Cheshire Life Luncheon - Cinnamon Club

PUBLISHED: 22:51 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 20 February 2013

Herb crusted loin of lamb

Herb crusted loin of lamb

A little salsa added a surprise ingredient to our lunch at the Cinnamon Club

Fact file

The Bowdon Rooms, The Firs, Bowdon, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 2YQ
Tel: 0161 876 6255

Main hall: Mon - Thu - Dance classes; Fri/Sat - Private functions
The Cinnamon Lounge: Thu - Live music; Fri - Live music/Private functions; Sat - Private functions

Singing for one's supper in one thing. But dancing for one's lunch? That was the surprise - strictly come voluntarily of course - sprung upon guests, 'twixt canapes and starter, at Cheshire Life's June Luncheon at The Bowdon Rooms.

Well, why not indulge in a little light pre-prandial salsa, when your in-house catering arm is called Herb & Spice and you've a state-of-the art sprung maple dance floor at your disposal? And so it was that the slender swaying hips of dance teacher Zoe Elliott shimmied across the stage with 50 or so salsa novices attempting to follow her steps with varying degrees of rhythm.

You have to admit that it was a different start to a lunch but then again, The Bowdon Rooms comprise a rather different kind of venue. Built in the centre of the village in 1905 - by a local grandee as a place of entertainment, so the story goes - it's a fine looking Edwardian Arts and Crafts-style house that boasts within a splendid ballroom with soaring, chandelier-hung barrel-vaulted ceiling and striking balustraded balconies.

Celebrating its sixth year since Neil Hughes and Duncan Dickinson opened it, the multi-purpose venue hosts functions of all types and sizes and is home to the Cinnamon Club with regular live music and a salsa, Latin and ballroom dancing school catering for more than 1,000 students of all ages every week and a speakeasy-style dining lounge.

So adept are Duncan and his team at catering for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, dinner dances and celebrations in The Bowdon Rooms that his Herb & Spice operation not only exclusively provides ever-changing menus and banquets in-house, but also fulfils prestigious outside contracts.

Guests gathered in Bowdon Rooms' foyer for welcoming flutes of rich, elegant Louis Roederer Brut Premier and an array of delicious canapes from Thai fish cakes with sweet chilli sauce (should one say salsa?) to spiced sweetcorn fritters, lamb koftas and stuffed fresh figs. The bubbly - one of the finest of all non-vintage champagnes - had, like the wines that accompanied lunch, been provided by the Portland Wine Company of Hale.

Luncheon tables were arranged in the ballroom - it can cater for parties of up to 240 - which had been beautifully dressed by the Table Linen Company of Manchester and Barkers the Florist of Timperley, The Bowdon Rooms' trusted partners for their myriad functions.

We began with a trio of seafoods comprising a tian of white crabmeat bound with dill and lime mayonnaise; slivers of flavoursome smoked halibut enveloping an olive duxelle stuffing and a tasty wedge of shrimp torte served around a 'spaghetti' nest of cucumber and carrot dressed with rice vinegar, olive oil, fresh dill and sea salt.

The wine accompaniment, Mud House Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand's Marlborough region was testament to the Kiwis' deserved reputation for producing the best in the world: its clean, piercing guava and gooseberry fruit completely belying its prosaic name.

The main course brought Herb Crusted Loin of Lamb, sliced thickly to reveal its complementary stuffing of apricot, sage and onion served with a rich demi-glaze gravy, aromatic and tasty roasted garlic and chive sour cream mash and a neatly presented bundle of baby green beans, sweetcorn and carrot wrapped in pancetta. Once again the wine choice was tip top: Gustales Rioja Crianza from Spain, displaying complex flavours of ripe strawberries, nuances of mint and harmonious toasty oak.

Dessert, individual bitter chocolate tartlet with vanilla sauce, fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis was a chocoholic's delight. The fabulous concentration of honeyed dried fruit flavours of Blandy's Bual Madeira provided the ideal foil before coffee and home-made chocolates rounded off the delights.

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