Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards shortlist
PUBLISHED: 17:52 05 October 2010 | UPDATED: 17:56 20 February 2013
We reveal the shortlist for our prestigious Food and Drink Awards 2010
The presentation of Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards, sponsored this year by the celebrated local family brewer Frederic Robinson of Stockport, is now firmly established as one of the most glittering dates in the North Wests culinary calendar.
Its the night we reveal and reward the producers of the very highest standards of hospitality and purveyors of the finest quality food and drink in the region.
The coveted awards for the best hotels, best restaurants, and most prominent local food heroes, chosen by our panel of independent judges, will take place during a gala black-tie dinner at the historic Midland Hotel, Manchester, on October 26.
And in addition to the awards shortlisted here, two special presentations will be made on the night, to Cheshires food and hero and to the North West Chef of the Year.
There are no losers - all the shortlisted entries come very highly commended by the judges who criss-crossed the region during the summer months.
The panel comprised Roger Borrell, editor of Lancashire Life and editor-in-chief of Archants county magazines in the north; Louise Taylor, editor of Cheshire Life; food and drink writer Ray King, Lancashire Life cookery editor Philippa James, award winning caterer Rosemary Watts and Trevor Stone, Cheshire-based consultant and former executive responsible for catering at all AstraZenecas UK sites.
Cheshire Hotel of the Year
ABode Hotel, Chester
Located on the site of the former Cheshire Police HQ at the gateway to the historic city centre, this strikingly modern hotel enjoys a fabulous panorama over Chester racecourse towards the distant Welsh hills. Top-notch facilities are provided for both its business and leisure clientele, housed in stylish and contemporary surroundings, and the fifth floor Michael Caines Restaurant and Champagne Bar is outstanding.
Crewe Hall Hotel, Crewe
Boasting a dramatic setting, stunning period features and a two-AA Rosette restaurant alongside its new health spa, fitness centre and all the very latest business facilities, Q Hotels' Cheshire flagship, originally built in 1615 for Sir Ranulf Crewe, is a landmark in terms of architecture and hospitality. Crewe Hall thrives as a romantic wedding venue in splendidly elegant surroundings that were often, in a previous era, graced by royalty.
Doubletree by Hilton, Chester
Rebranded and upgraded by one of the world's most prestigious hotel groups, the carefully restored 18th century manor house Hoole Hall beautifully combines the past and the present, offering modern comforts and conveniences with traditional styling and decor on the outskirts of the city. Outstanding features include a luxury spa, state-of-the-art conferencing suites and Marco Pierre White's acclaimed Steakhouse, Bar and Grill restaurant.
Cheshire Restaurant of the Year
The Lawns Restaurant, Thornton Hall Hotel, Wirral
With two AA Rosettes, executive chef David Gillmore's accomplished cooking recently scored highest in the Mersey Partnership's Taste Liverpool initiative. After a 160,000 refurbishment, the dining room, with its exquisite hand-tooled ceiling inlaid with mother of pearl, offers a grand setting for fine dining on excellent modern European dishes created from the freshest ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
Michael Caines@ABode, Chester
Michael Caines, celebrated two-Michelin star executive chef at Gidleigh Park, put Stuart Collins, his trusted dedicated young protg from the acclaimed Devon hotel in charge of his eponymous new fifth floor restaurant in Chester and the result has been sublime. Dishes are innovative and immaculately conceived and the "grazing menu" in the chic, contemporary dining room, is an experience not to be missed.
Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, Chester
Retention of a Michelin star for 20 consecutive years and the award of four AA Rosettes - one of only 26 restaurants in the country to be so feted - tells its own story of consistent excellence at Chester's most famous and prestigious hotel's restaurant. It offers contemporary dining in an atmosphere of chic sophistication and can call upon one of the most extensive wine cellars in England.
Cheshire Dining Pub of the Year
Bells of Peover, Knutsford
It's a cause for great celebration that one of the most iconic inns in Cheshire, if not the entire country - it's where Generals Eisenhower and Patton plotted the D-Day landings - has been "liberated" by Stockport Brewer Frederic Robinson after many years languishing as part of a national chain. Tenants Darren and Grant Mercer have restored the Bells to its former glory and, in the Upstairs Restaurant, created a destination fine dining venue.
Dun Cow, Ollerton
Just over a year into its new management regime, this much loved country pub between Knutsford and Chelford, with its cosy nooks and crannies and low ceilings has won deserved plaudits for its hospitality. Head chef Marc Mattocks' use of the finest locally sourced ingredients for his restaurant quality dishes featuring modern takes on the best of traditional British cooking and an outstanding cheeseboard has won a loyal and devoted following.
Sutton Hall, Macclesfield
Once home to the Earls of Lucan, this 480-year-old former manor house in the foothills of the "Cheshire Alps" boasts no less than seven separate dining areas but retails the snug and cosy atmosphere of a proper pub. The attractive and ambitious menu highlights hearty, rustic dishes featuring top class ingredients and served in generous portions and its real ale selection is complemented by a comprehensive, affordable wine list.
City Restaurant of the Year - Manchester
Obsidian, city centre
The basement of the Arora Hotel not only boasts one of the most sophisticated cocktail bars in the north of England, but also, alongside, an uber-stylish restaurant whose menu celebrates the best of local produce fashioned into contemporary British dishes. Breast of wood pigeon, Cheshire rib-eye and hake paired with smoked eel point towards commendable pride in seasonality and provenance of excellent ingredients.
Rosso, city centre
The Edwardian baroque marbled splendour of Manchester's most palatial former banking hall now houses a chic and stylish Italian restaurant co-owned by Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand. Despite the celebrity connections, it's the food that's the star player here with a menu to delight all lovers of cucina Italiana from well-crafted risotto, pizza and pasta to sophisticated dishes featuring, in particular, a fine array of fish and seafood.
Stock, city centre
Manchester's former Stock Exchange, with its soaring domed ceiling, provides the elegant backdrop for one of the city's best respected Italian restaurants. Executive chef and founder Enzo Mauro presides over a kitchen where only the finest, freshest ingredients will do, ensuring an abundance of market fresh specials to compliment the authentic, modern Italian dishes on the main menu. The range of Italian wines here is second to none in the city.
City Restaurant of the Year - Liverpool
Jamie's Italian, city centre
Located in the heart of the huge Liverpool One development, this funky, casual restaurant is every bit as welcoming as you'd expect a Jamie Oliver operation to be and it has proved an instant hit with a growing army of fans. The food is authentic, rustic and simple, prepared with care and skill from the best available ingredients according to season, sourced locally and from Italy. Fresh pasta is made daily and the list of blackboard specials offers dishes that are always exciting.
Lunya, city centre
Styling itself "the UK's first Catalonian fusion deli and restaurant", Peter Kinsella's exciting new venture is quite simply the city's best Spanish eatery, located in stylishly converted 18th century warehouse. At the heart of the open kitchen is a wood-fired brick oven where traditional bread is baked and the exciting menu offers a range of authentic tapas and Iberian classics made from a combination of top-notch Spanish ingredients and the very best of local produce.
San Carlo, city centre
The favourite glitzy haunt of the stars and celebrity watchers alike, Carlo Distefano's vibrant ristorante has now established its presence amid glamorous surroundings in Castle Street with its customary pizzazz.
The atmosphere positively buzzes as authentic Italian dishes, with a commendable emphasis on fresh fish, is served with passion and brio.
North Wales Hospitality/Dining Excellence Award
Castell Deudraeth, near Portmeirion
Seventy years after Portmeirion's creator, the legendary Clough Williams-Ellis, sought to integrate this Victorian castellated mansion into his fantasy Italianate village, it finally opened as a hotel boasting 11 bespoke, contemporary bedrooms and brasserie-style restaurant, where head chef Peter Hedd Williams makes the most of superb local produce, especially seafood. The beautifully restored interior fuses fine traditional Welsh materials with cutting edge technology and design.
Kinmel Arms, St George
Lynn Cunnah Watson and Tim Watson's delightful restaurant with rooms, tucked away in a tiny village a stone's throw from the busy A55, offers luxury rooms and exquisite gourmet dining - rated five-star accommodation by the AA and Visit Wales and "one of the best places to eat in North Wales" by the respected Harden Guide. Tim's striking artwork graces the four superbly equipped suites and the seasonal menu, sourced from the best local ingredients, is a food lover's delight.
Seiont Manor, Llanrug
Set in 150 acres of grounds, surrounded by farmland, lakes and rivers and overlooked by Snowdon, this 18th century former manor house boasts 28 spacious, balconied bedrooms and a 40ft indoor swimming pool in addition to a two AA Rosette restaurant and newly-opened conservatory brasserie. Head chef Martyn Williams is justly proud of his traditional favourite dishes tweaked with accomplished modernity and made from exceptional local ingredients.