Restaurant review: Churche's Mansion, Nantwich
- Credit: Helen Williams
Churche’s Mansion, Nantwich, is a destination dining spot we wish we had discovered much sooner.
Built in 1577 for the Churche family, Churche’s Mansion is one of the most beautiful buildings in Cheshire, a county rich with beautiful buildings from across the ages. With a rich history spanning four centuries, the Grade I listed Tudor hall has been a family home, a ladies’ boarding school, a tea room and an antique shop. In 2019, Sophia and Kyriakos Haelis became the fifth family to own the building in its 450-year history, restoring the building to its former glory and achieving their dream of opening a restaurant in a small and friendly Cheshire market town.
We arrived in the teeming rain of Halloween weekend and stepping into the warm, golden light of the restaurant and being greeted with an equally warm smile immediately lifted our spirits. Guided to our table, we were presented with a choice of two menus, the evening prix fixe menu, which held many temptations, and at two courses for £18 is no doubt a locals’ favourite, and the Garden Menu, an à la carte selection of delights that had us debating our choices for some time.
Eventually, I settled on soft, smooth goat’s cheese piped into crisp feuille de brick pastry tubes, served with pieces of beetroot, gently poached, and a beetroot puree. It was delicious. Last time I chose beetroot it was almost tasteless, so I was thrilled this time, with the perfectly seasoned dark purple and yellow vegetables providing the perfect sweet backdrop to the goat’s cheese. Mike opted for smoked salmon, with a rye crisp, buttermilk, cucumber and dill. Sliced thick and firm, the fish was just beautiful, with the coolness of cucumber and slight acidity of the buttermilk creating an ideal balancing act.
As ever, Mike headed straight for the steak; an 8oz beef fillet with onions rings, bone marrow butter, triple cooked chips with truffle and parmesan, and watercress. It was presented fine dining style, letting your eyes spark a tastebud response before the fork even got close. He declared it incredible – perfectly cooked to pink, and beautifully seasoned.
My own choice of pork belly with butternut squash and kale was, I believe, the winning option however. Cut to a perfect rectangle, the pork was served with a butternut squash puree, butternut squash confit and ribbons of deep, dark kale providing the perfect foil to the sweetness of meat and squash. A jus, studded with pumpkin seeds, was just plate-lickingly good (I didn’t, but oh my, I was tempted...) The meat was so soft and tender it must have been in the oven for days, and was so rich and sweet I can’t imagine why anybody would choose any other meat.
If fish and seafood is more your thing there’s plenty to tempt – from sea trout to lobster to grilled shellfish, and I was quite tempted by the onion tarte tatin, but for me soft pork belly will always win the day.
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Each dish comes with its own wine recommendation, which makes life easy for those of us not considering ourselves connoisseurs, or there’s an extensive drinks menu, for those who know their way around a grape variety.
Mike managed to polish off a pudding, frozen caramel parfait with honeycomb ice cream, banana caramel pearls and custard pearls, which he declared just the right size and a beautiful balance of sweet and refreshing.
Churche’s Mansions sits firmly on the list of destination dining must-do's. The menu reflects the beauty of the surroundings, and the quality of every dish surpasses all expectations.