As Kate was home from Dubai we decided as a treat to have dinner at our local village restaurant, the Machine House. This was our second visit to the Machine House in its current guise and we weren’t disappointed.
The Machine House is a small intimate restaurant situated in the village of Rossett, midway between Wrexham and Chester. The restaurant is set in a quaint 18th century cottage. There is a bar and a small private dining area on the ground floor, with the main restaurant area on the first floor in a gallery setting. The interior is an eclectic mix of old and new. There are low beams with stone walls adorned with caricatures of famous chefs and a full sized penny farthing, alongside rock memorabilia.
Non-diners are welcome, with the bar area also being dog friendly. There is regular live entertainment.
For summer’s evenings there is the courtyard to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails.
We visited on a week day night and there were only 7 people in the restaurant, but I am told that at weekends reservations are essential.
The service was warm and friendly.
On the night we visited there were 3 menus available.
The market menu, which as the name suggests changes depending on produce available. It offers a 2 or 3 course table d’hote type menu. This was priced very reasonably at £22.50 for 2 courses and £26.50 for 3. However on Friday and Saturday evenings the price rises dramatically to £55 for 3 courses!
There was also an 8 course tasting menu for £95 per head with wine pairing at £20, or a 6 course offering at £75 per head. On their website they advertise a 5 course tasting menu at a very reasonable £25 per head available at lunch time and on a Wednesday and Thursday evening, which we had sampled on our previous visit. However very disappointingly this was not available even though it was a Thursday evening.
The whole table has to eat off the same menu, which can restrict the choice. We decided to go for the 3 course market menu.
We started off with a complimentary appetiser. It was delicious, a savoury profiterole filled with melted cheese topped with grated parmesan. You needed to like cheese as the flavours were certainly full on!
I went for the cauliflower cheese starter, roast cauliflower, a strongly flavoured Hafod cheese custard with pickled grapes. Definitely a different take on cauliflower cheese, to give it some texture I ordered some of the home baked sourdough bread with hand churned butter. A great start to the meal.
Jane chose the local Ceiriog Valley Wood Pigeon, a favourite of hers. Pink tender pigeon breast served on a bed of artichoke purée with beetroot and granola. An unusual combination which she thoroughly enjoyed.
Kate had the heritage tomato starter served with a refreshing cucumber sorbet and an intense tomato consomme. A dish that looked as beautiful to look at as it was to eat.
Next up the mains and for me an easy choice – belly pork, but this was belly pork at a different level. The pork was topped with a crispy glaze, like no crackling I had ever eaten before. It was served with an intense apple puree, charred lettuce and smoked eel. It was certainly the highlight of the meal for me. Even Jane and Kate who are both not fans of belly pork thought it was delicious.
Jane and Kate both plumped for the market fish, brill. The fish was served with celeriac purée and sea vegetables freshly foraged that morning from Conwy. Again a beautifully presented and delicious plate of food.
The main courses come as described on the menu. For those with a larger appetite the portions may not satisfy, you may need some sides. We went for the buttered Cornish new potatoes.
On our previous visit the lemon meringue dessert bowled me over, unfortunately it wasn’t available this time.
As I love doughnuts and pineapple, I chose the pineapple and miso doughnut. This was the only disappointing dish of the whole meal. It was dry and lacking any pineapple flavour.
Jane’s dessert on the other hand was a triumph. She went for the strawberry and lemon curd tart with creme anglaise. Of course I had to sample it; it certainly livened up my doughnut!
Kate being a chocolate lover went for the Wispa dessert, a light aerated chocolate mousse served with a cherry compote. She thoroughly enjoyed it and it too went well with doughnut!
The Machine House is an excellent restaurant. We are certainly fortunate to have such a high quality eating venue in the village. It is expensive particularly at weekends. However for a special occasion I would highly recommend it. If you are looking for large portions you won’t get them here. The Machine House serves delicious food beautifully presented and where possible locally sourced. For more information visit the Machine House website by clicking here
The cost of our meal was £145 including cocktails, a decent bottle of Fleurie and a tip. We will definitely be returning.
The Guestbooks Comment: “An opportunity to sample fine dining in my home village of Rossett. Lets hope the Machine House gets the local custom and support it deserves to enable it to flourish. Its certainly good value mid week, particularly if the 5 course tasting menu is available. To find out more about the menu and offers visit their website.”