North Wales Life Luncheon - Bertie’s Restaurant, Ruthin Castle
- Credit: Archant
Our lunch guests saw how beautifully Ruthin Castle is flourishing under the expert stewardship of new owners
The sight of peacocks majestically splaying their feathers greeted Cheshire Life’s guests as they pulled up outside the regal entrance to Ruthin Castle Hotel.
That unusual but elegant welcome set the tone for a splendid lunch at this venue which manages to combine grandeur, elegance and warmth with a contemporary hospitality offering.
They have brought in good people. General Manager David Collins is young but with impressive experience, coming latterly from the award-winning Armathwaite Hall in the Lakes. The very capable head chef, Michael Cheetham, was previously at Bodygallen Hall, Llandudno, among other prestigious establishments. Talented locals play a role too: Food and Beverage Manager is Jonny Manshini, Restaurant Manager is Caron Williams.
Welcoming flutes of Chapel Down Brut were served as guests assembled in the elegant Library Bar. This crisp, dry English sparkling wine was greeted very favourably. ‘Who needs champagne?’ Three inventive canapes were presented: a tasty melon juice with parma ham cream served in a miniature ‘pop’ bottle, a confit of duck and a mini globe containing a single langoustine with prawn cocktail.
Thus the skills of Mr Cheetham and his kitchen team were introduced and we had high expectations of lunch.
We dined in the beautiful and historic Bertie’s Restaurant, named after King Edward V11 who was a regular guest at Ruthin Castle Hotel and a lover of its fine food and wines. A mural at one end of the room pays homage to Bertie, as his family called him.
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As David Collins opened the doors for us there was an audible gasp at the sight of the beautiful room: tables delightfully decorated with tall elegant floral arrangements and dozens of glowing candles.
We began with a presentation of pan seared scallops, salmon, sea vegetables, langoustine powder and lemon gel: it must have been complicated to create but the flavours from local, seasonal ingredients combined harmoniously into an oversall subtle taste lifted by the slightly spikey lemon, and that clever powder. A smooth white, Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Sainte-Anne, slipped down easily with the starter.
The main course of slow roasted venison, red wine salsify, toasted hazelnuts, glazed onions, peas and juniper was no less of a joy. ‘The best venison meal I’ve had’ was the opinion of three guests on my table. Enough said. A rich, woody Old Wine Zinfandel, Ravenswood, matched in satisfying fashion.
Dessert was described as ‘Rhubarb and Custard’ on the very pretty menu, but it bore little resemblance to the traditional English pud. Instead an exquisite ensemble of custard panna cotta, poached rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet and crumble was the delightful finale to this epic culinary experience.
A tasting of the sea
Pan-seared scallop, salmon, sea vegetables, langoustine powder, lemon gel
Picpoul de Pinet, Domaine Sainte-Anne
Slow-roasted loin of venison, red wine salsify, toasted hazelnuts, glazed onions, pear and juniper
Old Vine Zinfandel, Ravenswood
Rhubarb and custard
Custard panna cotta, poached rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet and crumble
Ruthin Castle Hotel, Castle Street,
Ruthin, Denbighshire, LL15 2NU.
Dining, accommodation, spa, weddings and conferences.
Afternoon tea, bar snacks, lunch or informal dinner in The Library Bar.
Dinner in Bertie’s Restaurant
Medieval banquets by arrangement