A look ahead to Pub in the Park in Knutsford

Tasty treats at Pub in the Park

Tasty treats at Pub in the Park - Credit: Archant

Pub in the Park hit Cheshire last year and was, despite torrential rain, declared a huge success. It’s back this month, with even more local chefs on the menu.

I went to Pub in the Park last year and it poured - it was, as the saying goes, coming down like stair-rods. I was drenched, my husband was drenched, the entire crowd watching Toploader perform was drenched - and yet the mood didn't drop: people sang along and were happily dancing in the rain (not the moonlight, it was an afternoon session) dashing to the collection of gastro-pub pop-ups, tasting vodkas and gins in the Shopping Village and generally having a grand old time. Why? Well, because Pub in the Park brings everything together that we British love - food, beer and music in a relaxed and informal atmosphere. Tom Kerridge hit the nail on the head with this concept, there's no doubt about it.

Pub in the Park is back in Knutsford this month and of the six gastro-pub pop-ups, two are from Cheshire - The Church Inn, in Mobberley, and The Chomondeley Arms, near Malpas, famous for stocking over 300 different gins.

They join Tom Kerridge's own pub, the two Michelin-starred Hand & Flowers; multi-award winning The Herdwick, named as 'my favourite Welsh restaurant' by Michel Roux Jr; The Star Inn, the Michelin-starred Yorkshire pub from chef Andrew Pern; and the fabulous multi-award winning Freemasons at Wiswel - all selected by Tom Kerridge as among the best in British dining.

So, how does it feel to be surrounded by such gastronomic luminaries?

'It's quite an honour,' says chef Andrew Greenhouse, of The Chomondeley Arms. 'Being part of something like this, with so many well-known chefs, we wouldn't get the opportunity to put ourselves in front of so many foodies at any other event.

'In an area like this, people's expectations are high and they're willing to try different dishes and not stick to the traditional pub classics. I've been warned to expect more than 2,500 dishes to cross the pass over the weekend - a very different vibe to our usual weekend! Our menu has a very English theme, but with a twist: we shall be offering Cholmondeley Best Beer Fried Chicken with citrus remoulade; Earl Grey Infused Chick Pea and Wilted Spinach Curry with homemade Dosa; and Slow Braised Cheshire Rabbit, wild garlic and red wine risotto.'

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Richard Williams, of The Church Inn in Mobberley, adds: 'Tom [Kerridge] has a really big presence at the event. It's inspiring to meet someone like him, but we chefs pull our inspiration from everywhere. Last year, all the other chefs had a Michelin star and we were the only pub that didn't - and this year we're invited back, which I think speaks volumes.

'Last year we were invited completely out of the blue, and we were very happy to accept! The pace and the energy of the event is something else. In 2018 we cleared the Lambing Shed of lamb shoulder, we literally had people queuing five-deep for our food.

'We are again serving our Lamb and Feta Croquettes, with a minted pea puree and a yoghurt dressing, and also Crispy Chicken Wings with lemon, lime and chilli caramel sauce; and a Seafood Pot, of poached salmon, prawn and crayfish in white wine and spinach, with Bourne's Smoked Cheshire Cheese gratin.'

Ooh, yum! I shall see you there!

7 - 9 June, Knutsford | pubintheparkuk.com

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