Family gatherings are so important and often they are celebrated with a meal. I recently went for lunch with my wife and her parents to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday.
The restaurant we chose was The Residence in Nantwich. We were going on a recommendation from local residents which gave us some confidence. The Residence is in a huge imposing Georgian house on a side street in the town.
There is a huge black door and a black bejewelled throne just inside and then a chic black and dark wood themed restaurant. The welcome was excellent with a very friendly manageress and waiter. We were shown to a great table in the corner by the window and on a grey and cold day it was nice to get some light.
Choice is crucial for family meals and The Residence covers the bases. There is good steaks, including some special rare breeds steak, burgers, fish and chicken. I think any group would find something for all generations. One small downside though was that they had had a busier day than expected on the previous lunchtime and so LOTS of things were not available – rare breeds steak, Cheshire beef, lobster, and monkfish (except bizarrely on the special). Not good enough but probably had no impact on what we chose.
I started with some foraged mushrooms with blue cheese on brioche with some wild garlic. The flavour was fantastic and the ingredients shone through. The brioche could have been a tad more toasted and it needed more seasoning for my taste but it was a pretty plate of food. The soup of the day was good and the Bloody Mary prawn cocktail was nicely spiced.
My main was the special monkfish which was described as “Harissa” monkfish with curried new potatoes, bok choi and a beetroot raita. The bok choi was too wet and it killed the dish really – washing the spice out of the potatoes and diluting the raita. The monkfish was slightly overcooked and it didn’t help. The idea was great, it looked good but it was all just a bit damp unfortunately. The Thai chicken was lacking in heat too and the presentation wasn’t as good as all the other food. The risotto on the other hand was sensational with a very nice cheese tuille on the side.
Overall impression is of a nice bistro. I really think we just hit an off-day. It wasn’t bad, it just didn’t hit the heights consistently that the menu had hinted at. Maybe the menu is too broad for the number of customers on a Sunday lunchtime.
And the birthday meal? It was great because family gatherings aren’t all about the highest culinary quality. The warm welcome, that there was something for everyone and the nice setting was enough.