We followed our noses up the narrow Cheshire brick high street and into the welcoming 300-year-old bakery-turned-restaurant that is one of Congleton's best-kept secrets. The gentle aroma of garlic and spices floated out of the kitchen as we went up the stairs into the dining area of this characterful building. The ironwork is unique and stylish, the heavy wooden tables and leather upholstered seating are in warm and welcoming colours amid the rough-hewn walls and high, beamed ceiling. Miam Miam is the product of a life spent travelling and absorbing the culture of many continents.

Great British Life: Miam Miam, the welcoming 300-year-old bakery-turned-restaurant is one of Congleton's best-kept secrets. Miam Miam, the welcoming 300-year-old bakery-turned-restaurant is one of Congleton's best-kept secrets. (Image: John Allen Photography)

Owner and chef Enrico Tchirmayir bought the old bakery six years ago and went, more or less, straight into lockdown. A force of nature and completely undeterred, he set to, renovating and creating his dream, which now manifests itself as a small but perfectly formed restaurant, open four days a week. Enrico has huge experience from his beginnings in Italy and Switzerland, the original home of catering training throughout the world. He is classically based, but, magpie-like, has picked up the essence of the best flavours and techniques Asia, Europe and the UK creating his very own, magnificently varied cuisine, which he serves on the most gorgeous selection of colourfully mismatched china I have ever seen.

Great British Life: Miam Miam Chef Owner Enrico Tchirmayir. Miam Miam Chef Owner Enrico Tchirmayir. (Image: John Allen Photography)

Enrico is a chef of many skills. Apart from Miam Miam (which translates, appropriately as 'Yum Yum'), he runs an extensive and popular private dining business, a couple of cookery school sessions each month and most excitingly, is coming close to opening a project very close to his heart, which will be a fabulous evolution of the joyous, sharing nature of the existing restaurant.

The range of cold through to medium to hot dishes is not a new idea but the fact you can combine Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Japanese, Asian, French and dare I say British flavours within the same meal, with a sure touch for seasoning and an underpinning of classical technique makes this a delicious way to eat. No longer will friends have to share the same culinary interests – I defy you not to find something to your taste on this menu. But I certainly recommend you each order a plate of the attractively priced lobster thermidor if sharing isn't your thing.

So much of the menu sounds delicious, so as we always do, we order probably too much. But reflecting the scope and temptation of a menu is what we endeavour to show, so we order quite a few plates to start. Bear in mind that dishes will come in a certain order and are very much intended to be shared.

Great British Life: Chicken shawarma loaded hummus. Chicken shawarma loaded hummus. (Image: John Allen Photography)

Warming up with a crispy and thin piadina flatbread liberally smeared with a spiced minced lamb and nduja paste topped with slow roast tomatoes, wild arugula and parmesan shavings was a great introduction to the fusion of Italy and Lebanon. We chose from two different hummus dishes – falafel or chicken shawarma. The chicken shawarma came with a luscious tangle of sumac onions on top of a very Lebanese hummus enriched with tahini. Enrico sources a delicious and authentic Turkish feta, combining it with a natural, thick yoghurt, whipping it into an airy and light submission before topping with crushed walnuts and jewelled pomegranates. I used a little of the piadina to scoop it up as well as the pickled vegetables, which Enrico recommended we try. These pickles also gave a satisfying sharp crunch to the next set of dishes we sampled.

Great British Life: Miam Miam's yakitori: the most stickily tasty little chicken skewers anointed by a warm and aromatic glaze of sake; mixed with sesame, spring onions and fresh chilli. Miam Miam's yakitori: the most stickily tasty little chicken skewers anointed by a warm and aromatic glaze of sake; mixed with sesame, spring onions and fresh chilli. (Image: John Allen Photography)

The trio of tempura oysters, panko coated, deep fried, then served in the shell atop the most delicious home-pickled ginger with a Thai garlic chilli dip gave a nod in both directions to Japan and Thailand, and the sticky pork belly bites, topped with a generous handful of roasted nuts with sesame, spring onions and chilli set upon a bed of braised bok choi gave a lovely sweet contrast to the savoury pork. Taking a small detour back towards Japan, the yakitori were the most stickily tasty little chicken skewers anointed by a warm and aromatic glaze of saké mixed with sesame, spring onions and fresh chilli. These lovely sweet-sour flavours were a perfect contrast to the truffle-scented bresaola, succulent, soft, scrunched and savoury piles of thin slices of cured beef dressed with truffle oil, rocket and parmesan shavings, neatly bringing us back to the Lombardy region of Italy from where Enrico originated.

As Enrico is almost entirely solo in the kitchen, he has total control over provenance and ingredients. Coeliacs, vegans and vegetarians can have confidence in the ingredients included on the menu. Just make sure your booking mentions any dietary requirement and he is more than happy to tailor most of his dishes to suit. He tells a lovely story about how a vegetarian customer came to the kitchen during his meal to congratulate him on the fact he genuinely could have thought he was eating meat. This dish we ordered specially. The pulled shitake mushroom tacos looked and tasted spectacular – almost a take on a crispy duck pancake. The baked whole mozzarella, wrapped in Parma ham and dressed in a sweet honey glaze with pan-seared figs was delicious and a great finale to a fabulous selection of shared small plates.

Great British Life: Selection of small plates, accompanied by the murmur of 'do try this..' Selection of small plates, accompanied by the murmur of 'do try this..' (Image: John Allen Photography)

We chose a trio of what I would describe as main courses, but again, these could and should be integrated into the flow of the meal. The standout for me was the lobster thermidor. Succulent pieces of lobster sank as I speared with my fork into an unctuous béchamel sauce and a light crust of brioche parmesan breadcrumbs gave a little crunch to the perfect combination of flavour and texture. The lady wasn't for sharing, but my husband felt vindicated by his choice of slow-cooked feather blade of beef in a pink peppercorn and red wine jus. The dense rosemary-scented muffin soaked up the savoury and well-flavoured sauce and I loved the small forkful I was allowed to taste. The firecracker salmon roulade was perfectly seared and juicy inside, the parmentier potatoes and crispy kale complementing the glaze, which was not too fiery.

We accompanied this feast with a glass of delightfully crisp and unoaked Franschhoek Chardonnay and an alcohol-free Heineken zero lager, which I thoroughly enjoyed. We moved on to a well-priced red, a Puglian Primitivo Maestro, which was velvety, spicy with a fruity and full finish and not at all tannic.

Great British Life: A sweet and savoury treat of pork belly bites. A sweet and savoury treat of pork belly bites. (Image: John Allen Photography)

I simply had to try the deep-fried ice cream – a nod to Enrico's Scottish connections I suspect. It was a triumph of timing and the cookie crumb and honey cornflake-coated ice cream balls topped with a Belgian chocolate sauce barely survived the couple of minutes we took to politely fight over it. We slowed down to savour the classic crème brulée topped with blueberries and a biscotti, and the passion fruit martini mess, elegantly served in an appropriate martini glass, which was a light and tart contrast to the sweetness of the meringue.

The convivial nature of Miam Miam is evident in the fast-paced presentation of food to eager customers. The sharing is joyous and busy, with mopping of delicious dips and sauces and pushing of plates with a murmured 'do try this'. In every sense, a foodie's delight. And now there are plans afoot for an extension to this fun with a prosecco bar and small bites addition to the main operation.

Great British Life: Firecracker salmon roulade: perfectly seared and juicy inside. Firecracker salmon roulade: perfectly seared and juicy inside. (Image: John Allen Photography)

'Amuse Bouche' will be an imaginative and welcome addition to the concept of sitting down with friends to a selection of small plates designed to start or conclude a meal in the main restaurant. We visited the rooms intended for this and Enrico shared his vision. Whether your choice would be for cocktails or coffee, and a sweet or savoury accompaniment, this hits the spot for those who want to extend their evening either at the beginning or the end or simply to pop in for a Venetian-style 'pick me up'. Miam Miam is a little jewel with big ambitions. I feel a tinge of regret in sharing it with you as I know that more people are going to beat a path to Enrico's door and it will be harder to obtain a table.

Starters from £3.95 to £9.95

Small plates from £6.95 to £16.95

Desserts £6.95

Wine from £5.50 glass to £56 per bottle

Prosecco and champagne from £25 to £110 per bottle

Beer and cider from £3.80

26a Lawton Street, Congleton CW12 1RS 07435 880327, miammiamcongleton.com