Cheshire Life Luncheon - The Stanneylands Hotel
PUBLISHED: 11:03 01 November 2010 | UPDATED: 18:06 20 February 2013
The Stanneylands Hotel was the sumptuous setting for the latest Cheshire Life lunch <br/>Words by Ray King <br/>Photography by Kirsty Thompson
Cheshire Life Dinner Menu
Ballontine of Loch Duart salmon, lemon scented crme fraiche, caviar
Mar d'Avall Garnatxa Blanca Emporda 2008, Spain
Gin & tonic sorbet
Roast fillet of Cheshire beef, horseradish mash, chanterelle mushrooms, smoked bacon jus
Cotes du Roussillon Rouge Authentique, Domaine Lafage 2008, France
Warm chocolate fondant, vanilla ice cream
Maury Grenache Noir 2007, France
Tea, coffee, hand-made petit fours
The Stanneylands Hotel, Stanneylands Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 4EY
01625 525225. www.primahotels.co.uk
Is there a more genial host anywhere in Britain than Eamonn Phelan, general manager of the Stanneylands Hotel? And is there a more intimate retreat than this welcoming Edwardian country house where Wilmslows manicured suburbia gives way to rural Cheshire beside the picturesque, sylvan Bollin Valley?
Put the two together, serve flutes of elegant Lanson champagne and exquisite canaps in the hotels recently added, charming Calico caf bar and you have the perfect overture to Cheshire Lifes November black tie dinner.
The Prima Hotels Group, now based at Stanneylands, almost doubled the number of guest rooms to 54 after the acquisition but the hotel retains its relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. And despite Manchester Airport being just a ten minute cab ride away, the ambience is a world away from the archetypal airport hotel. The proximity of the busy international gateway is a convenience, not Stanneylands raison detre.
Those canaps, oak smoked salmon, cream cheese and dill on pumpernickel; vine cherry tomatoes stuffed with Kidderton Ash goats cheese, olive and basil and the witty and quite delicious mini steak frites - strips of Pont Neuf grilled sirloin layered on chips with barnaise sauce - provided guests with a taster of the delights to come from Stanneylands new head chef, Richard Maun, recruited from the five-star Lowry Hotel in Salford.
Dinner was served in the Oak Suite, a stunning room alive with the golden glow of glorious Edwardian wood panelling and not surprisingly, the backdrop for civil marriage ceremonies, the hotels location and atmosphere making it one of the most popular wedding venues in the area. Tables were beautifully decorated by Stanneylands in-house florist Helen Claire and the Oscar Bernhardt Trio provided subtle mood music as we dined.
Richard Mauns starter, Ballontine of Loch Duart Salmon was admirably moist and flavoursome, artistically presented with lemon-scented crme fraiche and caviar and ideally partnered with a fascination white wine supplied and described by Joe Fattorini of Bibendum. Mar dAvall Garnatxa Emporada 2008, made from old vines straddling the Franco-Spanish frontier near the Mediterranean coast offered crisp green apple, white peach and apricot nuances and subtle spicy oak that married perfectly with the salmon.
After a refreshing, zingy gin and tonic sorbet, roast fillet of tip-top Cheshire beef provided superb main course unfussily accompanied by silky horseradish mash, spinach, game-flavoured chanterelle mushrooms and just-so smoked bacon jus; ingredients in complete harmony and nothing superfluous on the plate. Once again the wine was a star match, this time a Cotes du Roussillon red from just over the French side of the border bursting with intense and complex dark berry flavours complimented by notes of chocolate, liquorice and Mediterranean herbs.
Expertly-crafted warm chocolate fondant - sumptuously gooey inside - with excellent vanilla ice cream made for a delicious finale, complete with that extremely rare bird, a red wine partner for chocolate, Maury Grenache Noir lightly fortified and offering delicious sweet cassis and strawberry fruit. Coffee, tea and hand-made petit fours rounded off a delightfully convivial evening with the culinary expertise showcased on Richard Mauns Cheshire Life debut set to remain long in the memory.