Cheshire Life Luncheon - Oddfellows, Chester
PUBLISHED: 22:58 15 June 2014 | UPDATED: 21:40 21 October 2015
Cheshire Life lunch guests saw how wonderfully well Oddfellows in Chester city centre is doing under the expert stewardship of the Grosvenor Hotel
Two years into the deal that saw the ‘big house’ - the Chester Grosvenor - take over the management and operation of Oddfellows, the glamorously eccentric restaurant, lounge and boutique hotel in the ancient city’s Lower Bridge Street, the ‘little house’ is going from strength to strength.
The Grosvenor’s award-winning team have carried it off with aplomb and a significant measure of success...so much so that Oddfellows is adding nearby serviced apartments to its complement of 18 individually designed bedrooms and suites. Oddfellows’ manager Sarah Dougherty said: ‘We have always thought Oddfellows would work well with apartments. They offer real benefits to those looking for a longer stay and a little bit more room with all the convenience of being attached to a hotel with a restaurant and bar.’
She added: ‘We have lots of business travellers who stay with us for four or five nights at a time and families visiting the city at the weekend, so the apartments will be absolutely ideal for them.’
There are set to be five apartments by Oddfellows all situated around a courtyard, just a short walk from the dining and drinking amenities at the hotel. The first apartment opened in late April with the others following as quickly as interior designer Louise James can design them.
The Oddfellows’ ‘brand’ is about to be exported beyond Chester with exciting details due to be revealed soon. When guests gathered for what turned out to be a superb Cheshire Life luncheon amid the stunning decor of ‘The Grown Up’, Oddfellows’ adaptable meeting room, Grosvenor managing director Jonathan Slater said that like the Chester venue, the new venture will involve the conversion of a landmark Grade II listed building.
Cheshire Life’s guests toasted a fine late spring day al fresco with flutes of Taittinger Brut Champagne on the roof terrace overlooking the outdoor area of The Garden Restaurant by Simon Radley, a quirky space officially inspired by the Mediterranean but where Iggle Piggle and Upsy Daisy would also feel at home.
The terrace is reached via The Grown Up Bar, another eccentric space designed by Louise James with sumptuous, eclectic furnishing and a wicker sculpture of two giant March hares. Lunch is served across the landing in a room with light pouring through huge Georgian windows. What a setting for Oddfellows’ head chef Steve Tuke’s splendid menu - one that would have done credit to the Grosvenor’s great Simon Radley himself.
We started with an exquisite presentation of seared yellowfin tuna steak offering delicious flavours and wonderful texture - a summery treat decorated with edible flowers partnered with textures of cannellini beans and a zingy tomato and fennel press dressing. A vibrantly fruity sauvignon blanc from New Zealand’s renowned Marlborough district provided the perfect foil.
The main course was no less sensational,bringing meltingly tender, top quality fillet of Welsh beef, every mouthful a joy, on a creamy white onion risotto, beautifully garnished with forager’s salad. The red wine was a velvety smooth 2009 Rioja offering lashings of soft fruit and finely integrated sweet vanilla oak; a perfect match.
Dessert was a cheesecake, but in keeping with Oddfellows’ sense of style and Steve Tuke’s eye for detail and assured feel for flavour combinations, this was a fabulous concoction with passion fruit, stem ginger and white chocolate. A selection of home made truffles rounded off an epic culinary experience.
Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu
Seared yellowfin tuna, textures of cannellinis, tomato and fennel rress
Bladen Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, New Zealand
Welsh fillet of beef, white onion risotto, forager’s salad
Sierra Cantabria Rioja Crianza 2009, Spain
Cheesecake, passion fruit, stem ginger, white chocolate
Coffee and homemade Oddfellows’ chocolate truffles
Oddfellows Dine, Drink, Dream, 20 Lower Bridge Street, Chester CH1 1RS; Tel: 01244 895700; www.oddfellowschester.com
The Garden by Simon Radley: open Mon-Sat noon-2.30pm and 5.30pm-9.30pm; Sun noon-8pm. A la carte starters from £7, mains from £14, desserts from £6. Afternoon tea Mon-Sun, noon-5pm, £17.50.