More zzz vicar?
The Vicarage is a refurbished 17th Century Grade II listed country pub, restaurant and hotel beside the river Dane on the main road, when travelling south, into the pretty town of Holmes chapel in Cheshire. It's just south of the attractive town of Knutsford, where we had lunch in Barristers at the former Courthouse earlier that day.
It was a beautiful sunny day in fact and even though it was a weekday afternoon the beer garden was already busy. We parked in the on-site car park and made our way to the designated reception round the side of the building.
After a quick and easy check-in we were led upstairs to our room.
We stayed in a lovely big room located right above the main entrance and overlooking the car park and beer garden. Our room was thankfully quiet at night, as although the entrance is below, the main pub area isn't (and the other rooms appeared to be on one side of the building and not above the bar either).
In the room we had a large comfortable bed which was actually two singles joined together. There were a lot of cushions and pillows, two beside units with lamps, a socket and a bottle of water by the bed. A couple of chairs, wardrobe, desk and TV were also in the room and there's free WiFi.
We also like to see an impressive tea and coffee selection and here we had a good mix with English breakfast, Early Grey, Green tea and Red Berries plus Galaxy Hot chocolate, and Black Circle and Lyons coffee bags (including decaf) but if you prefer a Nespresso...
We had one of those as well, with a choice of 5 pods. There was also a jar with homemade cookies. 👏
But the main room highlight is actually in the adjoining bathroom...
Mrs Foodie is fond of a soak so she was smitten by the large rolltop bath in the spacious en-suite.
Should you just want a shower then they have one in the corner with a raindrop effect shower head.
The Bar and Restaurant
The pub bar looks the part, like a proper quirky English inn - this is the main room above but there are a couple of other rooms too so you can hide away with a pint should you want. They also had four real ales on cask during our visit plus a selection of other beers and ciders.
We were there for dinner and you can choose to be seated in the bar or in the adjoining conservatory, which is where we reserved our table.
The dinner menu covers a lot of pub staples like fish & chips, burger and steak but there are also four vegetarian main courses and on Sundays they do proper roasts too. Many of their ingredients come from local suppliers.
They also have daily specials for starter, main and dessert courses.
And although The Vicarage has an English country pub feel, and the ales to match, they do also have a selection of cocktails, all priced at £7.90.
To start, we received bread with butter and balsamic. Nicely presented but the white bread didn’t seem to be the freshest.
Tempura king prawns (£8.50) with pineapple, chilli and coriander sauce. 5 battered prawns on a bed of sweet pineapple lightly interspersed with chilli. A light and fruity starter.
Confit Duck (£8.50) with pickled broccoli, onion, sultanas and sticky plums. Like the other starter this was sweet and fruity with a delectable confit duck leg.
Dukkah spiced chicken (£16). Marinated chicken breast with hazelnuts, burnt orange, apricots, pomegranate, spring onions, cous cous, coconut and coriander sauce. Keeping the fruit theme going I ordered this filling Middle-Eastern/Egyptian spiced dish.
The Mrs had the Cauliflower cheese risotto (£14), a veggie main that came with roasted cauliflower, saffron pickled florets, fried leaves, black onion seed, parmesan crisp and horseradish crème fraiche. It looked both filling and attractive, and was a bit like a savoury rice pudding. The pickled cauliflower had been coloured orange by the saffron but was actually overpowered by the saffron. A good portion size but only needs a modest amount of saffron to bring out the flavour.
For pudding we simply shared a selection of local ice creams that came with a cookie.
Here's the morning menu.
They also had a couple of specials.
Of course, there's a cold buffet selection too, featuring cereals, fruit, croissants, pastries and homemade yogurt.
The yogurt certainly tasted homemade, i.e. it isn’t as sweet as shop bought yogurt with a more acidic taste. there is a fruit compote at the bottom for some sweetness.
I had filter coffee, but should you want something else, The Vicarage also have the full range of their local 'Jaunty Goat' coffees available at breakfast time.
I would've loved to order something big but we had lunch and dinner already booked for later that day so I had a light and simple breakfast of a toasted batch roll filled with sausage and bacon.
We soon checked out and made it onto our next Foodiemoon destination.
The Vicarage provided us with a comfortable and enjoyable stay with good food in a part of the country that we knew very little about, but would now like to return to!
We both slept well and Mrs Foodie's highlight was the bath (of course) while I was more interested in the Nespresso and local cask ales downstairs, of which I got to try four new beers!
Google Maps estimated a 3.5 hour drive from Glasgow but it took us closer to 4 hours due to traffic, which still isn't bad for the distance covered. It's not that far from Manchester airport, should you have an early or late flight and want somewhere nice to stay than a motel.
Staff were very chatty and friendly. Toilets clean and the background music was soul/funk which gets a thumbs up from us.
+ Large rolltop bath
+ Atmospheric, spacious country inn
+ Real ales and cocktails available
+ Food and drinks from local suppliers
+ Choice of seating areas for lunch or dinner
+ Attractive local area
- Bread could've been fresher
- Risotto overpowered by saffron flavour
The Vicarage; Freehouse & Rooms, Knutsford Road, Cranage Holmes Chapel CW4 8EF
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Telephone: 01477 533393
Disclaimer: we received a complimentary stay. Fred sez that we are honest in what we say otherwise he would run up and down the hall at 3am every night.