Restaurant review - Machine House restaurant, Rossett
- Credit: Pics; John Cocks
Chef Kevin Lynn is serving up the finest in modern British cuisine at Machine House in the little town of Rossett, says Louise Allen-Taylor.
There was a saying in the stockyards of the American Mid West that when a hog went to slaughter, there was nothing wasted; they’d use ‘everything but the squeal’.
You may think that, short of the squeal, the very last hog component which would tickle a chef’s fancy might be the pig’s tail. But here we are at Machine House restaurant in Rossett, and pig’s tails are on the menu.
And they’re delicious! Little strands of soft meat, very much like pulled pork, are set in an intense, gluey sauce, atop a baby gem lettuce, all sprinkled with ‘pork popcorn’ – a kind of crackling granola – and accompanied by quail’s egg.
That splendid starter (£7.95) augurs well for our meal at this cosy eatery, the preserve of chef patron Kevin Lynn, who hails from Warrington and made his name at The Belle Epoque in Knutsford and Shrigley Hall, both in Cheshire.
To be fair, the signs that this may be a bit special were already there when our bread rolls were served, glistening on a wooden board with two quenelles of soft butter, two little hillocks of sea salt and a pebble from which sprouted a smouldering sprig of rosemary: a cross between a work of art and a devotional ceremony.
Our other starter looks to Kevin’s love of the sea: Cornish crab with a crab emulsion and shore herbs (£8.75) – seaside on a plate, really.
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My main consists of three chunks of pink, tender Gressingham duck (£21.50) with three roundels of skate wing, a smear of celeriac purée and soaked sultanas (soaked in what I don’t know, but they has a heady succulence).
Across the table, rump of Welsh lamb (£22.50) is being enjoyed along with pickled cockles, and wild garlic. It’s perhaps now a cliché to talk of a chef’s ethos as sourcing finest local ingredients and helping them to speak for themselves on the plate, but this food shows that that’s pretty much what’s happening in Kevin Lynn’s kitchen.
To follow, my Sorrento lemon meringue (£7.50) is a great globule of blowtorch-singed soft meringue above the lemon goo, with crunchy bits and sorbet giving unexpected texture and temperature.
Another winning pud across the table is aerated chocolate mousse with peanut butter ice cream (£7.25) the airiness no doubt accounting for why it disappears off the plate like a puff of smoke.
Machine House – as the name suggests, it used to be a machinery repair shop – is an intimate little venue, with low ceilings, beams, exposed stone and craggy whitewashed walls. Aside from the small bar, there is a private dining area in a wood-pannelled alcove with a frosted glass divide inscribed with the legend ‘Offices’.
Upstairs the main restaurant is a scattering of tables looking over a bannister to a stone wall where the most eye-catching ornament hangs – a penny farthing bike.
Woven into the otherwise rustic decor are examples of mod culture – photographs of vintage scooters – and music memorabilia relating to The Stone Roses and Oasis, affirming Kevin’s cultural roots.
Did we like The Machine House? Oh yes, mad for it.
Machine House, Chester Road, Rossett LL12 OHW, tel 01244 571678, machinehouse.co.uk