A couple of weeks ago, I received an invite to ‘The Courthouse – Barristers Restaurant’. This invite came from Kath at Perception Sales and Marketing (@perceptionloves) who represents a portfolio of hotels, lifestyle businesses and event venues. Our hosts for the evening were Cath and Stuart, the Sales Director for Flat Cap Hotels.
The Courthouse is a hotel and restaurant located in Knutsford and is said to be one of the most iconic buildings in South Cheshire. It’s lit up beautifully on the lead up to Christmas and it can’t be missed as you pass by on the main road.
The building dates back to 1818 and people were originally tried here. When found guilty, offenders were sent to the prison next door, which is now Booth’s supermarket. The man behind this stunning piece of architecture was George Moneypenny. George’s design of The Courthouse was influenced by the Doric’s Theatre’s and ‘buildings of importance’ from Rome.
The Courthouse is now Grade II listed and has recently been refurbished to emulate the building’s history and grandeur-style. The Courthouse has become one of Cheshire’s most prestigious venues for weddings, conferences, private dining, exclusive hire, meetings and events.
The entrance to The Courthouse (Barristers Restaurant) is to the right of the beautifully lit front. Heated lamps sit either side of the steps whilst candle lit lamps guide you up to the restaurants doors.
The interior is unique and grand. The high ceilings give the restaurant a spacious feel and the design is simply striking. Mirrors and pictures fill the walls, being one of the unique characteristics the restaurant holds.
The tables are candle lit and beautifully set, with velour style chairs and cushions complimenting the grand theme.
Beyond the restaurant, is the Courthouse hotel and function room, which is available for weddings, conferences, private dining, exclusive hire, meetings and events.
Up the stairs you will find magnificent bedrooms, perfect for a special occasion.
The twin king suite is great for those with families and those looking to share. I love that you get both a shower and a bath – Spoilt for choice ey! Not to mention, the bathroom lighting being on point! I have a pet hate for poorly lit bathrooms in hotels. I mean, how am I meant to shave in the dark?!
Further down the corridor is the superior bridal suite which features a four-poster bed and another beautiful bathroom with a bath and power rain shower. The contemporary style fits perfectly with the buildings architecture and should you want to get yourself a room at The Courthouse, you can do for £100 upwards (including breakfast / dinner). Keep your eyes peeled on The Courthouse website for regular deals.
Back down the stairs there is a door which leads back through to the restaurant and above, hangs some hats. There were 7 hangings outside the court between 1886 and 1912 which is what each hat represents (Despite there actually being 8).
Enough of the interior talk now James, we want to hear about food! I get it.
The real reason for my visit to The Courthouse was to try the newly updated menu which features an extensive range of irresistible, mouth-watering, taste bud tingling food. Seriously, that is no exaggeration. The new menu has an emphasis on seasonality and sourcing fresh British produce.
To begin, you can start by choosing the house bread with flavoured butters (£3.50). Simple, flavoursome and fresh. Pair this with a starter such as the duck liver brûlée or the game terrine and you’ll have no problems stomaching a main, whether that be the slow braised lamb shoulder (£17) or the 52c venison hatch (£22).
As well as the great selection of food, I love the creativity behind the menu. You’ll notice each course has a specific name; The ‘opening statement’, ‘proceedings’, ‘main evidence’ and ‘side bar’. Overleaf, you’ll find a map, showing where the Courthouse source a selection of their menu items from.
I love the transparency you get with knowing where the food you are about to eat is sourced from. Not to mention the Courthouse supporting local, British businesses. I’d definitely like to see more of this from other restaurants.
You need not worry either as I haven’t forgotten about the most important menu – The dessert menu of course. Otherwise known as the ‘closing argument’.
If you aren’t full by this point, why not opt for the cheesecake (£7) or push the boat out with The Courthouse black forest gateaux (£7.50), both of which are beautifully presented.
To start and as recommended above, it was the house bread and flavoured butters (£3.50).
The bread was fresh, soft and easy to tear. The flavoured butters are a new concept for me but I thoroughly enjoyed them, with the pepper flavoured butter (orange) being my favourite.
Following this, I chose the duck liver brûlée (£7).
The duck liver brûlée had flavours of port & brandy, sweet and sour carrot & orange chutney, brown sugar glaze & toasts. The sweet and sour carrot & orange chutney was superb and it really helped cut through the thick consistency of the duck liver pâté. My only improvement – There needed to be more toast. I ended up using some of the bread to ensure I finished it all but I reckon 7 toasts instead of 5 would do the job.
Having been pleased with the standard of food by this point, I went for a really simple main course, the roast chicken breast (£16). I say simple but so many restaurants struggle to get this right.
The roast chicken was succulent and cooked really well. It’s served with fried potatoes, smoked bacon, button onions, mushrooms, tarragon jus, sweet carrot & turnip puree. I’ve never been a huge fan of mushrooms or button onions but I have to say they paired well with the roast chicken. For those who are particularly fond of the two, you’ll really enjoy this dish. I also loved the turnip puree, it was smooth and added flavour – A great replacement for those who normally add sauce to their food.
If you thought I was full by this point, then you are totally right. Struggling to fit more in but determined to do so, I ordered the cheesecake (£7) for dessert.
The cheesecake was raspberry ripple, fresh berries, raspberry gel and a vanilla crumble base. Overall, the dessert was refreshing, light and extremely well presented. I’m unable to remember what the sauce was on top but this was absolutely delicious! All in all, it brought a fantastic meal to a perfect end.
I didn’t manage to try any of the following dishes but fellow bloggers said great things during the meal so here are a couple of recommendations, in no particular order.
- The game terrine (Earl grey tea & date compote, apricots, hazelnut crumble, fresh berries & Ciabatta crisp) – £8
- Slow braised lamb shoulder (Thyme & honey roasted pumpkin puree, fondants, creamed potatoes, mint jelly & red currant jus) – £17
- The ‘Courthouse’ black forest gateaux (Dark chocolate sponge, cherry cremeux & kirsch cherry gel) – £7.50
I had real dessert envy when the black forest gateaux’s were brought out – How incredible! I’ll leave you with one last photo to appreciate this delightful dessert.
Overall the food and service was fantastic and portion sizes were generous. Good selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. My only improvement, more toasts with the starter but a huge thumbs up all round.
WILL I RETURN
Certainly, I’ll be baring this place in mind for meals in the near future!
|Tuesday||12pm – 11pm|
|Wednesday||12pm – 11pm|
|Thursday||12pm – 11pm|
|Friday||12pm – 12am|
|Saturday||8am – 12am|
|Sunday||8am – 9pm|