Food review - Club Lounge at The Mere, Knutsford
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 August 2017
There's golf, there's spa pampering or there's just good old-fashioned relaxation and indulgence at The Mere, writes Louise Allen-Taylor
It’s a tropically-warm evening in early summer, and I think you’d struggle to find a dining room in Cheshire with a better view than the one we are enjoying right now.
Through the wide open windows of the Club Lounge at The Mere - part of an elegant, neo-colonial addition to the building - we are gazing across well-manicured lawns down towards the lake, The Mere, with which the golf resort, spa and hotel shares its name. Technically it is a reservoir, but it is also a site of special scientific interest, packed with pike, apparently. The lake is thought to have been created by the Langford Brooke family when they built the ‘new’ hall on their estate in 1834. It’s rather apt that the well-ordered, idealised landscape which is a championship golf course came to be created beside a beautiful body of water which was itself man-made.
Across the other side of that water, we spy the elegant properties of Mereside Road, whose back gardens go down to The Mere, inducing a serious case of postcode envy.
You get the picture; it’s a feast for the eyes. What about a feast for the stomach? The Mere’s fine dining restaurant Browns is not open this evening (it serves lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday and afternoon tea daily). But the Club Lounge is a great substitute on a sweltering night with a cooling breeze coming off the water.
Golfers plainly work up big appetites, because my prawn and crayfish cocktail starter (£8.50) is a whopper - juicy pink seafood in a zingy Marie Rose sauce (the menu says ‘Bloody Mary’ sauce, but the vodka was subtle). Our other starter is goats’ cheese on a toasted crumpet with watercress and a gluey smear of dandelion and burdock reduction (£5.95) which turns out to be such an inspired combination I want to try it at home.
The Mere Burger (£12.95) is a towering meat feast with bacon, cheese and a spicy tomato relish also crammed into the brioche bun. Another main of smoked haddock pappardelle (£12.75) is a generous bowl of pasta ribbons with hunks of haddock and creamy, mustardy sauce and a soft poached egg on top. Had we known the epic portion sizes in advance, we would not have also ordered a greek salad (£7.95, nicely-dressed and featuring some really lip-smacking sun-dried tomatoes) and some cider-battered onion rings - light and properly cider-flavoured - to share.
Satisfyingly stuffed we do that rarest of things and say no the pud, taking our drinks to a table even closer to the lake to watch the sun go down on that lovely view before heading back to our very comfortable bedroom. Bliss!
The Mere, Chester Road , Knutsford WA16 6LJ, tel 01565 830155 , themereresort.co.uk