Cheshire Life Luncheon - Dun Cow, Knutsford
PUBLISHED: 13:37 04 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:18 20 February 2013
Guests at this month's Cheshire Life lunch enjoyed food done with flair. Emma Mayoh reports PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
As new business ventures go, it wasnt the best of starts. Dianne Lymm and Frances Phillips had only had the keys to The Dun Cow for two months when disaster struck. A phone call on Boxing Day last year told them their new gastropub had flooded. Frozen pipes had burst, water was pouring everywhere and the ceiling had fallen down.
Some might have crumbled at such a sight. But not this pair. Dianne and Frances, with the help of many buckets and a builder and chef friend who did the repairs, had The Dun Cow back in business the next day.
It is this determined, focussed approach that has earned the friends, who met 29 years ago through a shared love of horses, such remarkable success. As well as boosting the profile of the Ollerton pub, they are also successfully making it more appealing to women through initiatives like a monthly social club.
They run an outside catering company, Graze Out, with the expert guidance of award winning caterer and Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards judge Rosemary Watts, and hope to start their own boutique hotel with a restaurant in nearby Knutsford.
No doubt their previous careers have helped them achieve such early success from their labour. Dianne worked in event management organising high profile parties and corporate occasions from celebrity bashes to the closing party for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002. Frances worked as a buyer for fashion labels, including Miss Selfridge.
And they have a strong team in the Dun Cow kitchen. Award-winning executive chef Marc Mattocks cut his teeth in some of the countrys finest Michelin and AA rosette establishments. Originally intending to study to be an architect, a job at the renowned Walkington Manor Hotel in North Yorkshire during the school holidays sparked his passion for food.
Marcs cooking is executed with flair. And the 34-year-old chef and his team at the Robinsons owned pub did not disappoint at this sun-baked Cheshire Life lunch. Lanson champagne, served on its own or with elderflower and apple presse, set the benchmark for this impressive dining experience.
The starter showcased the skills of the kitchen staff perfectly. Expertly cooked roasted woodpigeon, a smooth, light liver parfait and small piece of black pudding served with a smattering of blackberries and delicate jasmine flowers were topped with deliciously intense blackberry foam. A Santa Helene Pinot Noir was the perfect companion.
The main course, served with a fruity ros from Spanish vineyard Senorio de Sarria, received satisfied nods from around the room. A delicate swirl of butter roasted lemon sole and crab, Shetland scallop and turnip cannelloni were paired with purple sprouting broccoli, bean blossom, small crosnes vegetables and a blood orange and light soy emulsion.
This was followed by a tasting of Granthams of Alderley Edge two-year-old Comt cheese and roasted fig, before Marcs dessert showed he has lost none of his architectural prowess.
The final course - a celebration of local rhubarb - was as pleasing to the eye as to the palate. A perfectly wobbly rhubarb jelly was topped with foam and sat alongside a super-sweet tart tatin and a creamy rhubarb and custard ice cream topped with a rhubarb sliver. The McGuigan sparking Shiraz finished the meal off well.
Dianne and Frances had intended to travel the world when they retired. But diners at the triumphant Dun Cow are hoping that wont be happening for some time yet.
Cheshire Life luncheon menu
Local roasted woodpigeon, liver parfait, black pudding, blackberries and jasmine
Butter roasted lemon sole, crab, Shetland scallop and turnip cannelloni, crosnes, purple sprouting broccoli, blood orange and light soy emulsion and bean blossom Grantham's of Alderley two-year-old Comt cheese with roasted fig
Rhubarb tart tatin and jelly with Buttertons rhubarb and custard ice cream