By Jo Cooksey
For decades my family has been patrons of The Bridge Hotel and Restaurant, in the picturesque, historic Cheshire village of Prestbury. We have celebrated Mother’s Days, birthdays and Christmases there. We have attended friends’ wedding celebrations there. It has been part of the fabric of our lives.
Flatcap Hotels Step In
So, we were very sad to hear that it had gone into administration last October, having traded since 1952 and that a new buyer was being sought. Step forward Flat Cap Hotels, who have added The Bridge to their existing portfolio, including The Courthouse in Knutsford and The Vicarage in Holmes Chapel. Knowing what the Heywood brothers, who own the group, have done with The Courthouse, we knew The Bridge would be in safe hands.
We were thrilled to be invited to dine at The Bridge soon after its refurb and relaunch and booked in for Sunday lunch. We were eager to see how much the interior had been changed and were extremely pleased to see that the fabric of the Grade II listed building is still intact but has been beautifully enhanced with new palettes of colour; quirky, bold and strong in the reception and lounge areas, through to more muted, botanical tones in the Garden Room. I don’t know where they source their upholstery fabrics from but they had me in soft furnishings heaven; wanting to go home and completely redesign.
A Tale of Two Courses
We were shown to table in the elegant Garden Room, with a lovely view of the outdoor terrace. There were three of dining and knowing that portions within the Flat Cap Hotels are generous, we had decided to go for the 2 courses option and then see if we had room for dessert after. Two courses cost £20 and three courses are £25.
We each chose a different starter and then had a taste of each other’s. I had the Pea & Ham, which comprised of pressed ham hock, pea, mint & broad bean crush, apple cider black pudding, pancetta and pickled cherry tomatoes. Taste wise it was fabulous, with the mint in the pea and bean crush adding a real freshness in counterpoint to the richness of the black pudding. I’m not sure if the pancetta was needed, at least not served cold because it made it look a little unappetising. To me it should have served hot or at least warm, so that the fat glistened but it tasted good.
One of my guests chose the Parfait. The smooth chicken liver pate was beautifully rich, flavoured with brandy and port and served with red onion jam and brioche toast. It really was good, but we think it needs something sturdier than brioche, which proved to quite crumbly when she tried to spread the parfait on it. A winner in every other way though. Our third member ordered the Duck Spring Rolls off the specials menu. Served with an Asian side salad and a sweet chilli dipping sauce, this dish was spot on in every aspect. The subtle flavours of the duck filling were further enhanced by the punchy chilli sauce and the crunch of the salad. Plus, the outside of the rolls were lovely and crispy. Nothing worse than a soggy Spring Roll.
Roast and Risotto
Two of us chose the Sunday Roast for our mains, with one of us having beef and the other lamb. Both were served with honey glazed carrots, celeriac puree, a rich red wine jus, Yorkshires and a side order of buttered kale and sugar snap peas. Plus, Executive chef, Steve Tuke’s, secret recipe, butter roasted potatoes. Lovely. Both my beef and my pal’s lamb were perfect; pink, juicy and tender. Gosh I do love a Sunday roast.
Our other lunch companion decided to eschew a roast in favour of the vegetarian option, Pea & Mint Risotto served with grilled goat’s cheese, dried tomatoes and parmesan. This was the stand out dish of the day for us. The combination of flavours and textures were superb, so creamy and fresh with the tang of the two cheeses. I would definitely order this the next time we go.
For once we passed on dessert. We were very pleasantly stuffed and frankly in need of a Sunday afternoon nap.
The service, overall, was to the standard that we have been used to at The Bridge in the past. The staff were polite, friendly and knowledgeable and the dishes all arrived together and piping hot.
Will We Return?
As I said at the start, we have going to The Bridge for years and years and with Flat Cap Hotels at the helm I can’t see that changing any time soon. They have taken what was already a much-appreciated gem of a restaurant and made it even better. One request for our next visit though, can you turn the heating up please?
We were guests of The Bridge but as always, the review and opinions are our own and unbiased.