Cheshire Life Luncheon - Cottons Hotel and Spa, Knutsford
- Credit: Pics; John Cocks
Why a Cheshire Life lunch made us fall in love with Cottons Hotel and Spa in Knutsford all over again
There’s something about the Cottons Hotel in Knutsford that inspires a frisson of excitement, not least the prospect of a delicious Cheshire Life luncheon showcasing the restaurant’s flair for event dining.
Around 60 guests gathered in their elegant bar to sample a rather potent welcome cocktail featuring Hunters gin and Prosecco, and a selection of canapés including goats’ cheese honey bon bons with red pepper sauce, duck liver parfait and salmon and pickled cucumber ceviche. It was then time to take our seats in the beautifully decorated suite, enhanced by lavish floral arrangements by Heaven Scent Florists, Lower Peover.
The hotel is now part of the House of Daniel Thwaites collection, the 200 year-old brewery with a reputation for fine ales and the traditional pubs that serve them. They’ve undertaken a multi-million pound refurbishment programme to introduce the wow factor back into the venue and for those of us who hadn’t visited in a while it was great to be reminded of what made the Cottons such a fine leisure destination.
As general manager of four years, Steve Ogden explains: ‘The main aim of the lunch is to showcase Cottons to people who haven’t been for a while and show them what we’ve done.
‘In the time I’ve been here we’ve built 30 suites and bedrooms and refurbished 95 per cent of rooms and we’ve probably spent another £1m on public areas.’
Head chef Joe Liptrot, who was recruited as a senior sous chef three years ago at the tender age of 24, honed his skills at the Fox and Hounds in Middlewich and Marco Pierre White in Chester .
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Joe, from Cuddington, says he relished the opportunity to work in a bigger team with greater challenges.
‘We do a lot of banqueting, conferencing and weddings, major events like that. I love private events and doing the menus for those, so for the Cheshire Life lunch what I’ve tried to do with the menu is to do something different by using different cuts of meat, Ox cheek and ox tails,’ he explains.
‘I like doing things that are different, things that you couldn’t recreate at home as they are the ones you go away and remember.’
Among the many memorable highlights of the lunch were bread muffins flavoured with pancetta and onion and olives and thyme, which emerged freshly baked from the kitchen accompanied by smoked butter. They were followed by a starter of an Assiette of Fish that included langoustines, scallops, seaweed spaghetti and shellfish bisque, complimented by a fresh, flinty M Charpoutier la Combe Pilate Voignier.
The main course, A Celebration of Beef, combined an unctuous braised ox cheek and ox tail bone marrow with a chargrilled fillet of beef that was cut through with the sweetness of carrot purée and confit smoked garlic.
‘It was perfectly matched with a Bordeaux-style Anwilka Stellenbosch Petit Frere 2014 red wine with plenty of punchy flavour.
Both wines with lunch were provided by fine wine importer, Mentzendorff.
Finally, a vanilla and Greek yoghurt panacotta was fresh, light and creamy...and the perfect indulgent plate to end a delightful dining experience.
From the menu
Assiette of fish: grilled turbot, langoustines, king scallops, seaweed spaghetti, shellfish bisque ad sea vegetables
Celebration of beef: braised ox cheek, ox tail bone marrow, chargrilled fillet, carrot puree, rainbow carrots, confit smoked garlic, nutmeg, spinach and braising liquor reduction
Vanilla and Greek yoghurt panacotta, lemon curd, chocolate doughnut, honeycomb
M Charpoutier la Combe Pilate Voignier, 2017
Anwilka Stellenbosch Petit Frere, 65% Syrah, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot 2014
Cottons Hotel and Spa, Knutsford
Manchester Rd, Knutsford WA16 0SU
01565 650333 cottonshotel.co.uk