By Jo Cooksey
Afternoon tea at any time of the year is always a pleasure but a Christmas themed one is always a little bit special. Last week we bobbed along to Barrister’s restaurant in Knutsford, to sample their festive offering
Flat Cap Hotels
Despite the fact that it took us nearly an hour to get into Knutsford, (we didn’t know it was the annual Christmas street fair), we arrived in good time and presented ourselves in the restaurant. Barristers is situated on Toft Road, in what was Knutsford’s old Courthouse, which is in the midst of being converted in to a luxury, 50-bedroom hotel by family run, Flat Cap Hotels.
As we were being seated we noticed a couple of friends at another table having lunch. They had come to look at The Courthouse as a potential venue for their forthcoming wedding and were very impressed with what they had seen. It is becoming one of Cheshire’s most sort after wedding and events venues. When we had a chat later with Dominic Heywood, one of the two brothers who own the hotel group, he told us that they were absolutely packed over Christmas and New Year. Having seen the main event space, which was originally the Crown Court I’m not surprised because it is very impressive.
Fizz and Tea
I digress, back to the Afternoon Tea. We ordered our choice of tea, which we asked to be served with the food and sat back with a rather delightful glass of fizz that is included in the package and chatted. The restaurant certainly has the wow factor. Housed in what was Court Two, most of the fittings have been left in situ. The central bar area is in what was the witness box and tables are laid out in the jury box, press area and public galleries. The artwork on the walls is an eclectic mix of period paintings, mirrors and some more modern portraits created by local artist, James Blankhorn.
The cake stand and teapots arrived and we were oohing and ahhing at the delights we were about to devour. The sandwiches, cut into fingers and minus the crusts of course, consisted of egg mayo, tuna, poached salmon and turkey with cranberry sauce. I have to say I do think the brown bread on two of the sandwiches could have done with being a little fresher but the fillings were generous and delicious.
Something a little sweeter?
Onto the cakes. Oh my! We certainly took our time and savoured these. There was a very cute miniature Battenberg that was gorgeous. We have a weakness for marzipan at Taste Today. Then there was a profiterole with a chocolate ganache topping and filled with a scrummy orange cream. Next came the Eggnog pannacotta, a dome of set custard atop a light biscuit base, topped with a square of berry jelly. Lush! We had saved the mince pie macarons until last and were not disappointed. The almond meringues were delicate and slightly chewy and filled with mincemeat. Really, really lovely. Now for the pièce de résistance and the thing that makes an Afternoon Tea for me, scones, clotted cream and strawberry jam. The scones had the addition of winter spices which made a lovely change and something I will try in my own kitchen. We could have done with two pots of clotted cream rather than one as we do like to pile it on.
We were guests of Barristers Restaurant but as always our opinions are our own.