Restaurant review - Churche's Mansion, Nantwich
PUBLISHED: 00:00 20 September 2019
A look at Nantwich's new fish restaurant.
When I took my mother for a birthday lunch to Churche's Mansion, Nantwich's new fish restaurant, I didn't expect her to be spat at by an oyster.
A platter of the plump molluscs is theatre in itself, yet, as our waitress laid the dish upon the table, she began pouring liquid around the half-shells to activate billowing clouds of dry ice. Once the vapour had dissipated, the ice continued to babble like a brook, until, pop, it sent water skywards and the oysters had to bail out to a side plate to preserve their precious liquor.
Mum got hit. The tempestuous, yet reportedly delicious, oysters (£18 per half-dozen) had been preceded by a dish of potted shrimps (£6.95) which were laced with tarragon - a flavour she dislikes that wasn't specified on the menu. When we mentioned it the attentive manager took it off the bill.
My food did better justice to a tempting menu of fresh fish and seafood, which also champions local produce. A starter of crispy squid with citrus Thai slaw and soy gel (£5.95) delivered delicately battered coils served on a jumble of carrot, radish and Chinese cabbage with a peppery kick. Next, my pan-seared cod (£15.95) was precisely cooked, with flakes of pearlescent fish falling away from crispy skin to be scooped up with a creamy assembly of warm peas and their shoots, baby gem, sautéed potatoes and nuggets of salty pancetta.
It's 20 years since this beautiful Tudor hall housed a restaurant. Then it was a rather formal place to eat, today the food is as serious but the atmosphere more relaxed. The ground floor of the half-timber building, with its stained-glass windows, oak panelling and open hearths, has been divided into three dining rooms and a bar, and set with contemporary furnishings in jewel-like shades of turquoise, gold and copper, with crescent-shaped banquettes enhancing the conviviality of larger tables.
Dessert saved the day for mum. Her peach melba panna cotta (£5.95) was silky and infused with berries. My chocolate tart (£5.95) was as deep in flavour as the accompanying orange sorbet was refreshing.
A rollercoaster of a lunch that ended on a high. We'll be back.
Churche's Mansion, Nantwich, churchesmansion.co.uk 01270 627311