The Railway Cafe and Gin Bar (Mughli) – Alderley Edge

“A salad for Sunday Lunch, are you mad?”

You’re not if it’s a Mughli salad! Mughli is a pretty famous (and rather sensational) Indian Restaurant based on the curry mile in Rusholme (see review here). However, they are starting to spread out a bit. A smart place in Knutsford has been around for some time now and something is due in The Northern Quarter Manchester later in the year. Squeezed in between is this little ‘pop up’ restaurant in Alderley Edge. It was only meant to last 12 weeks last year, but it seems to have grown legs and extended itself. Good job really or else I would have missed it!

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Shop front, Gin making facilities

The Flame reluctantly agreed to the visit so long as a romp onto The Edge itself was involved. She doesn’t really like Indian food. I ventured it’s not really Indian and she would like it! We stepped in off the street. It is basically a converted shop.

Inside the simple shop front bearing a simple, smart graphic is a simple kit out. Old apple boxes form the shelving behind the bar. Basic tables and chairs abound with industrial stooling at the bar. A chilled soundtrack wafts through the bijou space. Natural light streams in from the street onto the touch down benching at the front. It reminds me a little bit of Levanter Foods in Ramsbottom (see here) in terms of feel and space.

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Unlike Levanter there are a few outdoor tables and chairs to allow for the alfresco experience. Sadly it was a little bit cool for that when we were there. Also sadly, there weren’t many people in. Two at the front, two at the bar and that was it. To be fair I don’t think many were about in Alderley Edge full stop. The trendy bars at the posh end of town seemed a little bereft of folk as well.

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Undeterred we settled in. Our two young, enthusiastic  waitresses keeping us up to speed with developments. A rather palatable pale ale from Runaway Beers had me settled in no time. As with the standard Mughli, it’s a simple, plain white, single sided menu to choose from. Brilliant. Starters, nibbles, brunch, large plates and desserts all catered for. The Flame struggled a bit whilst I was struggling to keep my choice down to an amount that I could be cooked in time! I could have stuck a pin in blindfold.

I went for a few small plates whilst the Flame went for the salad. I say salad. It was a beetroot and avocado salad with garlic toasts and a cumin yoghurt dip (£8.50). It came stacked over the sliced beetroot with various drizzles. When pushed over it filled the plate with a glorious, fresh taste. My fork full came blessed with chilli and fresh coriander. An absolute delight. She had a side of gunpowder chips (£4.00), which came dusted in spice. Wonderful.

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Gunpowder Chips

I had chickpea fritters with chilli and coriander dip (£4.50). They came arranged like a ‘janga’ game. Stacked like sleepers. Looked good actually and tasted good with the dip. Loved them. I also went for the popcorn shrimp with a lime citrus dip (bit pricey at £8.50 perhaps?). Quite a big portion, but tasted fantastic. I preferred it with the aioli dip that came with the chips. I also had the special of the day, lamb chops with pickled onion (£6.50). Two charred but succulent chops. Very nice.

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Chops, Chickpea Fritters, Popcorn shrimp

I rounded off with a teeth ‘scratchingly’ sweet Mumbai Mess (£5.95). I should add that very sweet is good for me! It was basically an Eton Mess using a sensation, vanilla Chantilly cream. A brilliant but filling end.

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Beetroot and avocado salad, Mumbai mess

We both proclaimed we’d had a cracking Sunday lunch. Full of flavour and excitement. It came in at a weighty £47. The Flame was converted. Maybe I can get her to try the real Mughli? Watch this space……..

The Railway Café and Gin Bar
7 London Rd,
Alderley Edge SK9
01625 865865

http://www.alderleyginbar.com

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La Boheme – Lymm, Cheshire

“How do they do it? Superbly presented food with a huge choice”

Before I worked in Manchester, the only place I ever went for a special occasion was La Boheme in Lymm. Birthdays, anniversaries, christenings…you name it La Boheme was THE place. French cuisine delivered with a British twist is its game.  In some respects it’s been largely forgotten (by me), so it was with a welcome smile that ‘little sis’ announced that the family would be trooping back to celebrate Mum and Dads 54th Wedding Anniversary.

Mum & Dad, 54 years
Mum & Dad, 54 years

The eight of us waltzed into the old house on a chilly Wednesday night. The place hadn’t changed. The white frontage and fret cut logo was still there. We ventured into the bar and settled down to a pre-dinner drink. I think elegance is the word. Dark wood, sage banquettes, cream coverings matched to a series of Parisian black and white images create a comfortable and safe atmosphere. The odd display of fresh cut flowers adding a further flourish.

Elegance
Elegance

We had a large round table for our party, superb for eight. We each took a large leather bound volume to survey the incredibly extensive menu. I recall Gordon Ramsay in one of his ‘restaurant helping’ programmes advising on a simple menu. “Prepare everything through the day” he preached, so that all that was needed at service time was a quick flash under the grill or a final dunk in boiling water. Chef Olivier Troalen must have eight arms and an ability to levitate to make this menu happen. There are at least twelve starters and twelve mains as well as specials to go at. The place is packed. Each dish has several ingredients and is presented beautifully and consistently.

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12 Starts
12 Starts, 12 mains, 14 desserts!

First up some ‘yellow’ canapés. Carrot and coriander soup was one. Savoury macaroons featured. Great start.

The entourage went for a variety of starters, too numerous to mention here. I had the pink pigeon breast or ‘Supreme De Pigeon A La Tom Pigeon breast pan fried to pink, served with a quenelle of blackberry risotto, aromatic carrot puree & Parmesan croquette, dressed with a robust game jus (Unlikely, but this dish may contain a pellet)’ to give it its full name! The Flame won with an ‘Assiette De Gambas Du Marche’ i.e. Fresh king prawn tails marinated in garlic & chilli, quickly pan fried & presented on a mango, pineapple, papaya, chilli, lime & coriander salsa, served with grilled ciabatta & a shot of king prawn bisque. I managed a slug of prawn with chilli, wonderful. The young nephew munched through frog legs (Les Cuisses De Grenouilles De Provence Crispy frog legs served on an aromatic tomato & chorizo compote, accompanied with a deep fried onion ring, served with a aioli dressing). He proclaimed it a revelation.

Canapés, frogs legs, king prawn starters
Canapés, frogs legs, king prawn starters
Pigeon breast, Monkfish,
Pigeon breast, Monkfish,

Main next, I went lamb again (see Cartford Inn! here).  ‘Carre D’Agneau Du Sud’ (£4.00 extra) Rack of lamb roasted to pink, served with pan fried new potatoes, baby stuffed aubergine & courgette flan flavoured with cheese, lime & thyme, finished with a rosemary jus. Stunning presentation, beautifully cooked. Everything on the plate really worked. Various others went monkfish, fillet steak, all looked rather splendid and all thoroughly enjoyed.

Lamb cutlets, perfect
Lamb cutlets, perfect

Desserts up next, loads of us including the main guests had the bread and butter pudding with rum and raisin ice cream. Others included Tarte Au Citron and Panacotta A’ La Fraise (Creamy vanilla panacotta served with a fresh strawberry & basil soup, garnished with a homemade shortbread biscuit).

Almond tart, strawberry tart, bread and butter pudding
Almond tart, strawberry tart, bread and butter pudding

The three course menu is £28 each, though a couple of the mains add a few quid. I have to say it is difficult to imagine how value can be bettered. To have such a choice of food prepared and serviced as well as this seems to me to be nothing short of a miracle. I’m sure someone has the answers but it’s a real hats off to Head Chef Olivier Troalen and his team. He even does cookery courses on the side. Apparently he hopes to be the “Cantona of cooking”! I think he is there already. Flair, passion and quality. It’s a heady mix.

If you want a night of sheer ‘old school’ elegance get yourself and your loved one down to Lymm and  La Boheme. You’ll not be disappointed.

La Boheme
3 Mill Lane,
Heatley,
Lymm,
Cheshire. WA13 9SD
T: 01925 753657

http://www.laboheme.co.uk

The Cartford Inn – Little Eccleston, Poulton

“Yawn, another superb place to eat in Lancashire!”

Regular readers will know (what you have regulars? – Ed) that I have become acutely aware of the plethora of fine eateries in our very own ‘Northern Quarters’ of Lancashire. It was only a few weeks ago we sampled the wonders of Freemasons at Wiswell (see here). This fine bank holiday Monday it was a quick tour into the fair county of Fylde to witness the highly acclaimed ‘The Cartford Inn’.

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