Restaurant review - La Boheme, Heatley, Lymm

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm - Credit: not Archant

Cheshire Life has subjected La Boheme in Lymm to the taste test more than once. We’re back for an encore, and the news is it’s still très bon

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm - Credit: not Archant

As we poke our noses round the door of La Boheme at 8pm on a Friday night, the place is packed and the atmosphere is buzzing. Not one but two 70th birthday parties are in progress - the balloons give the game away - and there are families and couples all looking as if their dining is almost done.

The clue’s in the menu, or rather ‘Le Early Bird Menu’ - £23 for two courses and coffee, if you sit down before 7.30pm Monday to Thursday and before 7pm on a Friday.

The early bird may get the worm, but he doesn’t get the frog. If I’m sampling a restaurant this uncompromisingly French, then I’m having the frogs’ legs, and that little delicacy is to be found, at least tonight, only on the main evening menu - £26 for two courses.

La Boheme is a hardy perennial of the Cheshire dining scene. While others boast modern British this and pan-Asian fusion that, Paris-trained Olivier Troalen and his wife Adele continue to serve up what, for much of the last century or so, we Brits regarded as the poshest of nosh...French cuisine.

Perfect for sharing: miniature dessert selection

Perfect for sharing: miniature dessert selection - Credit: not Archant

It’s done in a room where the furnishings and decor have an understated sophistication - grey is dominant - and the artworks, including Robert Doisneau’s familiar Parisian street photography, leave you in absolutely no doubt what this restaurant is about.

And now to the frogs’ legs (I was in two minds where to place the apostrophe, but, looking at the little heap of bones on my plate at the end, there was definitely more than one frog involved). They come crispy and golden, the garlic butter giving some heft to the taste of the meat which is...yes, a bit chickeny. There’s a satisfyingly musty fricassee of wild mushrooms by way of a base, and a smear of shallot purée encircling the dish.

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Our other starter is a richly-flavoursome fish cake with a soft poached egg and hollandaise. Lovely stuff.

A palate-cleansing lemon and rosemary sorbet arrives - rather too frozen for me - but delicious nonetheless.

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm

La Boheme, in Heatley village, near Lymm - Credit: not Archant

My main of pan-fried fillet of cod is a large flaky hunk of fish atop a thick, creamy chowder with potatoes, broad beans, leeks, mussels, clams and pancetta. Each ingredient is allowed to speak for itself in one of those ‘simple’ dishes which actually requires years of experience and sublety in the execution.

Likewise our other main, sirloin steak with a peppercorn sauce and nicely-browned pommes anna potatoes is just what you’d hope to get in a little bistrot in Montmartre after a day of sight-seeing.

On to puds, and ‘Le bread and butter pudding’ is a plumptious affair with brioche, toffee sauce and rum and raisin ice cream - real comfort food. Our other dessert of plums in mulled wine with butter crumble and clotted cream ice cream is juicy and satisfying.

In a dining scene where fad, fashion and constant innovation perhaps count for too much, it’s a comfort to find a place like La Boheme which has, for the better part of two decades, remained timelessly stylish yet rooted in a proud tradition, doing what it does with a predictable excellence.. All this and it’s still quite keenly priced, especially for those early birds. Little wonder the place is thronged.

La Boheme, 3 Mill Lane, Heatley, Lymm, WA13 9SD, Tel 01925 753657,