The Brasserie on the Edge, Alderley Edge Hotel
PUBLISHED: 12:46 10 May 2015 | UPDATED: 15:44 26 April 2016
Retro? Classic? However you slice it, the Alderley Edge Hotel's Brasserie has that certain je ne sais quoi, writes Louise Allen-Taylor
Prawn cocktail, ham and pineapple, custard tart...in theory, this could be a visit to a Berni Inn, circa 1972.
That is, of course, the in-joke which has sustained the Brasserie at the Alderley Edge Hotel since it launched three years ago, proudly dragging Chicken Kiev and Black Forest Gateau into the 21st century.
That menu has, naturally, changed since then, but, with a new head chef in the shape of Sean Sutton, the accent at the Brasserie is still on retro classics, but done with real finesse. It’s an astute bit of foodie philosophy to give the Brasserie its own character, distinct from the epic culinary feats being served up just yards away in the fine-dining Alderley restaurant.
The feel of the Brasserie is distinct too: red leather bench seats, wooden tables and chairs, artworks and lighting which scream Gallic influence, and a studied informality.
A starter of chicken liver parfait (£5.25) was a deliciously fine version of a brasserie staple - smooth but with a piquant aftertaste - served with toasted brioche and a tangy sweet onion chutney.
Our second starter of smoked haddock risotto (£7.50) had just the right combination of fishy pungency and silky texture, the bite provided by young leeks, a feisty edge lent by a wafer of parmesan crumb, and the whole thing bathed in the yolk of a slow-cooked egg.
On to the mains, and what more retro, indeed classic dish is there than fish and chips? The Brasserie’s version (£12.50) comes beer-battered in J W Lees ale, and you can detect a pleasing beeriness to that batter, the chips yummily crusty, suggestive of more than one encounter with the oil. A request for vinegar was met with a branded bottle of Sarson’s, just like in the chippie. (Trivia fans may like to know that Sarson’s factory is just down the road from the JW Lees brewery in Middleton...how’s that for local provenance?)
Another retro classic, chicken chasseur (£11.95) came as two generous portions of meat in a rich sauce with a very superior potato gratin.
A dessert of egg custard tartlet with preserved blackberry compote (£6.50) was - to these jaded tastebuds - an idealised version of the very best egg custards of my youth. My companion’s rum-poached pineapple with toasted coconut and kaffir lime syrup (£5.95) was simply gorgeous.
Retro classics done with a modern twist, yes, but the Brasserie proves that some golden oldies are simply timeless. w
The Brasserie on the Edge, Alderley Edge Hotel, Macclesfield Road, Alderley Edge SK9 7BJ, 01625 583033, www.alderleyedgehotel.com