As we step into a whole new year, Richard Dash and Jamie Carter bring us news on new experiences we simply must try

Welcome to 2024 - or should we say, 2020-more? For us, 2024 is going to be very ‘MORE’. More travel, more adventure, more first visits to new restaurants, more of the stuff that we love. Thankfully we don’t need to travel too far because Cheshire has so much to explore and discover. Here are a few of our recommendations to kick-start your own travels and exploration in 2024.

Upstairs at The Grill, Chester

Upstairs at The Grill is a popular, independent steakhouse and cocktail bar in the small but perfectly formed city of Chester. Inspired by the legendary steakhouses of New York, the restaurant combines tradition with contemporary cuisine to offer a truly unique dining experience.

Great British Life: Enjoy fabulous steak at Upstairs at the Grill. Photo: Outsauced MediaEnjoy fabulous steak at Upstairs at the Grill. Photo: Outsauced Media

The Grill prides itself on supporting seasonal, local produce and British farmers all year round, as well as showcasing some of the most top-quality beef cuts from across the world. The restaurant's collection of signature steaks, such as the USDA Prime Delmonico and New York Strip, are dry-aged on the bone in their specially designed, state-of-the-art Himalayan salt maturation chamber to improve the tenderness, succulence and deep, rich flavour of the beef.

For our visit, we took the USDA and UK head-to-head to see which steak came out on top… You’ll have to read our full write-up on our website to see who won, or visit Upstairs at The Grill for yourself.

VietBowl, Wilmslow

For those of you who dream of travelling further than Cheshire, but whose budget doesn’t quite stretch at the moment, we give you Viet Bowl, in Wilmslow, a family-owned and completely independent Vietnamese restaurant. Instead of following the trends and offering a street-style dining option, Tuan and his team have stayed true to their family's recipes and traditions. Their Pho is PHOnomenal. The recipe itself is over 100 years old and has been passed down through the generations. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, we say.

Great British Life: Viet Bowl, in Wilmslow offers fabulous, authentic Vietnamese food. Photo: Outsauced MediaViet Bowl, in Wilmslow offers fabulous, authentic Vietnamese food. Photo: Outsauced Media

You’ll be happy to hear we’re not completely out of touch with the world at the moment; there’s a very serious cost of living crisis going on. This is why VietBowl is a fantastic option for your New Experience this year. There is a lunch deal that runs Monday to Thursday for £15; starter, main and a drink. If you visit outside of these hours, you’re still in for a bargain meal here - the prices are very reasonable.

The Chestergate Hotel, Macclesfield

Owners of popular tapas restaurant in Prestbury, Lilac Cottage, Haseena and Felipe have recently opened the doors to their newest labour of love, The Chestergate Hotel. Situated on Macclesfield’s bustling Chestergate Road, this boutique hotel is bursting with personality and soul.

Great British Life: Dine very fine at the new Chestergate Hotel, in Macclesfield. Photo: Outsauced MediaDine very fine at the new Chestergate Hotel, in Macclesfield. Photo: Outsauced Media

On the ground floor, you’ll find Amazonia; a Latin-inspired cocktail bar where their masterful mixologists are whipping and shaking up a storm from Tuesday to Sunday. Their head mixologist, Wez, boasts a wealth of experience running popular bars across Manchester and is keen to bring this experience to Macclesfield, a town with a huge community heart and hunger for a bougee cocktail or two.

On the second floor, you’ll find Lilac @ The Chestergate. Yep. Haseena and Felipe are serving up their famous tapas, now in the heart of Macclesfield. You’ll find classics like Gambas Pil Pil & Patatas Bravas, but you’ll also find new additions such as 24 Hour Beef Short Rib, Lobster Tails, and swordfish Ceviché.

We can already predict their Bottomless Brunch to be an absolute hit with Macclesfield. The Chestergate should absolutely be on your must-visit list this year.

Belzan, Liverpool

A little further afield, we couldn’t resist including this beautiful bistro. It’s a must-visit for anyone who calls themselves a food fan.

Great British Life: Belzan, in Liverpool, is a hidden gem you must try. Photo: Outsauced MediaBelzan, in Liverpool, is a hidden gem you must try. Photo: Outsauced Media

A gem between two thorns (quite literally, there are kebab shops on either side), Belzan has bags of character and chic charm. You would walk right past had we not told you how great this place is.

Belzan is the perfect spot for a date night, mate date or intimate meal with your nearest and dearest. The food is exceptional, and the team have won our hearts, knowledgeable, friendly and bursting with pride over their food.

Offering small (and not so small) plates in a sharing style, Belzan focuses on local and seasonal produce. Creating delicious dishes that will spark conversation and get your eyes rolling in delight.

Find more of the best of local food and drink at and on Instagram @lostincheshire