Restaurant One Eighty, Best Western Plus Pinewood, Wilmslow
PUBLISHED: 00:00 14 January 2015 | UPDATED: 19:21 24 October 2015
Last year marked a new beginning for the revamped Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow hotel, where Restaurant One Eighty seems to have the recipe for success
Less can be more when it comes to a bill of fare. Some menus are so verbose with technique and provenance - ‘hand-dived’ this, ‘sous-vide’ that - that it takes longer to read about a course than it takes to eat it.
Applause, then, for the seasonal menu at Restaurant One Eighty in Handforth’s Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow, which is so intriguingly concise that the food is left to speak for itself.
And, under executive head chef Colin Starkey, that food tells a good story. We are here to sample the six-course, £60-per-head tasting menu, which is chosen from that seasonal menu, promising produce appropriate to the time of year from local suppliers.
The first course comes bluntly described as ‘red mullet - crab - consommé’. A less reticent menu may herald this as a plump portion of fresh red mullet, lightly pan-seared and served on a bed of shredded crab with a seafood consommé and a garnishing of pickled melon (at least, I think it is pickled melon...it is certainly a very pleasant taste). This is an attention-grabbing opener, a seriously good fish dish, beautifully complemented by the mellow Kuraka New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc (£27.50) we had chosen.
‘Grouse-fig-brioche’ says the menu of the second course. What arrives looks like an autumnal still life painting: a long rectangular plate with succulent, gamey little pieces of grouse, quartered figs, edible flowers and a mixture and fresh and dessicated blackberries all arranged along a line of crumbs. These are deep, dark flavours, well suited to each other.
Back to fish for course three: spiced turbot, mussels and leeks. Lovely fish, but amid such subtle tastes, the star of this dish turns out to be the leek, pleasingly-singed yet still crisp and bursting with verdant life.
Course four brings a fillet of beef Rossini with oyster and celeriac - upmarket surf and turf. It is a perfectly medium-cooked piece of beef, accompanied by what looks like fine dining’s answer to mushy peas and shards of crispy bacon. Yummy.
Course five - or the first dessert - is described on the menu as ‘blackberry trifle - limoncello’, but what we get is an open box neatly fashioned from chocolate with a luscious creamy filling and an Amaretti-style biscuit on top. Deconstructed trifle? Lovely, nonetheless.
Last of all, there is Michel Cluizel chocolate and caramel with Maldon sea salt, honeycomb and granola. It’s a glutinous choccy sphere on a bed of granola, working that strange sweet-salt equation intriguingly.
All in all, it is a hugely varied and accomplished feast. But, of course, a hotel restaurant such as this has to do so much more. It must feed residents ranging from tired execs to romancing couples, it must attract the local population for meals and functions and it must be user-friendly enough for breakfast the next day.
One Eighty manages that nicely with a menu which runs from sandwiches to six-course tasting menus, and a stylish decor and ambience of greys, dark browns, green and blacks, with large lampshades and vases, and splashes of contemporary art - all redolent of modern upmarket American style.
It’s just a few months since the Pinewood completed a £1.5m upgrade. As part of that, One Eighty aimed to make the hotel restaurant much more of a destination than previously for both residents and non-residents. Our tastebuds tell us the food is more than equal to that task and One Eighty has received an AA Rosette just six months after opening, so I’m not alone in that view.
Restaurant One Eighty is at the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow, Wilmslow Road, Handforth, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 3LF, tel 01625 529211. see www.pinewood-hotel.co.uk
Louise Allen-Taylor was a guest of the Best Western Plus Pinewood on Wilmslow for this review.