By Jo Cooksey
It’s no secret that we enjoy an Afternoon Tea and that we also love bobbing over to Barrister’s in Knutsford to sample their latest offerings. So, when we were asked to call in and try their new savoury version of this quintessentially English repast, we jumped straight in the car and headed down the M56.
Barristers is situated on Toft Road, in what was Knutsford’s old Courthouse. It is in the midst of being converted in to a luxury, 50-bedroom hotel by family run, Flat Cap Hotels The rooftop garden, featuring cocktail and champagne bars, is due to open in the early Summer, followed by the first of the hotel’s bedrooms.
Stepping in to what was the old County Courtroom is always impressive, with much of its original fixtures and fitting still in place, plus an eclectic array of artwork and mirrors. There is such a sense of history about The Courthouse and Barrister’s and indeed there were several high-profile trials held behind its Georgian edifice. Probably the most notorious was that of Alan Turing, the computer genius who very much helped win the second world war and also happened to be gay, which was against the law at the time. One of the brothers that own The Courthouse has recently acquired the bicycle that Turing travelled to work on and it will be on display to visitors.
Tea for Two
We were seated in what would have been the old public gallery and our waiter bought the tea caddy box out for us to choose our refreshment from. Earl Grey for my companion and as usual, good old Breakfast Tea for me. We were to have one of the traditional Afternoon Teas and one of the savoury so that we could compare the two. Oh, if you insist
The time-honoured version consists of:
Tea or coffee Assorted fingers sandwiches
Sour apple macaron
A lemon meringue tartlet
A chocolate brownie with coffee cream
A hazelnut & chocolate choux bun
Sultana scone with jam and clotted cream
Absolutely no complaints there, it is a lovely Afternoon Tea but the savoury one? Oh the savoury one is the one that will totally drive your tastebuds wild.
Tea or coffee
Walnut scone with blue cheese cream & red onion relish
Black pudding & pork sausage roll
Chilli Scotch egg with English mustard glaze
White onion & sage arancini
Minted lamb pasty
Potted shrimp open roll
All the elements of this tea were spot on. Just as they have been previously. What should have been warm was warm, pastry was flaky, breadcrumbs were crispy and the Croque Monsieur was gorgeous; buttery, oozing melted cheese with a good amount of ham. I could quite happily have had a whole plate of those. A savoury Afternoon Tea is often, (though not here), marketed as a Gentleman’s Tea but we enjoyed it as much as any chap and we certainly didn’t have to pick flaky pastry out of our beards after. We would both order again, especially if the weather was a little inclement.
My only suggestion for improvement would be to turn the scone in to a sweet version. Not because I didn’t like the walnut one but because I always like something a little sugary after a savoury meal. Or perhaps give people the choice? Other than that, as usual the surroundings and level of service were immaculate
We visited Barrister’s as their guests but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.