Cheshire Life Luncheon - The Barn, Bridge Trafford

PUBLISHED: 22:49 11 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013

Sam Sharter and Nicholas Walton

Sam Sharter and Nicholas Walton

Guests at our 'ladies only' champagne lunch enjoyed a sparkling afternoon <br/><br/>WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH<br/><br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

The laid-back elegance of The Barn is in stark contrast to its humble beginnings. Once part of a farm, this 400-year-old barn was a little worse for wear when proprietor, Sam Sharter, fell in love with it.

But following two years of restoration The Barn is now a mix of the old, including the original walls and beams, blended with a contemporary twist. The exterior of this beautiful restaurant does not prepare you for its glamorous interior complete with colourful blooms, decadent eating area and slick wine bar.

Sam, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry managing places like Parkgate Hotel, Netherton Hall and his own wine bar Joseph's Sign of the Times, greets his guests with a friendly hug. He tells me that he loves to see Cheshire ladies dressed up to the nines enjoying a sip of champagne.

So it seemed fitting that 50 of Cheshire's stylish and influential women came together at the Bridge Trafford restaurant for the Cheshire Life Ladies' Lunch. Each was welcomed with an enjoyable glass or two of refreshing Louis Roederer Champagne while receiving beauty tips from Estee Lauder specialists.

The Barn may be a newer addition to Cheshire's food scene, but it has already won awards including a gold award for Best Newcomer at the Chester Food and Drink Festival and a silver award for Best Interior Design.

So it would be difficult to expect anything less than special, particularly with head chef Nicolas Walton at the helm. It was good news that the 36-year-old was forced to wait until he was 21 to start a career as a lorry driver. If he hadn't he would never have realised his passion for good food.

During his career he has worked for Marco Pierre-White's White Star Line, The Dorchester and a raft of other London restaurants. He's also worked on the QE2 and at the Alderley Edge Hotel where he attained the coveted AA 3 Rosettes Award. The Welsh Chef of the Year finalist has been at The Barn for little under two months and he has already set the benchmark high.

The starter of a tasting of salmon with pickled vegetable salad was complemented by a smooth Frederic Gueguen Chablis, one of the several wines supplied by Portland Wines. There were satisfied murmurs from around the dining room as the ladies enjoyed the rich butter roasted poussin with broad bean risotto and a tasting of several tomato varieties with Nicolas' heritage tomato salad. The sweet honey tones of the poussin were perfectly matched by a Mudhouse Marlborough Pinot Noir.

While the ladies appreciated their main course it seemed fitting that they would be treated to a witty presentation by Jane Kenyon, founder of Well Heeled Divas. Jane's organisation is all about empowering women into leadership, entrepreneurship and wealth contribution. She told guests that each of them could be inspiring role models for young women.

Then, dessert! As you might expect when almost 60 women get together, this was the course when you could hear the most appreciative mumbles. The lemon meringue, strawberry daiquiri sorbet, a cool, fresh lemon verbena and yoghurt were difficult to beat. How decadent. The ladies at this Cheshire Life lunch knew they had been treated to the best. The group, which included Nicolas's wife who took the opportunity to see her hardworking husband, left with smiles on their faces. Mission accomplished for Sam.


The Barn, Sandfield Farm, Chester Road, Bridge Trafford, Chester,
CH2 4JR. Tel: 01244 303100.

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday noon to 3pm and 5pm to 11pm; Saturday 12 noon to 11pm and Sunday, noon to 10.30pm.

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