A lit­tle place in town

Ch­ester’s restau­rant boom con­tin­ues, and a stylish re­cent ad­di­tion to the din­ing scene is the 1699 Bar & Brasserie at The Town­house ho­tel Leifes:dhecier­mebe Cheshire r 2018

Cheshire Life - - Food & Drink -

Crème brûlée al­ways makes me happy. So it’s a math­e­mat­i­cal fact that three crème brûlées must make me three times as happy. Yes, three lit­tle scorch-topped ramekins of sug­ary, creamy, cus­tardy good­ness - vanilla, choco­late and straw­berry - ar­rayed on a slate: that was my dessert at the 1699 Bar & Brasserie. And very nice it was too. But I’m get­ting ahead of my­self.

The 1699 Brasserie joined the busy throng of Ch­ester’s restau­rant scene ear­lier this year, as part of the trans­for­ma­tion of The Town­house ho­tel - for­merly The Ch­ester Town­house - which is now part of Liver­pool-based The Know Group.

Be­ing housed in a rather lovely grade IIlisted Ge­or­gian build­ing means it’s a venue which doesn’t need to try too hard to make a good im­pres­sion. Through the doors and into the bar, there’s an el­e­gance about the room, pe­riod-style de­tails such as the chan­de­lier, coun­ter­pointed by more 21st cen­tury touches such as the wood floor­ing and trendy but classy blue vel­vet so­fas. Be­yond the main din­ing room, a door leads to a ‘se­cret gar­den’ - decking and pot plants and a lovely place to sit and sip in kinder weather than we had when we vis­ited.

The restau­rant is a place to which they hope not just evening din­ers but also foot­sore shop­pers will re­pair, hence the £18.95 three-course lunch and early din­ner menu (£15.95 for just two cour­ses) - usu­ally avail­able 12.30pm to 6.00pm - will be of­fered un­til 9pm in the re­tail scrum lead­ing up to Chist­mas.

Like the brasserie’s main menu, it’s an el­e­gantly con­cise list. A starter of goats’ cheese and honey bon bons was beau­ti­fully done - a crunch and sweet­ness to the dark quinoa base, just the right honey tinge to the bon bons and well pre­sented with sliv­ers of beet­root. Our other starter was a whole­some leek and potato soup.

A main of smoked ba­con car­bonara was a re­ally rich and creamy sauce, packed with smoky ba­con and scat­tered with a fist­ful of melt­ing parme­san. Across the ta­ble, the wild mush­room gnoc­chi was an­other win­ner - spongy lit­tle dumplings in an en­tic­ing mix of var­i­ous in­ter­est­in­glook­ing fungi, peas, as­para­gus and wilted spinach, all anointed with del­i­cately herbed oil and topped with shav­ings of parme­san.

As men­tioned above, crème brûlée to the power of three was one pud of choice, the other be­ing a banof­fee cheese­cake with sugar-glazed ba­nana.

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Jamie Leon and head chef Carl Pow­ell have come up with a menu which is short and sweet. 1699 Bar & Brasserie is at The Town­house, 49-51 Lower Bridge Street, Ch­ester, CH1 1RS. Tel 01244 567300, chester­town­house.com

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