Before I even start, I must confess to rather liking it at The Courthouse. If I’ve got an event or something on, it’s where I’ll stop off for dinner first. I’ll fuel up with steak and chips before I talk to 30+ people about gin and barely pause for breath for two or three hours.
And maybe a glass of wine.
But new to me is the afternoon tea they serve, and as I’m always happy to nibble on cake and drink copious amounts of tea, when the invitation came to revisit Barristers Restaurant, I was more than happy to say yes.
The venue is quite literally an old courthouse. In Barristers, you are but metres away from the old cells (below the restaurant itself) and the walls are dotted with related memorabilia, including art created by a local artist using mugshots of famous faces including Steve McQueen and Frank Sinatra.
And as you can tell by the wood panelling, not much has changed. You can easily find yourself sitting in the jury, or gallery.
There are various versions of afternoon tea on offer, including G&Tea, pink bubbles, or Perrier Jouet, but whichever you choose, you’ve got a great selection of teas to choose from to accompany it, Earl Grey, Lemon & Ginger, to Chun Mee and decaffeinated tea, all served in mismatched china.
Along with the expected scones and clotted cream, and finger sandwiches, there’s a selection of cakes. Sour apple macarons, opera cake with light thin slivers of pistachio and chocolate sponge, and vanilla profiteroles. There’s also a little twist launching next month. The savoury afternoon tea.
Say hello to chilli Scotch eggs, lamb and min pasties, croque monsieur, black pudding roll, little pastries filled with brown shrimp and capers, savoury walnut scones with blue cheese cream, and beef and Guinness jam doughnuts.
Yes we did try it. Yes it was my favourite – especially the scones and blue cheese cream. Yes I want it again, with a pint of beer on the side please. And no I won’t be sharing.
On both tiers, the scones were damn near perfect. Crisp, but fluffy, biscuity, but not overly so, they also weren’t over sweet either, so the jam and cream didn’t make them sickly, just the right balance of sweetness.
Things I wasn’t so keen on – the jam itself was OK, but I was expecting something like a homemade style raspberry jam, so it felt a little disappointing. The sandwiches were good, but leaned heavily on mayonnaise. And the beef doughnuts on the savoury plate promised much, but weren’t quite there yet. They need a little bit more oompf – more beef please.
Everything else? I think the evidence speaks for itself. Six ladies can eat a lot of cake.
If you’re in Knutsford and looking for a little treat, or just to head out of the city for something, I’d definitely head over. I’ll no doubt see you there.