Cheshire Life Luncheon - The Brasserie at the Wild Boar Hotel
PUBLISHED: 11:17 24 March 2010 | UPDATED: 16:57 20 February 2013
We dine in the restaurant of a stylish but cosy country house hotel at Beeston near Tarporley<br/>WORDS BY ANDREW HOBBS <br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY KIRSTY THOMPSON
The Wild Boar country house hotel began life as the home of a Warrington timber merchant, John Naylor. And that could explain the generous use of wood on this Victorian confection of Cheshire half-timbering.
After Mr Naylors death, Beeston Towers, as it was then known, became a girls boarding school, and the headmistresss house is now the Wild Boars sophisticated Brasserie restaurant. Ex-pupils still come back, to point out the dorm and the refectory, but the menu nowadays is a far cry from school dinners.
The restaurant has been known for decades as a special occasion venue, but after its refurbishment in 2008 it has broadened its appeal. General manager Andrew Marsh says: People still come in and order Chateaubriand or lobster thermidor, but they can also spend just 10 for a main course we are becoming a regular local restaurant as well.
The stylish but homely restaurant buys much of its food locally, with venison from a neighbouring field and pheasant shot by a local gamekeeper.
We make our own bread here, says Andrew, everything as far as possible is done from scratch, including the banqueting food. There is also a herb garden, tended by Ron Owen, who has looked after the lawns and the rest of the grounds for 40 years.
The Wild Boar is busy with weddings and conferences all year round, thanks to its 37 individually designed bedrooms, which have been refurbished, with work completed last month. With beauty rooms, bar and lounge, the latter with their own menu of homely bar meals, the Wild Boar now offers a complete package.
The Brasserie restaurant, where Cheshire Life held its April luncheon, is contemporary but intimate, full of nooks and crannies, and furnished in warm colours. But guests began the event in the lounge, enjoying a glass of Cuvee Royale champagne from one of the smallest and most exclusive houses, Joseph Perrier.
Head chef Nathan Watts, who completed his training in Lyon, describes the restaurants style as fine dining, with a slightly classical twist. The exquisite canaps gave a taste of what was to come, with goats cheese and olive tapenade, Bury black pudding and mushy peas, smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese roulade and king prawns in a sweet dipping sauce. Mmm.
In the Brasserie, we sat down to a moist slice of terrine of wild mushrooms and confit of duck, with orange and fig chutney, accompanied by a dry ros from the Rhone valley, Tavel Domaine Roc-Epine. All wines were supplied by Oliver Haussels of C & O Wines in Timperley.
The main course, pan-fried breast of guinea fowl, was done to perfection, juicy but with a crisp skin, set off by a rich port, red wine and Madeira reduction. The accompanying wine was also a red, a South African Pinotage from the award-winning Simonsig estate.
Dessert was an assiette of chocolate, made up of a white chocolate and chilli bomb, a dark chocolate and rosemary mousse, and a dainty glass of iced butterscotch Schnapps, to be drunk through a chocolate straw. These treats were paired with the liquid caramel of a slightly fortified Campbells Rutherglen Muscat.