Cheshire Life Diamonds and Tiara black tie dinner, Stanneylands Hotel, Wilmslow
PUBLISHED: 18:45 26 September 2012 | UPDATED: 15:26 26 April 2016
Guests of Cheshire Life and Stanneylands put on the glitz when the hotel staged an elegant 'diamonds and tiara' black tie dinner Words by Ray King Photography by Kirsty Thompson
So much gloom and doom...yet looking back on summer 2012, so much to celebrate. First the Queen’s sparkling Diamond Jubilee, then the Olympic gold rush.
Of course diamonds – jubilees at any rate - are not forever and the Olympic flame is now extinguished - but guests at Cheshire Life’s October diamonds and tiara dinner at Stanneylands Hotel certainly enjoyed putting the glitz back into this year’s celebrations. And from the welcoming flutes of Chapel Down Brut, one of England’s finest sparkling wines from Tenterden, Kent, to the champagne sorbet for the dessert finale, the party positively fizzed along.
It was the third Cheshire Life meal at this charming, four-star Edwardian country house hotel, set above the wooded Bollin Valley between Wilmslow and Manchester Airport and once again the headquarters of the Prima Hotels group proved the perfect setting for the occasion. The event in 2010 saw the Cheshire Life debut of Stanneylands’ head chef Richard Maun, recruited from the five-star Lowry Hotel in Salford only a few weeks earlier; his performance that night was full of rich promise. Now it is evident that Richard has truly grown into the role.
His ambitious menu was delivered with a high degree of skill, confidence and panache in the sumptuous surroundings of the hotel’s Oak Suite, its glorious wood panelling shimmering with a rich golden glow. Decorated with Stanneylands’ in-house florist Helen Claire’s magnificent floral creations, the room – a favourite venue for wedding ceremonies – looked fabulous. The relaxing ambience that pervades the entire hotel belies the fact that the airport runway is just three miles distant and road and motorway and mainline rail links are minutes away.
The dishes placed before us were no less spectacular than the setting. The starter, a picture-perfect collation of moist and creamy halibut served with a warm salad of razor clams and delicate, fleshy scallops given a fresh, seaside burst of samphire saltiness, was sensational and deserving of a marriage with fine wine. It got exactly that; Spy Valley Estate Pinot Gris from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, chosen and described by James Martin of Bibendum, delivered delicious apple notes and a lovely lick of honey.
The main course was that true culinary classic, beef Wellington, superbly executed by Richard and his brigade. The Cheshire fillet was an exemplary ingredient, beautifully tender in its light pastry envelope and served with an attactive array of baby vegetables and rich Madeira and truffle jus. Once again James Martin’s wine match was spot on: a real ‘food wine’, sophistication in a glass, a splendid claret from Chateau Bonnet in Bordeaux.
Dessert was not only a symphony of harmonious flavours but also one of the prettiest encountered all year. A delightful elderflower and summer fruit terrine was served with champagne sorbet and delicious strawberry meringue. Fantastic. The wine served alongside was the lovely, honeyed but non-cloying Muscat de Rivesaltes, Roussillon’s finest sweetie.
Tea, coffee and petit fours rounded off a night to remember.
The Stanneylands Hotel, Stanneylands Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4EY.
Tel: 01625 525225
A la carte starters from £5.50; mains from £19.50 (vegetarian £14.50); sides £3.50; desserts £6.95. Table d’hote three course dinner £31.50. Lunch £14.50 for two courses; £18.50 for three. Sunday lunch £23.50.
Calico Cafe Bar menu: sandwiches from £6.45; salads £9.50; Sharing plates £10.50 per person; mains from £9.50.
Cheshire Life dinner menu
Pan-roasted fillet of halibut, warm salad of razor clam, rock samphire and hand-dived scallops
Spy Valley Estate Pinot Gris 2010, Marlborough, New Zealand
Cheshire Beef Wellington, panache of baby vegetables, madeira and truffle jus
Chateau Bonnet Reserve 2006, Bordeaux, France
Elderflower and summer fruit terrine, champagne sorbet, strawberry meringue
Muscat de Rivesaltes 2011, J M Lafage, Roussillon, France
Tea, coffee and petit fours