A look at the Northcote Chef’s Table spring gourmet lunch menu
- Credit: Northcote
We took a seat at Northcote’s Chef’s Table where the theatre of the kitchens was as good as the food on the palate-pleasing plates
There was a time when Michelin starred restaurants were all dinner jackets, silver cloches and hushed dining rooms. Times have changed. Now a Michelin restaurant can be everything from the full country manor experience to an old potting shed on a caravan park in rural Wales. I choose Northcote, a gorgeous property that joined the prosperous Stafford collection four years ago. It’s home to the hugely successful Obsession and has held a star since 1996. This is a slick, well-oiled machine with executive chef and Great British Menu star Lisa Goodwin-Allen driving the engine room. And there is much to impress.
But it all came down to a tempura prawn for me. This mouthful of food, in one pure sweet moment, summed up just the kind of experience Lisa and her brigade of chefs are creating. When served, as an accompaniment to a rather glorious scallop dish served in a punch green curry broth, it came with strict instructions from the talented chef – to use it to ‘mop up’ that sauce. Is there really anything less pretentious and anything more Lancastrian?
This most cleverly crafted of courses was one of several served at the Chef’s Table; a dining room set in the heart of the kitchens where you can watch Lisa and, on the day I was there, 19 chefs prepare meals for that day’s diners. It’s a place where glass sliding doors separate guests from the theatre of the kitchen putting you in prime position to see all that goes on. For those you can’t see from your seat, there is a television screen showing a full view of all of the chefs. Make no mistake, these are the best seats in the house.
We were there to try the new spring menu as well as some of chef Lisa’s favourite dishes, and some excellently paired wines selected by Northcote’s multi-award-winning managing director and oracle of all things wine, Craig Bancroft. And what I experienced was pure theatre.
Those starters of Orkney scallop with the green curry sauce, cultured yogurt and lemon were paired with a 2020 Alvarinho Soalheiro. Quail with frozen liver parfait, apple verjus, bacon and sweet turnip was pure theatre as shards of the frozen liver parfait were scattered onto the plate by Lisa at the table, creating a dry ice effect. And the most tender aged Lake District beef came with allium, hen of the woods and a punchy, black garlic sauce all at the table would have eaten by the spoonful.
Dessert was a most impressive warm Bramley apple pie – a delicate white chocolate sphere that when melted as warm caramelised milk was poured over it, revealed culinary nirvana with sweet maple notes and apple providing the perfect balance to nutty textures. All came with wines selected as the perfect companions for the meals on the plates.
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Lisa has worked in the Northcote kitchens for almost two decades. While for some, this could encourage complacency and the risk of resting on their successful laurels, Lisa has done the opposite. She has innovated, pushed on and created a kitchen that chefs are vying to work in.
That ability to change, adapt and mould the future of the Northcote kitchens is something that has kept the talented chef from moving on. It’s a philosophy she has also applied to The Stafford in London as she helps to shape and craft the food offer there too.
What she has created in Langho, for diners and for her team, is something quite special. If you’ve not experienced Northcote yet, now is the time. I insist.
The new spring gourmet lunch and seasonal lunch menus have now launched at Northcote. Both menus tap into the season’s most celebrated ingredients – asparagus, turbot, wild garlic, tarragon and sorrel – delivering on flavour with all the artistic flair Lisa Goodwin-Allen is known for. The menus come with a recommended selection of award-winning wines. It all adds up to the epitome of fine dining, and professional and warm Northern hospitality.
The Spring Gourmet Lunch and Seasonal Lunch menus can be enjoyed in the main restaurant or groups of up to 16 can dine in the heart of the action at the Chef's Table. northcote.com