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Cheshire Life Luncheon - Carden Park Luxury Country Hotel

PUBLISHED: 00:00 23 November 2014 | UPDATED: 19:58 08 October 2017

Clockwise from top - canapes, starter, main and dessert

Clockwise from top - canapes, starter, main and dessert

Archant

A major facelift is taking place at Carden Park, near Chester. But guests at this month's Cheshire Life lunch discovered, the restaurant is already in excellent order

Dining roomDining room

It’s back to the future at Carden Park. The multi award-winning Cheshire country hotel, spa and golf resort is poised to become independent once again amid the pending break-up and sale of the de Vere group, which has managed the hotel for a number of years.

The move, along with exciting plans for a ‘top to bottom’ refurbishment of all 200 rooms and, in January, an extensive remodelling of the bar, restaurant and lounge areas, was announced by general manager Hamish Ferguson as guests gathered for Cheshire Life’s December luncheon at Carden Park.

Reassuringly, the team that will take the hotel forward into the new era under the ownership of businessman and philanthropist Steve Morgan OBE, chairman of the Bridgemere group, founder of Redrow plc and owner of Wolverhampton Wanderers, is headed by the same people who developed and launched the hotel in the late 1990s.

Mr Ferguson has been rejoined by executive chef Graham Tinsley, one of the most accomplished professionals in the business, who was appointed to the Carden Park launch team in 1997 from a similar role in the development and opening of St David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe.

Executive Head Chef, Graham Tinsley (Centre) and team (from the left); Etienne Lassalle,  Deborah Denne,  Ben Valentine,  Bobby Brassington,  Karen Wild and Sam Small (Conference & Banqueting Manager)Executive Head Chef, Graham Tinsley (Centre) and team (from the left); Etienne Lassalle, Deborah Denne, Ben Valentine, Bobby Brassington, Karen Wild and Sam Small (Conference & Banqueting Manager)

Canapés including miniature prawn cocktails, salmon sushi and mini Scotch eggs, accompanied by Carden Park vineyard’s own sparking wine - made by the methode traditionelle from seyval blanc grapes - and inventive ‘mocktails’ featuring hot cider with cinnamon and ginger beer, fresh lime and cranberry juice, were served in the Library enjoying expansive views across two championship golf courses to the Welsh hills on the far side of the River Dee.

Luncheon was served in the 17th suite overlooking Carden’s scenic 17th hole, a charming adjunct to Redmond’s Restaurant - scene, incidentally of footballer Michael Owen’s wedding. The room was beautifully dressed according to season by Fresh of Hoole who supplied flowers and decor specialists Blue Leaf Event Hire of Wrexham and it was here that chef Graham explained in detail what seemed, he said, ‘a simple menu’.

Ho hum: what might seem simple to the captain of the multi-award winning Welsh National Culinary Team which, by Prince Charles’ special request, cooks for him and his guests at every formal occasion in Wales, turned out to be a dazzling cavalcade of courses. Graham has cooked for the Queen and members of the royal family on numerous occasions, as well as the Emperor of Japan and European Heads of State at Cardiff Castle; not surprisingly then, our luncheon was superb.

The starter of turbot and trout roulade, poached to perfection, was accompanied by a crab fritter and the sweetest creamed langoustine and decorated with cucumber pearls, chive oil, micro cress and carrot purée; sublime ingredients masterfully handled. Languedoc sauvignon blanc provided a classic match for the fish and seafood.

The main course brought wonderful fillet of beef coated with khmeli suneli, an exotic spice mix from Georgia and the Caucuses including coriander, fennel and dried marigold petals, served with a slice of expertly-crafted cottage pie piped with Parmesan potatoes and accompanied by seasonal vegetables and parsnip purée. Once again the sunny south of France provided the ideal wine partner, this time a smooth, rich and earthy merlot.

Dessert maintained the heady gastronomic heights: delicious autumn berry pudding came with a raspberry macaroon, clotted cream ice parfait, white chocolate powder and a crisp, sweet tuille biscuit with raspberry pavé. It was a worthy climax to an epic display of competition-honed culinary skill.

Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu

To start

Roulade of Turbot and Trout, Crab Fritter, Creamed Langoustine

Aimery Sauvignon Blanc, Vin de Pays d’Oc 2013, France

To continue

Fillet of Beef, Cottage Pie, Seasonal Vegetables

Moreau et Fils Merlot, Vin de Pays d’Oc 2013, France

To finish

Autumn Berry Pudding, Clotted Cream Ice Parfait

Coffee& Petit Fours

Fact file

Carden Park Luxury Country Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Broxton Road, Near Chester CH3 9DQ;

Tel 01829 731000; www.cardenpark.co.uk

Redmond’s Restaurant: a la carte starters from £4.95, mains from £14.95 (vegetarian £9.95), sides £3, desserts £6.50. Three-course Sunday lunch £19.95; afternoon tea £15.

Also the more informal Vines Restaurant

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