Review: The Chef’s Table, Chester

First time visit to the Chef’s Table in Chester has got us hooked! I don’t understand why we haven’t visited before, definitely the best restaurant in Chester.

The Restaurant

The Chef’s Table is located in Music Hall Passageway off Northgate Street in Chester city centre. Unless you know about the place you are unlikely to come across it as its not on a main thoroughfare.

From the outside you could easily mistake it for a cafe rather than a top class restaurant. Its small, about 30 covers. The interior is fairly minimalist, it has a a sort of Scandinavian feel about it. The kitchen takes up a major part of the floor space with 4 chefs in a very small area turning out exceptional freshly cooked food.

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The service was warm and friendly. The young staff were very knowledgeable on the wine and food.

We visited with our friends Eddie and Sarah, for a week day lunch and the restaurant was full, reservations are essential.

The Menu

The menu choice at the Chef’s Table is limited but the food all the better for it. Wherever possible produce is sourced locally and the origin of all the main ingredients used is shown on the menu.

The lunch table d’hote menu is a subset of the a la carte dinner menu with a choice of 4 starters, 4 mains and 3 desserts. There are also appetisers, grills and sides available for an additional charge. Even though the menu is limited we were definitely spoilt for choice!

There is an excellent reasonably priced wine list and a good selection of gins, cocktails and craft beers available.

The Food

Appetisers

We started off with a selection of appetisers to share which are not to be missed! We had the crispy deep fried chicken wings with a blue cheese dip. The crispy frogs legs with wild garlic leaves, edible flowers and a butter sauce were amazing. However the star appetiser for me was the Pork Jowl Frezi which was succulent belly pork served with a spicy jalfrezi sauce, coconut yoghurt and black mustard seeds. I could definitely have had this for my main course!

Starters

For starter I went for the soup, not something I would normally choose. I was not disappointed. It was a pea and watercress soup topped with barrel aged feta cheese and crispy pea shoots. The soup was accompanied by bruschetta topped with a pate type mixture of peas and feta. It was like no soup I have ever tasted.

Jane went for the fish starter which was fresh brill served with a selection of Japanese style seaweed in a delicate dashi broth. Her verdict delicious, small but beautifully formed! Sarah went for the soup like myself and Eddie had the duck breast with charred cauliflower.

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Mains

For main, a first for me, I went for the vegetarian option. The main element of the dish was asparagus and it was served with peas, broad beans, local Cheshire cheese, wild garlic and a confit egg yolk. If all  vegetarian food was like this I could give up meat tomorrow!

Both Jane and Eddie went for the grill option, 30 day aged sirloin steak with a bordelaise sauce and roasted bone marrow, with a side of crispy triple cooked chips.

Sarah went for the chicken. Chicken thigh boned and rolled served with jersey royals, asparagus, morels and a rich truffle flavoured sauce.

There was also a lamb dish on the menu and stone bass as the fish option.

Desserts

Normally a starter and main would be enough for me but I couldn’t resist a dessert. I went for an old favourite of mine, chocolate fondant, but Chef’s Table style. It was served with a salted caramel ice cream, popcorn, nut brittle and a salted caramel sauce. Another fabulous dish!

Jane who rarely has a dessert was bowled over by the Rhubarb, Strawberries and Cream dessert served with basil sorbet in a refreshing sweet and sour strawberry soup.

Eddie went for the Milk and Honey which consisted of honey madelaine, fresh honeycomb, milk sorbet, orange and white chocolate.A bit sweet for my taste but he loved it.

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Overall

This was without a doubt the best meal I have had in Chester and I now understand why the Chef’s Table is so popular. In  the past the limited choice and unusual combination of ingredients has put Jane off trying it. However following our visit to L’Enclume in Cartmel (for post click here), she has decided to be more adventurous in her choice of restaurants and dishes, so I can see us returning soon.

The Chef’s Table is amazing value for money for the quality of food served. The lunch table d’hote menu is only £18 for 2 courses and £22 for 3! (More about what’s on their menu available here).The steaks have a supplement of £4 and the sides and appetisers are £3.50. We had a bottle of Cava before our meal, a bottle of the red and white house wine and a coffee. The total bill including 10% service charge was £21o, not inexpensive for lunch but worth every penny.

 

The Guestbooks Comment: ” I definitely now need to revisit my Chester Favourite Restaurants post (click here) as the Chef’s Table is definitely my new favourite. But saying that La Fattoria still remains up there as my favourite for a casual meal in Chester.”

 

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