Cheshire Life Luncheon - The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa

Thornton Hall Luncheon

Thornton Hall Luncheon - Credit: Archant

The Lawns restaurant at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, is no stranger to awards. Guests at a Cheshire Life lunch understand why, says Rebekka O’Grady

Matt Worswick

Matt Worswick - Credit: Archant

The Wirral is becoming something of a foodie destination and one venue which is surely high on the list of ‘must dine’ places on the peninsular is The Lawns at Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa. We chose the 3 AA Rosette restaurant for a Cheshire Life lunch, and with new executive chef Matt Worswick taking charge in the kitchen we were expecting great things. We were not disappointed - it was an exquisite lunch in all respects.

Liverpool born Matt, 27, has some pedigree. He’s worked in kitchens since the age of 18 and cooked in several top restaurants including the two Michelin starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham and Simon Hulstone’s The Elephant in Torquay. But most notably, he became the youngest chef in Scotland to achieve a Michelin star while at the Glenapp Castle Hotel in Ayrshire in 2013. Quite an accolade.

Now back in the north west, Matt, has big ambitions for The Lawns. Earlier this year it was awarded the Highest Quality Assured VisitEngland Taste Accreditation, assessed by Quality in Tourism. The hotel, as a whole, has also won the ‘Best Asian Wedding Venue’ award.

Matt says he can’t wait to bring some of the Wirral’s best local produce onto the plates of diners at The Lawns, and there was plenty of evidence of that during our lunch. ‘We have some great local suppliers around here,’ said Matt. ‘We source meat from Edge Butchers and use asparagus from Claremont Farm and Wirral Watercress.’

‘I want to keep dishes on the menu simple but flavoursome and cooked with decent techniques,’ explained Matt. ‘It is British fine dining, which is my style, but it’s not stuffy. I’m not trying to recreate the world, just making the most of what we have here in the Wirral for diners at Thornton Hall.’

The four star hotel in Thornton Hough is owned by the Thompson family, who bought the hall in the 1970s. The premises were built in the middle of the 19th century as the home of Liverpool shipping magnates, the Bamford family. Now after a £1.5million refurbishment, the hotel is fresh and modern but retains a classic, luxurious feel.

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Many original period features can still be found throughout the hotel, including in The Lawns room. After a reception sipping flutes of fine Joseph Perrier Brut champagne and nibbling on canapés, guests took their seats in this ornate restaurant, which features a striking leather ceiling inlaid with mother of pearl and bas-relief friezes.

We began with a starter of home smoked salmon, pickled cucumber and wasabi. It’s impressive that they smoke their own salmon on the premises here, which made it even more of a treat. The wasabi wasn’t too hot and added a subtle edge to the salmon which was washed down easily with a glass of Tanners Marlborough New Zealand 2014 Sauvignon Blanc.

Next followed the dish that had been on everyone’s lips when they glimpsed the menu: fillet of Galloway beef with Wirral watercress, asparagus, morels and potato. The beef was superb, cooked pink so it was succulent and supple. Paired with an Argentinian red, Gouguenheim Syrah 2013, it was a match made in foodie heaven.

A pre-dessert of Tonka bean panna cotta with strawberry jelly, freeze-dried strawberries and Italian meringue topped with candied lime peel delighted the sweet tooth of every guest - and if you were full from the previous courses it would have served as a fresh, fruity end to the meal. However, the pineapple cheesecake that followed, complete with a luscious lemon sorbet and a glass of Moscatel de Setubal, was the perfect conclusion. Light and sharp – this dessert was the ideal finale to a scrumptious fine dining experience.4


Canapes Home smoked salmon Fillet of Galloway Beef Pre-dessert Pineapple cheesecake Coffee and petit fours

The Lawns Restaurant, Thornton Hall Hotel and Spa, Neston Road, Thornton Hough, Wirral, CH63 1JF Tel: 0151 336 3938

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