I’ve heard the song “Roll Out the Barrel” but my latest foray into the world of restaurant reviewing left me rolling out of the barrel after indulging in a feast of fine food.
Waistbands had to be much loosened after a very tasty two-course meal at the popular Fox and Barrel in Cotebrook, which suffered a troubled start to 2008.
The Guardian gave the restaurant rave reviews in September 2007, but it closed suddenly and mysteriously shortly before Christmas.
Fortunately for the restaurant-lovers of mid Cheshire, new owners took over in 2008 and I am pleased to report that the whole dining experience was a delight. My companion and I were presented with a full menu on arrival and decided to skip starters after having a sneak peak at the desserts on offer, which are well worth saving room for.
I opted for Thai red chicken curry with coconut rice, while my companion ordered the all-time classic fish and chips. Both dishes were well presented and a good portion size, although maybe a little on the large side for us as we only have small appetites. However, the food was so delicious we found we could not stop eating. My dish featured a portion of chicken breast that was melt-in-the-mouth tender with delicately flavoured rice, crisp veg and a spicy and flavourful sauce. My companion’s beer battered haddock was superb – light crisp batter and chunky fish – with tasty hand cut chips and mushy peas.
Then, after I downed an orange juice to cool my mouth (that curry was spicy), we ordered desserts. I went for Cotebrook blackberry and apple crumble with custard, which was spot-on. The custard came in a separate jug – very important if you do not want your dessert smothered and soggy – and the crumble itself was the perfect mix of fruity and crunchy. My companion decided on the unusual option of blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream, which had a surprisingly strong and refreshing flavour.
Our bill, which also included a pot of tea, a cappuccino and two orange juices, came to £39.30. The curry was £11.95, the fish and chips £10.95, the crumble £5.45 and the ice cream £3.95.
Service was excellent – staff were friendly and attentive without being overbearing. The restaurant itself was clean, cosy and comfortable, it was definitely a great place to hole-up on a chilly autumnal evening.
I would recommend booking a table as the Fox and Barrel can fill up quickly.
How it Rated: Quality of service – just right; Value for money – worth paying that little bit extra; Ambience – warm and cosy without being too fussy; Quality of food – faultless; Speed of service – just right.
This is the latest in a series of editorially independent reviews of the food offered by Mid Cheshire pubs and restaurants. It is the honest opinion of the reviewer.