Food profile - The Vicarage Freehouse and Rooms, Cranage
PUBLISHED: 00:00 11 January 2017
© Jake Eastham
On the road that runs between Knutsford and Holmes Chapel, The Vicarage offers excellent comfort food in deeply relaxing surroundings, just perfect for a winter’s night out.
The Vicarage is the first property to be launched by Flat Cap Hotels, a family run hotel group founded by brothers Oliver and Dominic Heywood in 2015, which in 2016 also acquired the former Crown Court building in Knutsford. Excitingly for lovers of good food, they have managed to tempt Steven Tuke, formerly at The Chester Grosvenor with Simon Radley and Head Chef at the Oddfellows Hotel, to join them in the role of Executive Chef, managing the menus and kitchens across both venues.
The Vicarage had lain empty and unloved for some time before the brothers took hold of it, and the transformation is miraculous. The ambience created in the quirkily yet comfortably decorated dining room is one of total relaxation; a place to chill-out and wind down after a long day. The service is warm and friendly and the menu rather excitingly tempting.
I started with a smooth as smooth chicken liver parfait, with red onion jam and a red wine syrup; it was really very, very good. Not a fan of brioche, I requested farmhouse bread to accompany and oh my goodness – do you think they might sell from the back door?! Dinner party starters sorted for ever if they would! Mike’s confit of duck was sweet and soft and generously portioned, making him a very happy man. Mains of sweet and sticky pork belly with noodles and steak with pepper sauce followed. The pork was cooked to perfection, falling apart at the waft of a fork and topped with a thin crisp of crackling. Mike’s steak was excellent and he positively crooned over the sauce.
Too full for pudding (horrors!) we settled for coffees and a few quiet moments, leaning back in our chairs, comfortably replete and utterly content. With so many restaurants seeking to deliver a busy, buzzy atmosphere it makes a marvellous change to find somewhere that offers patrons the opportunity to simply dine, chat and chill out. We will be back.
The Vicarage Freehouse and Rooms, Knutsford Road, Cranage, Holmes Chapel, CW4 8EF, 01477 533393, www.thevicaragecheshire.com