The £499 menu

Cheshire Life - - Inside - WORDS: Janet Reeder

At £499, the menu from top chef Ai­den Byrne at Pa­rade is the

most ex­pen­sive in Cheshire – but is it worth the price tag?

The of­fi­cial in­vi­ta­tion ar­rives in the post. There’s a folder con­tain­ing our itin­er­ary, our badges and a valet car park pass. Wel­come to the world of the £499 menu, the most ex­pen­sive in Cheshire... if not the UK.

Ai­den Byrne, Head Chef at the cel­e­brated MCR restau­rant in

Manch­ester and Church Green Lymm has been re­cruited by Ch­ester Race­course to up the din­ing stakes with the ex­clu­sive Pa­rade con­cept. It’s so ex­clu­sive in fact that it’s ‘in­vi­ta­tion only’ and only af­ter you’ve been is­sued your in­vite do you get to pay up­wards of £499 for the priv­i­lege of spend­ing a race day in uber-luxe sur­round­ings.

Ch­ester Races have clearly pulled out all the stops to make this an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence, with de­sign, in­dul­gence and im­pec­ca­ble ser­vice as well as fine din­ing on the menu, and they’ve added ‘an­tic­i­pa­tion’ into the mix too, so that fol­low­ing the ar­rival of the in­vi­ta­tion, we re­ceive de­tails of the six course menu and canapés

that Ai­den has de­vised for our race day.

This isn’t any old in­vi­ta­tion, this is a Pa­rade in­vi­ta­tion and makes you feel as close to royal as pos­si­ble with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing in the

House of Wind­sor.

Pa­rade is a spe­cially con­structed area fea­tur­ing a sum­mer gar­den roof bar and view­ing ter­race. Hos­pi­tal­ity de­sign spe­cial­ist Michelle Der­byshire has been brought in to work her magic, as the wo­man re­spon­si­ble for swanky restau­rant projects like Aus­trala­sia and Grand Pa­cific and first im­pres­sions are of fem­i­nine el­e­gance: a mix of blush pinks, dra­matic wall­cov­er­ings and a glit­ter­ing bar.

The pièce de ré­sis­tance though is the lo­ca­tion - it is a lux­u­ri­ous track­side venue and we have the best ever view along­side the fin­ish­ing post and as the day is fine we make our way onto the ground floor ter­race, just a nose­bag away from the track, and join the rest of the guests at the ‘start­ing blocks’ - or as they call it: the Lau­rent Per­rier Rose cham­pagne re­cep­tion.

Ai­den’s menu strikes the per­fect bal­ance be­tween fresh sum­mer flavours and in­dul­gence so an amuse-bouche of a crisp chicken skin is served with a rich fois gras and parme­san mousse. The veg­e­tar­ian ver­sion pairs a potato crisp with a delicate onion and parme­san mousse. Cau­li­flower cheese cro­quettes, creamy mouth­fuls of cheese laced with the fra­grance of truf­fle, and Ar­gen­tinian prawn tem­pura and yuzu may­on­naise (there’s a veg­e­tar­ian ver­sion of tem­pura broc­coli) fol­low.

We next en­joy the most per­fect, straight-from-the-oven sour­dough with a roasted chicken but­ter that’s ridicu­lously light and yet creamy. There’s a Rib­bles­dale goat’s cheese mousse and slices of Coppa ham with onions that has amaz­ing depth of flavour and tex­ture.

The next course, a Tex­tel lamb cut­let, is a thing of beauty. This es­pe­cially lean meat is cooked per­fectly pink, while the veg­e­tar­ian alternativ­e, stuffed morels served with as­para­gus, has a fleshy den­sity and rich­ness.

For pud­ding we are served chocolate delice with rasp­ber­ries, rasp­berry sor­bet and hazel­nuts, a clas­sic com­bi­na­tion that lives up to all ex­pec­ta­tions.

Lunch over, it’s time to pe­ruse our per­son­alised race cards and cheer on the win­ners from the per­fect per­spec­tive of the sum­mer roof gar­den bar - and the in­dul­gence doesn’t stop there. As the meet­ing con­tin­ues we are served cof­fee with a mini Manch­ester tart, fol­lowed by cock­tails and a cheese course.

There’s a mo­ment when I de­cide I need my make up touch­ing up and so avail my­self of the ser­vices of a make-up artist who is sta­tioned in the ladies’ loos spe­cially for that pur­pose!

It’s hard to drag your­self away, and we don’t have to, as Pa­rade con­tin­ues into the evening with a DJ and cock­tail mixol­o­gists trans­form­ing the space into a chi-chi Ch­ester night spot.

The fab­u­lous roof ter­race of Pa­rade

Chef Ai­den Byrne

You can ac­quire ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion and re­quest to en­ter the applicatio­n process for badges for Pa­rade with Ai­den Byrne via Kate Daw­son: kdaw­son@chester­races.com The ca­sual yet in­ti­mate din­ing set­ting within Pa­rade

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