Cheshire Life 'Men in Business Luncheon - Nunsmere Hall
PUBLISHED: 15:21 23 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:26 20 February 2013
Cheshire Life hosted a splendid 'men only' business luncheon at the elegant Nunsmere Hall, once the home of the legendary shipping magnate Sir Aubrey Brocklebank<br/>WORDS BY RAY KING<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
Few hotels in Cheshire or indeed in the whole country boast a location as stunning as that enjoyed by Nunsmere Hall.
Liverpool shipping magnate Sir Aubrey Brocklebank, later to design the legendary Blue Riband Cunard liner Queen Mary, chose well when he built his family home in this unique setting in 1900.
Situated amid extensive Italianate gardens on a peninsula jutting out into the tranquil waters of Nunsmere, 60-acres of flooded sand workings with a beautiful wooded shoreline, its little wonder that in its latest incarnation as a luxury country house hotel, the hall has become one of the most popular of wedding venues, hosting more than 70 every year. Among recent celebrity nuptials were those of Coronation Street star Kym Marsh and her husband Jamie Lomas.
Theres more to Nunsmere, however, than meets the eye and not just because the extension housing the modern bedrooms and luxury suites is cleverly hidden behind, leaving the halls period grandeur completely uncompromised. The glorious location, easy access to motorways and Manchester Airport coupled with up-to-date conference, meetings and seminar facilities, provide an ideal setting for those who like to mix business with pleasure and engage in corporate hospitality.
And so it was that guests at this Cheshire Life businessmens luncheon assembled beneath the chandeliers of the halls splendid reception suite for welcoming canaps and hi-ball glasses of gin-based Tom Collins cocktails before settling into the opulence of the Crystal Restaurant.
Since being acquired by the Wilmslow-based Prima Hotels group, among whose portfolio is the award-winning Stanneylands Hotel, Nunsmere has enjoyed the stability afforded by key staff remaining in post since the outset. General manager Mark Huntley has run the place with friendly and relaxed efficiency since the takeover in 2007 and the kitchen brigade, led by head chef Craig Malone, has two deserved AA Rosettes for its culinary prowess with exceptional local ingredients most evident in the luncheons outstanding main course.
We began with a starter that would also have been enjoyed by ladies who lunch a salad of baby leeks and frise with chorizo, boiled egg, shavings of Parmesan and mustard dressing; delicate yet robust with the bitterness of the frise leaves counterpointing well with the sweetness of the leeks. That main course however, was a thoroughly masculine, not to say magnificently muscular affair, that revealed the total appropriateness of the opener.
Central to the dish was a thick-cut slice of fabulous, garnet-red slow-roast sirloin of 28-day aged beef the proverbial roast beef of old England and proverbial, if not epic, it was in terms of flavour. So too was the accompaniment of meltingly tender eight-hour braised shin, superb with silky horseradish mash (more of a potato pure) and aromatic bay leaf sauce.
Dessert was a comforting autumnal pudding: traditional apple crumble was presented with roast fig and iced pear. The wines both from Chile - a crisp refreshing sauvignon blanc with the salad and a soft and juicy merlot with the beef coped very well with the forthright flavours of both courses.
I think the great Sir Aubrey Brocklebank would have thoroughly approved
Nunsmere Hall Hotel, Tarporley Road, Oakmere, Northwich, CW8 2ES;
Tel 01606 889100;
Crystal Restaurant Lets Do Lunch Menu: 16.95 for two courses, 22.95 for three; Dinner 27 for two courses, 34.50 for three; four course Tasting Menu 49.50; Sunday Lunch 27.
Cheshire Life Businessmens Luncheon Menu
Baby leek salad
Alto Bajo Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Valle Central, Chile
Twenty-eight-day aged beef
Alto Bajo Merlot 2010, Valle Central, Chile
Fig, apple, pear
Coffee and petit fours