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Cheshire Life Luncheon - White House, Prestbury

PUBLISHED: 14:08 30 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:32 20 February 2013

The White House

The White House

Life guests enjoyed delightful modern cuisine at a picturesque and historic location <br/>WORDS BY RAY KING<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

There are two Prestburys. One exists in the feverish brains of breathless social diary journalists who rarely venture into Cheshire and is populated by WAGs and dripping with bling.

The real Prestbury is one of the county's most charming and unspoilt villages, nestling in the sylvan Bollin Valley and boasting a fine mediaeval church, a delightful Georgian high street and a cluster of traditional half-timbered buildings.

In these surroundings the White House Restaurant has been dispensing hospitality in one form or another for more than a century and in recent times has forged a deserved reputation for culinary excellence and now boasts two AA Rosettes.

The building on Prestbury's main street appears early 18th century from the outside and there are ancient beams within. The welcoming bar gives way to a warm and intimate dining room, thence to a newer conservatory. The atmosphere benefits from an inventive blend of period features with contemporary styling.

Changes, however, have been afoot in recent times. After Nigel Moorhouse and his business partner Jonathan Marshall acquired Alderley Edge's much loved Number 15 Wine Bar in the wake of a property deal, the opportunity came along a little less than three years ago to buy the White House from its long-time owners Ryland and Judith Wakeham, who still have the White House Manor Hotel just up the road.

Given their new baby was their first venture into the fine dining business, the new owners did the logical thing and retained the White House's experienced general manager Phil Harris (now a director of the company) and the restaurant's highly regarded head chef James Roberts.

Further change may soon be on the cards with the development of the restaurant's upstairs 'function room', but for now, as guests at Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and
Prestbury Life's November luncheon can vouch, the White House remains a firm favourite.

We gathered in the bar, then the conservatory for refreshing glasses of 'CLIC'- 'Cheshire Life Inspired Cocktails' - shaken, or perhaps ever stirred, from a recipe including vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice, coconut milk and grenadine. Quite which Cheshire beach inspired this typically tropical tipple I'll leave readers to guess.

Luncheon began at tables beautifully decorated by The Flower Shop of Wilmslow with a delicately fashioned ameuse bouche comprising a flavoursome twirl of chilled smoked salmon tagliatelle with spring onion and cucumber. It was cleverly matched with a flute of that now uber-fashionable Italian fizz, Prosecco from the Veneto, supplied and described, as were all the wines, Timperley.

The starter proper was also Italian nuanced high foodie fashion or "contemporary English" as the White House has it; a just-so risotto studded with smoked local ham hock was topped with a plump scallop, perfectly timed under the grill.

The accompanying Giddy Goose Sauvignon Blanc 2006 showed just why New Zealand's Marlborough region wins such plaudits and its intense minerally lime and gooseberry-shot fruit provided the ideal foil for the sweetness of the dish.

For the main course, chef James and his brigade provided an object lesson on how less so very often turns out to be more. A succulent breast of corn-fed chicken was accompanied by a wilted Gem lettuce heart and basil gnocchi.

That was it...but that was all the splendid dish required to do justice to each individual flavour; gorgeously-flavoured chicken, the subtle bitterness of the lettuce and complimentary herbs in the gnocchi. The lightly oaked, soft summer fruit character of the accompanying young Rioja was a real treat.

The trio of desserts that rounded off a marvellously convivial occasion comprised moist and light orange sponge, wickedly moreish chocolate orange pudding and a crunchy oat biscuit with white chocolate ice cream, all of which sang in complete harmony conducted by a glass of sweet, citrussy muscat from the sun-drenched vineyards of the southern Rhone.

Cheshire Life Luncheon Menu

To start
Chilled Smoked Salmon Pasta, Spring Onion & Cucumber Prosecco San Giuseppe, Italy
Risotto of Smoked Local Ham Hock, Grilled Hand-Dived Scallop
Giddy Goose Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Marlborough, New Zealand.

To continue
Breast of Corn Fed Chicken, Baby Gem Lettuce. Basil Gnocchi
Larchago Rioja 2007, Spain

To finish
Trio of Desserts

Muscat Beaumes de Venises, France

Coffee and petit fours


Fact file

The White House Restaurant, The Village, Prestbury, Cheshire SK10 4HP.
Tel: 01625 829336; www.thewhitehouseinprestbury.com

Restaurant open: Lunch Tue-Sat noon-2pm, Sun noon- 3pm; Dinner Mon-Fri 6pm-9pm, Sat 6.30pm-9.30pm, closed Sun.

A la carte lunch: starters from 3.95, mains from 9.25, desserts 4.95. Set three-course Sunday lunch 17.95.
A la carte dinner: starters from 4.75, mains from 13.95, desserts from 6.50. Table d'hote dinner 6pm-7pm 14.95
for two courses, 18.95 for three; after 7pm 17.95 and 21.95 respectively.

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