If you’re looking to dine outside of Manchester City Centre and head more towards the leafier suburbs of Cheshire, Knutsford is home to a number of hidden gems.
With myself being based between Manchester and Staffordshire, Cheshire is now one of my weekend places to visit for dinner and drinks, so it made perfect sense to book in at The Courthouse last Saturday evening.
It’s a former courthouse which keeps it’s traditional features, and is such a stunning venue. You may remember I reviewed it a while ago for lunch here.
They are now launching a new dinner menu, which includes some incredible main meal options using the finest ingredients.
I’m also a journalist for Lovin Manchester, in which you can find my full review of the dinner menu here. But in a nutshell, The Courthouse is certainly an ambitious and unique project; developed as a hotel, a wedding venue, a bar and a restaurant after being an old majestic property for so long. It’s one of the town’s most iconic buildings, as the Grade II listed Sessions building still gas the original stone pillars built in 1818.
The ‘court’ theme is going nowhere: from stepping inside The Barristers (the name of The Courthouse restaurant), you’re greeted with extremely high ceilings, a courtroom style layout (with a square bar sitting in the middle) and walls adorned with celebrities and famous people who were once convicts.
When you open up the menu, the theme stays strong. Diners can enjoy nibbles from ‘The Opening Statement’, starters from ‘Proceedings‘, grills from ‘Grilled on the Stand‘, main courses from ‘Main Evidence‘ and desserts from ‘Closing Argument’.
What is ‘evident’ is that this is a fine dining restaurant, serving up quality British seasonable dishes. It’s fairly meat and fish heavy, where the chef has created a modern and luxury twist on classic meals.
I opted for the Treacle Cured Salmon with Beets, Fennel, Hazlenuts and Cucumber, and when it arrived, the presentation was phenomenal. It was presented exactly how you would expect a 5 star hotel to serve. Not to mention the starter was incredibly delicious.
Other starting favourites include the Salted Shin of Beef with Warm press, red wine, Dijon mustard, egg yolk, cornichons, gaufrette, potato gf, and the Gruyere Souffle, with twice baked, baby leeks, Pomme Anna, smoked potato espuma.
From the new Chicken and Sweetcorn with a crisp breast, braised & spiced leg pastry, sweet corn puree, torched kernels, thyme roasted potato gf and the Monkfish, with a marinated tail, razor clam, cockles, seaweed gnocchi, vanilla foam, sea rosemary 18.5, you’re spoilt for choice.
Excuse the poor lighting in the photo as the venue is very dimly lit, but let me recommend the Lamb Hot Pot. This is the most melt-in-the-mouth lamb I have possibly ever tasted, alongside the creamiest potatoes and veggies.
Desserts also exceeded my expectation. I ordered what I thought would be an ordinary Apple Tart, but out came more of a sauteed layered apple bake with the tastiest vanilla cremeux, sour cream and apple blossom.
Although it tasted out of the this world, the long dark brown sticky slice just failed to take an insta-worthy photo.
I can also vouch that the Sticky Toffee Pudding, with dates, fudge and honeycomb was a real treat too.
The Barristers at The Courtyard sits on the higher end when it comes to pricing (mains can set you back £18, with starters averaging at £8.50) but in my opinion, it’s reflective of the quality and service.
I was overly impressed with my three courses. At first I wondered if the serving sizes were on the small size, but from how stuffed I was upon leaving, I was wrong!
For those who wish to enjoy cocktails, wine and beers at a classy Knutsford establishment can chose to sit around the central square bar in the middle of the restaurant. However, the venue is also used for exhibitions, weddings, conferences and events. So it really is a ‘wow’ place.
Plus, they are currently working on an array of boutique hotel rooms, which are due to open to the public soon. Lovely!