Restaurant review - WOOD, Chester
- Credit: Archant
Masterchef winner Simod Wood brings his restaurant brand to Chester.
I am, as a rule, deeply suspicious of hotel restaurants. I realise as I write this you'll be totting up a mental list of examples that negate my feelings on the subject. But on the whole I just find them too frequently bland and oddly underwhelming.
Well, you can add WOOD Chester at the city's new Hotel Indigo to your list. Because, let's cut to the chase, it's not only the best hotel restaurant meal I've eaten, it's one of the best of recent years full stop.
The 2015 Masterchef winner has taken his wildly successful Manchester concept across to Chester only with a little more velour, polished wood and mood lighting . The aesthetic is inescapably that of a boutique hotel bar but one you'd actually choose to go to for cocktails - of which they have an impressive selection by the way.
As we signed up for the seven-course tasting menu - plus extra nibbles and palate cleansers - there's really only room for the highlights so forgive me, Simon, if I don't cover off every last morsel.
The early courses ticked along nicely - after a tentative nibble I got rather into the charcoal cracker with eel filling and the asparagus and pea panna cotta.
Then things got really good. A take on cottage pie with ale-braised short rib and magical whipped New Jerseys might be the best meat-and-potato combo I've tasted. When it came to scallop with malt foam and chicken crumb I ate it by the smallest forkfuls I could manage to make the deliciousness last as long as possible. The perfectly pink lamb with lavender infused honey was the best version of itself.
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Desserts included a frozen lolly version of his Masterchef winning lemon possett, which was lovely although I personally preferred the moreish creaminess of the unfrozen version. And a final nod to the Vimto macaron. So wrong it was really alright (even though I maintain macarons in general are horribly overrated).
After seven courses I can't say much about the well paired wines other than there wasn't a duff one amongst them. Young, enthusiastic staff who knew their stuff added to the charm of the night. Wood does high-end food with a genuine feel good factor. Even the team in the open kitchen seemed to be having a good time. It was all a joy.
The seven-course tating menu costs £65pp excluding wines.