croquettes, horseradish aoli and glazed shallot as well as complement a vegetarian option of whipped goats’ cheese, asparagus, orange, hazelnut and lemon thyme. Both dishes married creamy textures with more piquant flavour seamlessly.

The Loch Duart salmon, served with asparagus, cauliflower and smoked pepper vinaigrette was the perfect main course for lunch: light and packed with spring freshness. The vegetarians were served a hearty butternut squash and sage risotto with melting blue cheese and crisp fried pumpkin seeds. Both dishes gained further complexity from the accompanying Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc with its lovely grassy, fragrant depths.

Some guests had planned to skip dessert but found they just could not resist the temptation of the cheesecake! It was a lovely creamy concoction offset by the fresh fruity flavours of passion fruit, the sweetness of white chocolate and crunch of almond and sesame.

We drank a subtly fizzy Michele Choarlo Moscato d’ Asti Palas, which was reminiscent of that old 1970s’ favourite, Asti Spumante but a more sophisticated take on the traditional sometimes cloying sweetness of the original. It was a great lunchtime drink and it had only a five per cent alcohol content!

On the menu

To start

Salt beef hash croquettes, horseradish aoli & glazed shallot

Vegetarian -Whipped goats cheese, asparagus, orange, hazelnut and lemon thyme. Both dishes married creamy

To continue

Duart salmon, with asparagus, cauliflower and smoked pepper vinaigrette

Vegetarian - Butternut squash and sage risotto with melting blue cheese and crisp fried pumpkin seeds

To finish

Cheesecake, passion fruit, white chocolate, almond and sesame

To drink

Ksara Sunset Rose, Ernst & Gouws Chenin Blanc, Saint Clair Sauvignon Blanc, Michele Choarlo Moscato d’ Asti Palas

Details

Park Manor, Victoria Park, Knutsford Rd, Warrington, Cheshire WA4 1DQ

01925 232527

www.spiritrestaurant.co.uk

Opening times

Tuesday - Friday Lunch : 12.00 pm - 14.30 pm

Tuesday - Friday Evening : 17.30 pm - 22.00 pm

Saturday : 17.30 pm - 12.30 am

Sunday : 12.00 pm - 16.00 pm

Lunch menu

Two courses for £13.95 or three courses for £16.95

Early evening menu

Two courses for £16.95 or three courses for £19.95

A la carte

Starters from: £4.95 for Celeriac soup, kale pesto & roast shiitake mushrooms to £11.95 for Orkney scallops, saffron arancini, iberico chorizo & creamy cauliflower.

Mains from £14.95 for Smoked red pepper risotto, grilled halloumi, mint, watercress & walnut dukkah to £29.95 for Angus fillet steak, grill garnish, chips, peppercorn sauce

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