Cheshire Life Businessmen’s Luncheon - Stanneylands Hotel, Wilmslow

Tim George and Chris Wood

Tim George and Chris Wood - Credit: Archant

It’s not only men who would enjoy a lunch of superbly seasonal food, matched with fine beers...and dream cars to drool over


Starter - Credit: Archant

The Oak Suite, usually sumptuously dressed, is a renowned and sought-after venue for scores of weddings every year...but it became very much a man’s world when Stanneylands Hotel hosted Cheshire Life’s December businessmen’s luncheon.

The golden sheen of the beautiful Edwardian wood panelled walls and the low-beamed ceiling created the ambience of a cosy, traditional gentlemen’s club in which guests enjoyed a fantastic seasonal menu showcasing traditional, comfort favourites partnered by some of Cheshire’s best hand-crafted beers.

The arrival of the very latest Rolls-Royce at the front of this charming, four-star country house hotel, set where manicured suburban Wilmslow meets the wooded countryside of the Bollin Valley, whetted the aspirational appetite as well as the gastronomic one. The sleek lines of Wraith (no ‘the’ according to R-R), brought by Rolls-Royce Manchester’s brand ambassador Jo Brown, demonstrated why it was the sensation of the Geneva Motor Show when it was unveiled earlier this year.

Wraith, the first true sports coupe from the legendary company for many years, certainly didn’t look out of place on the hotel’s gravel drive and guests, clutching their welcoming glasses of Hunters Premium Cheshire Gin and tonic, gathered around in awe. The star-spangled interior of the roof kind of said it all.

The Hunters, conceived and produced by a trio of enthusiasts from in and around Knutsford and now available in selected bars, pubs, restaurants and off-licences, is a gin lover’s dream, based on a secret 300-year-old recipe and big on juniper, zesty citrus and coriander. It was the perfect, refreshing aperitif and managing director Ian Cass was on hand to preach the gospel according to his fragrant baby.

Changes at Stanneylands have seen Mark Huntley, general manager of the Prima Hotels Group’s sister hotel, Nunsmere Hall, assume responsibility for managing both properties and Andy Grundy, in Stanneylands’ kitchen for four years, has stepped up to the role of head chef, recently retaining the AA’s two Rosettes.

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His menu was a seasonal treat. A starter of perfectly seasoned rustic ham hock terrine came garnished with piccalilli salad of tiny piquant florets and a crunchy black pepper croute, which supplemented the excellent selection of bread on the table. The dish was paired with Tatton Ale, the first of four locally made beers supplied and described by the growing Knutsford-based company’s head brewer Gregg Sawyer, and a lesson on the art of beer and food matching.

The main course brought a wonderful, well-filled steak and kidney suet pudding with a scoop of creamy mashed potato flavoured with thyme, roasted carrot and parsnip and delicious sweet-sour braised red cabbage. Gravy was provided in a small jug for pouring into a small hole in the top of the pudding; Tatton Best was poured to wash it down and life was exactly as it should be.

Dessert was another man-pleasing seasonal delight: apple and Kenyon Hall Farm blackberry crumble with superb Cheshire Cheese ice cream and creamy custard. It’s pairing with ‘Ruck and Maul’ the Tatton Brewery’s excellent auburn highlighted, smooth and sweetish porter, was a revelation.

It was followed to the table by wedges of fantastic Cheshire Cheese from the award-winning Chorlton Creamery near Malpas and again, the beer pairing - this time Tatton’s dark, powerful and hoppy ‘Obscure’ - was spot on.

An afternoon of ale, great comfort food and motors. It’s a man thing.

Cheshire Life Businessmen’s Lunch Menu

To start

Rustic Ham Hock Terrine, Piccalilli Salad, Black Pepper Croute

Tatton Ale

To continue

Steak & Kidney Pudding, Thyme Mash, Roasted Root Vegetables, Braised Red Cabbage

Tatton Best

To finish

Apple & Kenyon Hall Farm Blackberry Crumble, Cheshire Cheese Ice Cream, Creamy Custard

Tatton ‘Ruck and Maul’

Cheese & Biscuits

Tatton ‘Obscure’

Coffee & Fudge

Fact file

Stanneylands Hotel, Stanneylands Road, Wilmslow SK94EY. Tel 01625 525225.

Men in Business lunch held at The Stanneylands Hotel, Wilmslow

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